The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook *****

*Book with adult themes or subject matter*
This book was an interesting twist on the princess-who-isn’t line of tales and I give props to my brother for picking one with a twist for me. I am often wary of books where the title has the word “princess” in it because it often can be directly translated into “my-main-character-will-have-no-strength-of-character-and-be-as-bland-and-uncomplicated-as-plain-oatmeal”. This is not the case here. All of the main characters are psychologically complex. Both of the girls are complicated as are their feelings towards each other and their parents. Their beaux are interesting and suit them incredibly well. The political intrigue is actually intriguing. The intrigue below the surface of the intrigue is intriguing. That being said I should probably tell you a bit about the book.

Princess Contessa of Costenopolie knows everything a princess should. She loves to shop. She knows diplomacy and politics. She knows how to defend herself.

What she does not know is that she is no princess. She is a decoy. The arrival of her supposedly soon-to-be-husband forces her parents to come clean with the truth in a rather brutal and sudden fashion. Tess is a beggar’s brat bought off the street and raised in their biological daughter’s stead so that the real princess could be safely raised in a nunnery away from assassins. Isn’t it amazing that Tess’ training as a princess was so similar to training as an assassin and a Player that no one notices the difference in all her time growing up?

So, what is a royal princess to do when she realizes that she really has a large target metaphorically painted on her back thanks to her parents and her tutor? Why, escape of course. She ditches the soldiers of the prince who is trying to take over her kingdom (without his father’s approval), uses magic she didn’t know that she had, save her own life, and restore the kingdom to the real princess (who knows nothing of how to rule a kingdom). Before she does that she needs to deal with the prince who is forcing her to run away and the captain of his guard who would like to thwart her plans for saving herself and rescuing the princess who is really rather a nice country bumpkin with no knowledge of what she should be doing.

I can’t wait to read the next one.

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