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Deception's Princess (Princesses of Myth) [Hardcover]

Esther M. Friesner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

22 April 2014 Princesses of Myth
Some lies lead to true adventure. . . .

Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle--it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.

Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close--but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (22 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449818632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449818633
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 790,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Maeve of Connacht Retold 14 Jun 2014
This is one of the books this year that I have been most excited to read so it was always going to be a must buy-must read book for me. I went into it knowing that the book was based on the same legend that Disney based Brave on and I adored Brave so the book was something I was desperate read. I hadn't heard of Esther Friesner before finding the book so I've never read any of the other Princesses Of Myth and had nothing to compare this book to, this meant that I went into Deception's Princess with fresh eyes and I can say that the book did not disappoint me in any way whatsoever!

The legend the book is based on is of Maeve of Connacht, an Irish warrior queen. As most legends are her story is open to wide interpretation and makes her story something an author can really go to town with, which is what Esther Friesner has done.

The tale starts with Maeve as a child and follows her through into her teenage years. We see her grow and change and watch as she battles for the life that she wants rather than the life that is expected of her. She's headstrong and will-full but is the apple of her father's eye and is a little spoiled by him. As she watches each of her sisters go off into fosterage and then into marriage she worries for her future as she doesn't want to leave her home and doesn't want a husband but she is the daughter of the High King and there are things that are expected of her, she really does struggle with who she is supposed to be and it's interesting to read about. Her fight is a fight for her own personal freedom regardless of her status in society.

As you know I am a huge fan of historical novels and this was no exception to the rule.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite reads of the year 3 Jun 2014
By Kris - Published on Amazon.com
I like how the story starts with a younger Maeve and follows her as she grows and learns from her experiences. It's been a while since I read a book does this. Initially, time moves at a more rapid pace, as the focus of the story is on an older Maeve, but it didn't feel rushed at all. And looking back on the story as a whole, I can say that the parts of Maeve's childhood that we learn about are important to understanding what happens in the present.

In some ways, Maeve reminded me of Aileana from Elizabeth May's The Falconer. Both are high-born women who are braver than their stations allow them to express and must present a false front to society. Both turn away unwanted advances by men interested in their dowries. And both know that their fathers expect them to fulfill their duty through marriage. I was afraid that Maeve would allow her emotions to rule her like Aileana does, but Maeve has a cooler head on her shoulders and is better able to follow societal conventions. As she notes, when she cannot use a son's weapons, she uses a daughter's wits to fight.

I love how the family plays an important role in the story. Maeve obviously gets along well with her mother, and her father maintains a strong presence in her life. In fact, I'd opt to say that Maeve's family is more involved in her life than Odran, her friend and romantic interest, and equally influential in shaping the young woman she becomes. It's interesting to watch how her relationship with her family and others around her changes over time as she matures into a young woman determined to forge a future for herself. The most beautiful and poignant scenes, however, definitely go to Odran (with her friend Kelan coming in a close second). There is so much complexity to the young lovers' relationship because of who they are and what their fathers expect of them. I don't want to go into too many details for fear of spoilers, but know that there was much smiling, giggling, and near-bawling on my part.

The writing is beautiful and filled with vivid descriptions that bring the story to life. It isn't over elaborate or embellished. Rather, the key is in the carefully chosen details that Friesner gives us to portray a clear picture of characters, events, and the passage of time. These weave together amidst wonderful dialogue that give the characters life and personality, at the same time showing their relationships with one another. Select details further bring the culture to life through the peoples' customs and superstitions.

In a book with so many beautifully crafted elements, what really stands out to me is the emotions this book made me feel. While good books make me feel for the characters, the great ones make me feel things myself. Alternately, it made me laugh and smile, rage with barely contained anger, and cry tears of despair. It made me wonder if there was any hope at all for Maeve's happiness. There is so much complexity in Maeve's life, and I admire how she burns brightly with hope in the midst of all this darkness.

While Deception's Princess has historical roots with Maeve being an Irish princess, it also has an appeal for fantasy readers, and I would recommend this to readers of both genres with enjoy a book with a strong female protagonist. This has been one of my favorite reads of the year. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment in Maeve's adventures!
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY ENTHRALLING! 5 July 2014
By Books4Tomorrow - Published on Amazon.com
Set in first-century Ireland, Deception’s Princess is an enchanting tale of courage, intrigue and love. Maeve, princess of Connacht, became a local legend when she cleverly outwitted her father's fiercest bull at the age of five. Her father's favorite daughter, this feisty princess strives to help her father in his position as high king. Unfortunately, her efforts are thwarted time and again by those who think they know better.

This captivating book paints a vivid and enthralling picture of life in first-century Ireland. At a time when princesses were only deemed good for making marriages that would benefit the kingdom; clever, spirited Maeve wants to help her father hold the reins of kingship.

Brave and intelligent, yet vulnerable enough to be utterly realistic, Maeve is the kind of main character that I love to meet in a story. The very fact that she makes mistakes, misjudges situations, and is a victim of court intrigue, changes her from a mere character in a book to a person one can relate to. When adversity strikes and Maeve feels deceived and betrayed, she doesn't balk in a corner. Rather, she makes a new and better plan, always keeping the safety of her father's kingdom as well as the welfare of her family as her priorities. Even when love seems to be coming her way, she is willing to sacrifice it for king and family.

At times, animal-loving young druid, Odran, came across as a weak-ish character. Take into account, however, that crossing his father, master Íobar, could bring down evil curses, and I'm thinking: maybe the lad is simply being cautious. It is, in fact, amazing how much power those druids had over someone as powerful as the high king and his family.

From an adventure with a bull, to tending sick wild animals, and imitating a bean sidhe to lure the enemy away, the tale of Maeve, Odran, and life at the Connacht court is thrilling, enthralling and often sad. I highly recommend Deception’s Princess as a must-read to readers of all ages. (Ellen Fritz)
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED this!!! 1 July 2014
By AllBookedUpYa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow! I completely devoured this novel in one sitting! What a story! Talk about a story that really has it all! Esther Friesner does it again and captivates audiences with Deception's Princess! If you're looking of an excellent period piece with a headstrong, determined, sharp-tongued, strong-willed, intelligent and quick-witted heroine, than this is the book for you! Maeve is all that and more!

Deception's Princess follows Maeve which is based on Queen Maeve (Medb) of Connacht who has many legends about her character but as portrayed in the novel, who can really know what is truth and what is exaggeration. Maeve however, is very true to herself and continually shows her intelligence and strong-will throughout the novel. She knows how to read people and how to play people but also isn't into playing games and in that vein remains true to her virtues and make (if but few) lifelong friendships.

This was an excellent coming of age/legend/historical story that really depicted the woman we all strive to be; determined, virtuous, intelligent, beautiful, funny, etc. Who can't help but love her?!
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