Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins (368 pages)
Publisher: Audible Studios
Release Date: November 29, 2005
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Princess Duology
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Princess Contessa of Costenopolie knows everything a royal should about diplomacy, self-defense, politics… and shopping. She ought to. She had every reason to believe that she was groomed to rule. But her next lesson is in betrayal…
The sudden arrival of her betrothed, a prince from the kingdom of Misdev, has forced Tess’s parents to come clean: She’s no princess. Their real daughter was raised in a nunnery for fear of assassins. Tess is nothing but a beggar’s child bought off the streets as an infant and reared as a decoy.
So what’s a royal highness to do when she discovers she’s a royal target? Ditch the Misdev soldiers occupying the palace, use magical abilities she didn’t even know she had, restore the real princess to the throne, and save her own neck. But first, Tess has to deal with the scoundrel who’s urging her to run away from it all, and the Misdev captain who’s determined to thwart her plans… “
This is the first book in Cook’s Princess duology. Dawn Cook also writes as Kim Harrison. I enjoyed this fun fantasy adventure novel. The book is very YA in tone and is mostly about the heroine figuring out who she is (both in an actual and more philosophical sense).
I listened to this on audiobook and it was decently done. It wasn’t my favorite audiobook because I didn’t like the voice the narrator used for Tess and found it distracting. I never really got used to it. I would recommend reading this on in paperback rather than listening to it.
Tess has been raised as the crown princess of Costenopolie for her whole life (at least as much of her life as she can remember). However when a neighboring kingdom makes a bid for the throne through marriage Tess finds out she’s just a decoy.
This leaves Tess reeling. She is fleeing for her life and desperate to do what she can to help her people and kingdom…except they aren’t really her people or her kingdom now…so where does that leave her? Tess is an interesting heroine; she has mad ninja-like skills from her training but is also strangely naive because of her sheltered upbringing in the castle. This gets her into trouble more than once.
I really enjoyed our heroine and her struggles with her own identity and purpose in life. They were easy to relate to and fun to read about. There is a lot of action and adventures in this book as well. There is some romance but it is fairly light and not a huge part of the story.
Overall I enjoyed this YA fantasy adventure and plan on reading the second book in the series. Tess is a fun heroine and entertaining. I would recommend to those who enjoy YA fantasy adventure “princess” stories.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– Mount TBR Reading Challenge
– Audiobook Reading Challenge
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
– Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
– YA Reading Challenge