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The Decoy Princess (Princess #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,506 ratings  ·  178 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
...more
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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Monica!
Apr 01, 2013 Monica! 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
...more
Anne Osterlund
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
...more
Becky
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
...more
Hallie
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)
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.
Julie
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.
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Janet
Jul 26, 2007 Janet rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
P. Aaron Potter
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
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Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elf M.
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
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Kara-karina
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
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Dorri
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
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Elizabeth
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Osterlund
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
...more
Aiyaruk
Nov 05, 2007 Aiyaruk rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Saral
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.
Banaticus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley
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!
Jenna
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
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
Liz Black
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
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Angella
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
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
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Lauren
Nov 30, 2014 Lauren rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lauren by: the computer :/
Something I need to work on is only giving books the review they deserve. If I didn't really love the book, I shouldn't be writing a thousand-word review, right? Right. I have other things to do. So this one stays short.
When I set this as to-read from a computer recc, I honestly expected something better. When I picked it up, I realized that there was a real possibility that it was trash. But I gave it a go. It was definitely not fantasy of the highest quality or caliber, and I mostly just stuck
...more
Tem
Due to the 'Red Moon Prophecy' Princess Contessa of Costenopolie has always been surrounded by guards, and has been closely monitored since the day she was born. Intelligence, feisty, and loved by her Royal parents, including her faithful Chancellor Kavenlow who has guided her since she was an infant, Princess Contessa (TESS) knew what life had mapped out for her.

However, the sudden early arrival of her betrothed, a prince from the kingdom of Misdev drastically changes Tess's life when she is to
...more
Aeslis
Tess is a fabulous character that goes through a good deal of character development in a short time. In the beginning she's reactionary to what's going on--an assassination and hostile takeover--but she has been trained well enough by her mentor that she may as well be called a ninja. She just didn't realize that during all throughout her childhood, the games her mentor played with her were for sharpening her skills. Once she starts putting things together, she makes good use of all her talents, ...more
Margaret Fisk
I picked up this book because of a recommendation, but still had some difficulty getting into it at first. However, once I connected to the story, I couldn’t put it down. I realized the problem came because of the title, not because of the story, so I’m going to “spoil” the book for you despite my normal efforts not to. The spoilage is this: the knowledge that she is a decoy, despite being something Tess is unaware of for the first 31 pages, is only the tip of the iceberg where the book is conce ...more
Bea
I'm not sure how to rate this book, so I will finish my review at first.

- The story line is surprisingly good. It's fast paced, funny and has some unexpected turns. Thinking back, I cannot say the same for characters. They are good and, but they also feel a little inconsistent (well, not all of them).

- If you expecting, thanks to cover, romantic book, you are going to be disappointed. The romantic part is just sideline, and it's one I don't really get. Tess, raised as a princess having feeling
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 24, 2015 09:34AM  
Characters 2 32 Oct 29, 2008 01:08PM  
  • The Hero Strikes Back (Hero, #2)
  • Dark Moon Defender (Twelve Houses, #3)
  • Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2)
  • Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares #1)
  • To Play the Lady
  • Princess of the Sword (Nine Kingdoms, #3)
  • The Charmed Sphere (Lost Continent, #1)
  • Green Rider (Green Rider, #1)
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other pseudonyms: Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison is a pen-name of American author Dawn Cook. Under the name of Harrison, she is best known for her Rachel Morgan urban fantasy series set in an alternate history where a worldwide pandemic caused by genetically modified tomatoes led to the death of a large portion of the world's human population. Under the name of Dawn Cook, she is best known for her Decoy
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More about Dawn Cook...

Other Books in the Series

Princess (2 books)
  • Princess at Sea (Princess, #2)
First Truth (Truth, #1) Hidden Truth (Truth, #2) Princess at Sea (Princess, #2) Lost Truth (Truth, #4) Forgotten Truth (Truth, #3)

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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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