A Fantasy Series Book Review
By Dawn Cook
Genre: Fantasy Series, 13+Princess Contessa of Costenopolie (Tess for short) is finally engaged. A prophecy that came to light at the time of her birth has resulted in assassination attempts, both against her and later any suitors who thought to take advantage of the fact that she is fated to bring down the neighboring rulers. But not all is as it seems. Within minutes of finding out the marriage terms Prince Garrett has asked for, Tess knows he is not the handsome second son of a neighboring ruler, he is an evil, greedy, power hungry cad. But, her problems are just starting. She also discovers, as does the Prince, that she isn't even the real Princess. She is a decoy, bought off the streets as an infant; raised and trained to survive the assassins sent to kill the real Princess Contessa. Things go from bad to worse and the former princess must flee for her life, hunted by Captain Jeck, captain of Prince Garrett's guards. The survivor skills taught to her by Councilor Kavenlow will serve her well but she still has never been outside the city on her own, and its a scary situation. In the process of her escape, she meets Duncan, a handsome card shark, who fascinated by her, insists on coming along. But he has an agenda of his own.
Publisher: Ace (November 29, 2005)
Paperback: 368 pages
This is a great story. Tess has to go from a pampered princess with a palace literally at her command, to a frightened young girl who must flee for her life. She makes the transition smoothly, Dawn Cook is very good at making her characters believable and keeping the pacing up to a decent speed. There is a hint of romance, but the main focus is on the surprises, twists and turns Tess must face, both internally and externally. The tension builds throughout as our former princess finds out that absolutely nothing is as it seems and just as soon as she comes to terms with one pitfall, she is faced with another that is worse.
For all that, its a light read, the main characters are kept to a minimum, its told in first person which keeps the main focus on Tess. Now some people don't like first person novels but Dawn Cook does it really well and it enhances the story in this case. There is some mild language, nothing you don't hear every day, the romance is just that, romance, no sex and the violence isn't terribly graphic, nor is there really that much of it, but there are a few battle scenes. As a result I recommend this to young adults and up. Its an interesting premise, has good world building, great pace and excellent characterization. A very good read.
Other books in the series
Shelfari Rating 4/5
Librarything Rating 3.95/5
Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(30 Customer Reviews)
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