Princess Contessa of Constantinopolie has a pretty good life. She’s an expert shopper, has parents who love her and are good rulers, and is looking forward to her upcoming engagement to Prince Garett of Misdev. So what if a few pesky assassins try to get in her way? She’s been well trained to ward them off — she’s not worried.
Oh, but she should be. Prince Garett, not taking the advice of his father, arrives in Constantinopolie early, almost six full months before the formal engagement is announced. His untimely arrival forces Tess’s parents to come clean: she’s not the true princess, but a child bought from the street to pose as the princess and ward off assassins.
Things can’t get worse for Tess. Or so she thinks. After Garett takes the castle by force and murders her parents, Tess is forced to run for her life, something that’s hard to do for a girl who’s hardly ever stepped foot outside the city. Only by befriending a cheat and finally finding her old tutor does Tess realize that bigger things are at stake than just the kingdom — lives of many hang in the balance, and she’s the only one who can stop the events that could lead her and everyone she loves into utter destruction.
I was feeling a little tentative when I first started The Decoy Princess. The first chapter started out pretty cheesy, the main character being a spoiled brat who ordered her tutor around like he was scum. But slowly Dawn Cook drew me in. I soon realized that my first impression of Tess was quite wrong and she blossomed into a likeable and relatable heroine.
While I can’t classify The Decoy Princess as a page-turner, I sincerely enjoyed the characters, the world Cook created, and the excitement she produced in me towards the end when I absolutely had to know what was going to happen. Ok, so I lied — it got pretty page-turning towards the end. Cook has a rare talent in that she can take a mystery and make it not confusing. The pieces really fell into place quite nicely for The Decoy Princess, yet they were in no way predictable.
Dawn Cook has definitely come up with an original plotline here and her characters are ones definitely worth visiting. I can’t wait to read the sequel — Princess at Sea.
Julie Waineo, one of our earliest guest reviewers, earned an MBA at Bowling Green State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in French. Now living in Virginia with her husband and dog, Julie is an avid reader of not only fantasy, but historical fiction, the occasional “chick lit,” and children’s literature.