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The Decoy Princess (Princess #1)

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,032 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
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
Paperback, 356 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Ace
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I'm really not sure what annoyed me more about this book. Well I had a list of things but everything seems so vague now. Evidently the biggest flaw is how boring it was.

No no I remember! It's the girl. The girl is the most annoying part. She's very idiotic. And yet also very turned on. By men.

If she mentioned how big Jeck's shoulders were one more time. Like I do not need to be reminded of that shit. I got it. Oh but here we go about how broad his scarred up back is...well oh gee golly get you
Anne Osterlund
Sep 19, 2011 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tess is not a princess. She was brought up as one, but sadly the secret is out. She is a decoy, raised to die in the real princess’s place.

However, Tess isn’t easily killed, as a variety of assassins have learned over the years. She is, in fact, highly skilled at throwing poison darts.

But it will take more than that to defeat her former intended and his Misdev soldiers suddenly occupying the palace. As well a certain maddeningly unshakable captain bent on hunting her down.

The Decoy Princess is a
Jubilation Lee
Apr 01, 2013 Jubilation Lee marked it as to-read
Oh, crap, wait, WHAT??

What?!? What is this!?!?

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 eve
Apr 28, 2012 Hallie rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. At points, it was nudging a 5, but at others... Very uneven, but had a lot of good stuff in it. (Including the fact that Tess's supposed parents weren't the monsters that the King and Queen in Eilis O'Neal's The False Princess were.) With a lot of tightening-up, this could have been awesome instead of enjoyable.
Elizabeth (Liz)
Mar 08, 2008 Elizabeth (Liz) rated it it was amazing
This girl totally rocks. She was trained to be a princess but while she was being trained to be that, she was being trained for something better. I love the strategies and how complicated, how human the characters are.
Sep 14, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2007 Janet rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Fluff fantasy fans
It's rare that I will put a book down without finishing it, and I hacked my way through three-quarters of the novel before I dropped this one, but by that point I was only reading to see if she got together with The Guy (I skipped ahead - that storyline gets dropped almost altogether.) The prose is clunky and overblown, with every single hand gesture being described in vivid detail as if we are watching a movie instead of reading a book. Her curls, for example, are described again, and again, an ...more
Inspired Kathy
May 07, 2015 Inspired Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I really enjoyed Dawn Cook's Truth Series so was looking forward to reading this one. Honestly it took me quite a while to get into it. I started it multiple times over the period of a month. It just wouldn't hook me and I kept putting it down. I finally had a long car ride and listened to it on audio. Once I made it through the first five or six chapters I really started to enjoy it. It's not a favorite but it had plenty of originality and I immediately started the 2nd book when I finished this ...more
P. Aaron Potter
Mar 27, 2013 P. Aaron Potter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
You ever get the feeling that the author switched horses about halfway through the book? That was the sense I got reading The Decoy Princess. I picked this one up at our favorite local used book store thinking it was a nice crossover for Michele & I: a touch of historic fantasy, a light romance, some action and intrigue...

What I got was an oddity. It feels as though Cook started off writing this as an adventure romance, something occuping the same neighborhood as Laura Kinsale's The Shadow a
Miss Clark
Jan 12, 2012 Miss Clark rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elf M.
Oct 30, 2011 Elf M. rated it liked it
I really didn't want to like The Decoy Princess, by Dawn Cook. After all, it follows in the same vein as too many of my own fantasy stories: young woman from a commoner's background thrust into intrigue. Now, my stories frequently involve inappropriate pairings of woman and dragon, and nothing like that happens in this book.

When I read the first three chapters, I was disappointed. We, the readers, already know the big revelation coming up: Tess is going to be told that her whole life is a lie, t
Mar 05, 2015 Kara-karina rated it really liked it
When I had an opportunity to review Kim Harrison writing YA fantasy under a pseudonym Dawn Cook, I knew I had to take it!

Marguerite Gavin as a narrator was perfect, creating saucy, vibrant characters and keeping it fun. At first glance, The Decoy Princess reads like a lighthearted, easy YA fantasy book with a spoiled, self-entitled princess as a heroine, but don't be fooled. There is darkness here, a fair amount of bloodshed, and some very difficult choices.

Princess Tess is a young, boisterous 2
Jan 24, 2010 Dorri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-urban
At first I was leary about reading this book. I've loved Dawn Cook's alter ego - Kim Harrison - for some time. She writes delicious urban fantasy. As such, the idea of switching gears for a high fantasy novel seemed odd to me. I wasn't ready. I kept putting it off. I was an idiot.

The premise behind The Decoy Princess is the reverse tale of rags to riches. Princess Contessa, Tess to those who know her, is happily living the life of luxury and about to be engaged. It all comes to a screaming halt
Nov 26, 2008 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
All her life, Princess Contessa of Costenopolie has been raised as a proper princess should, well-versed in fashion, diplomacy, politics, and shopping. However, she's also been trained quite thoroughly in how to protect herself, by Chancellor Kravenlow, who has spent years teaching her how to use various easily-hidden weapons, including venom-laced darts. Tess has never thought much about it, really. Being a princess is a dangerous job, and sometimes a girl has to protect herself. However, every ...more
M. B.
Apr 02, 2010 M. B. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Osterlund
Dec 06, 2011 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it
Tess is not a princess. She was brought up as one, but sadly the secret is out. She is a decoy, raised to die in the real princess’s place.

However, Tess isn’t easily killed, as a variety of assassins have learned over the years. She is, in fact, highly skilled at throwing poison darts.

But it will take more than that to defeat her former intended and his Misdev soldiers suddenly occupying the palace. As well a certain maddeningly unshakable captain bent on hunting her down.

The Decoy Princess is a
Nov 05, 2007 Aiyaruk rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: read-fiction
I'm frustrated about writing this review. I ADORED this book. I really did. In fact, I was thoroughly excited about the sequel, and ate up the sequel as soon as it hit the bookshelf (in fact, I preordered it!). What a shame, though.. I was so disappointed by the sequel that I tossed both books away and haven't looked at them since. Perhaps I was just angry because she didn't wind up with the guy I wanted her to (don't worry, I won't say who), but I think it was more than that. I'm not sure. My s ...more
Gina Mora
Jan 16, 2011 Gina Mora rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2011
I love Kim Harrison, and this book shows some of her best skills: a new, complete, believable world; a spunky heroine; and cool heroes. However, I had some issues with it as a whole: (1) for a spunky princess with kick-butt skills-she gets caught A LOT and (2) it seems to be luck most of the time and not her own skills. Tess is amazingly self-absorbed for most of the book and Duncan seems like a doormat to her sometimes. Other than that, the plot is fun and I have a feeling that the second in th ...more
Kate Sherwood
Feb 02, 2016 Kate Sherwood rated it it was ok
Audio version. Good narrator, but this would have been less annoying in print because I could have skipped/skimmed more easily.

I really liked the setup of this, but it didn't really work for me.

Part of it was the writing - a lot of repetition of distinctive phrases ("the muscles in his neck corded", "she checked her topknot", etc.) and the same word over and over within the same paragraph was annoying - I feel like the editor was asleep on this one. And there was a lot of detail given to things
Die Abenteuer von Tess 01. Die Tochter der Königin - Dawn Cook
Ein toller Auftakt zu den Abenteuern um Tess!

Die Tochter der Königin


"Tess - oder auch Prinzessin Contessa von Costenpolis - kann sehr gut auf sich selbst aufpassen, denn der Kanzler des Reiches ist der Ansicht, dass eine gute Ausbildung besser schützt als jeder Leibwächter. Doch als ihre Eltern ermordet werden, muss Tess nicht nur für sich, sondern um das Schicksal des ganzen Königreichs kämpfen - auch als sie erfährt, da
Aug 25, 2009 Saral rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. The strong female lead, a love triangle, a kingdom to save, deceit, hidden strength.... and even m agic. What more could I ask for in a book? What made me give it a 5 star was the ongoing romance... Because even at the end of this first book, we didn't know who she'll end up zith. Personally, I'm a HUGE Jeck fan.
Jul 01, 2008 Banaticus rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 04, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it
A fun read, but not one of my favorites. Dawn Cook has great characters, and I'm excited to read the second one for more development in their relationships. Tess is a fun mix of girlish princess and assassin. I would have liked her to kick some batooty with her whip, but the darts were fun, too. Can't wait to see more of Jeck!
May 27, 2008 Jenna rated it it was amazing
I probably shouldn't give this a 5, since I don't actually remember it very well (I read it at a high-stress time, and it didn't get a chance to fully sink in) but I remember I loved it enormously. I mean, a princess who stores darts in her hair and can actually use them? Awesome!
Hope Smash
Jan 07, 2015 Hope Smash rated it really liked it
I will admit I was a bit embarrassed to read this book in public. The cover doesn't do it justice. In fact my boyfriend thought it was a trashy romance novel, which is definitely not the case. I really must stop judging books by their covers because this book was excellent, I would probably give it 4.5 stars in actuality. It would have been 5 stars but I felt that as usual the ending was a bit rushed. It wasn't really a cliff hanger, but it kind of ended abruptly. I realize there is a sequel whi ...more
Stuart Macmartin
Jan 17, 2016 Stuart Macmartin rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I was going to give this my default 3 stars. It has some flaws. Chu, it has only two new words and one just to make it seem less crude, but it's used overmuch. Some scenes don't play out quite realistically. A critical moment depends on Jeck assuming something that a few chapters later we learn wouldn't be, and although there's some follow-up to make this sound consistent it really isn't. But I was reading when I should be doing other things, and isn't that what you want in a book? I don't have ...more
Liz Black
Apr 28, 2015 Liz Black rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a long time to get into the story. I hated the phrase 'chu' and I didn't really get where the story was going. I think I mostly liked the last 100 pages.
What I found slightly confusing was that there seemed to be a sexual attraction with three men: Duncan, Jeck and the captain. It also took me a long time before I understood the poison and all its effects, but I guess that was the same for Tess.
I'm glad I picked the book up again and finished it this time. The book is well-written a
Mar 20, 2015 Angella rated it really liked it
Nice story seems like there could be more to the story This is one of those books that gets better with every turn of the page. Although enjoyable to begin with, The Decoy Princess steadily became more intriguing the farther on I read. There is plenty of political intrigue, lots of captivating characters, rousing action, terrific pacing. Tess, the heroine, is pretty believable as a somewhat spoiled princess.Overall this is a fine fantasy. Not superlative, but very well worth reading nevertheless ...more
Sydney Mugerwa
Nov 27, 2014 Sydney Mugerwa rated it it was amazing
There's something about The Decoy Princess that I can't really put a finger on. For one, the story is really interesting and surprisingly deeper than one would expect given the title. Set in a medieval world of royalty, assassinations, players and pawns, The Decoy Princess doesn't fail to impress.
Dawn Cook is a solid writer, the story is very engaging and fast-paced with moments of humour. The author is very economical with the assassination of the characters which in a way is a good thing. Mor
Aug 24, 2016 Cas rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This book had me up for hours in the night. Those kind of books are welcome but... I recommend sleep.
Tess is really engaging. Princess tales, even decoy princess tales, are not my deal. But Tess brought a spark of perception, mirth, and spirit, so I was enraptured.
The side characters are like able and not too vast. We got the first book of what I hope is a series? If I had any issues it would be the choice to have her fancy a particular character.
I was drawn to the reminder that yes, they smell
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 24, 2015 09:34AM  
Characters 2 33 Oct 29, 2008 01:08PM  
  • The Hero Strikes Back (Hero, #2)
  • Twice a Prince (Sasharia en Garde!, #2)
  • Mystic and Rider (Twelve Houses, #1)
  • The Trouble with Demons (Raine Benares #3)
  • Princess of the Sword (Nine Kingdoms, #3)
  • To Play the Lady (Sevalian Chronicles, #1)
  • Song in the Silence (The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, #1)
aka Kim Harrison

Dawn Cook was born on 1966 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She grew up in the Midwest as the only girl in a family of boys, and is a self-proclaimed "former tomboy". She grew up reading science fiction and fairytales. She discovered her talent for writing at the age of 15, when she began writing down the stories that she conceived. Despite her love of writing, she took an unorthodox app
More about Dawn Cook...

Other Books in the Series

Princess (2 books)
  • Princess at Sea (Princess, #2)

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“See Pitch over there?" he asked, pointing with his chin. "Try to get her to come to you."

Pitch had wandered from the other horses, trying to get at the hay in the wagon’s bed. My eyebrows rose, giving him a pained look. "You mean, here, horsy, horsy, horsy..."

He gave me a severe look, but his eyes were glittering in a repressed amusement.”
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