Review: Deception’s Pawn by Esther Friesner

DeceptionsPawnSource: Random House – I received this exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Random House
Series: Deception’s Princess #2
Edition: Hardcover, 314 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble /Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

Fortune favors the bold in this adventurous tale of broken friendships, forbidden love, and a fiery heroine’s journey to escape the role into which she was born. Perfect for YA fantasy fans of Shannon Hale, Malinda Lo, and Tamora Pierce.

Maeve, princess of Connacht, seems to have won her freedom. Her father, the High King, is finally allowing her to explore the world beyond his castle. But Maeve soon discovers that being the High King’s daughter doesn’t protect her from bullying or the attention of unwelcome suitors.

Struggling to navigate a new court, she must discourage the advances of her father’s rival, who is vying with her host’s son for her hand in marriage. Maeve is a pawn trapped between these two boys. Her bold defiance will bring her to the brink of disaster, but her clever gamble may also lead to her independence. Though she faces danger and intrigue, Maeve will also discover what kind of person-and queen-she’s destined to become.

Deception’s Pawn picks up shortly after Deception’s Princess leaves off, with Princess Maeve entering into fosterage at Lord Artegal’s home in hopes of finding Ea again and of preventing her father in using her as a pawn piece.

Maeve is still that fiery girl who would willingly chase down a bull to prove a point, but she’s faced with new challenges during her fosterage and they are unlike anything she’s faced before. She makes new friends in her foster sisters, but learns that not all friends are so easily tendered and kept as she had hoped. I loved seeing her weather through cruelties and jests, and it was nice to see that held her own in her own way. She’s incredibly diplomatic and has a good head on her shoulders, and despite making mistakes she always seeks to correct them when she is able. Plus Maeve is capable, intelligent, and willing to go that extra length to make sure her people are happy. She task risks, some of them a bit brash, but she always tries to do what she thinks is right. My one complaint about this situation with her foster sisters is that I would have loved to see them form a stronger bond, because there are too few books out there with strong female friendships that are not tainted with underhanded insults and catty-ness.

Maeve also has to deal with the hearts of two young men, which is deftly tries to fend off at every available opportunity and finds herself unsure of her resolve. Kian and Conchobar are both rather full of themselves, and like to mark territory, but Maeve has them stumped. Every loaded compliment is met with humor and a change of subject, and in the end I think I warmed up to the two of them. Despite their rather brash nature at times both are incredibly caring in their own ways, though they could probably work on it a bit more. That being said there is no true love triangle in this, and I appreciate the inclusion of these boys and the way Maeve handled each moment of self doubt, confusion, and attraction with poise and dignity.And that ending! It’s so fitting for Maeve and everything she works to stand for!

I am so glad I recieved both of these books for review because I’ve found a new author. Esther Friesner has such rich and detailed writing that the story simply draws you in and before you know it you’re done and looking for more! I would say that Deception’s Pawn is an excellent finish to the duology, and though I’m said to see Maeve’s story end I’m really happy I got the chance to read it.

4 stars

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