The Decoy Princess (Princess, #1)
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The Decoy Princess (Princess #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  3,113 ratings  ·  160 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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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
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
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.
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....more
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
M. B.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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!
Its tough being a princess. Learning the lay of the land, how to rule, manners and etiquette and sniffing out lies. Oh, wait, that may have been helpful. When Tess is to be introduced to her would be prince, turns out he is a would be usurper with plans on the throne. What makes matters worse is that this was expected and her parents took precautions. She wasnt truly a princess at all, just a stand in while the real princess was raised safely away from would be assassins.
So what do you do when...more
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!
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
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
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...more
Apr 16, 2014 Griinsekatze marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blanvalet
Das Cover des Buches gefällt mir ganz gut. Es sieht interessant aus. Eine Frau in einem schwarzen Reiseumhang im Vordergrund und im Hintergrund dann ein Schloss und vielleicht auch eine ganze Stadt. Es lässt sich sehr schön ansehen und ist auch ganz einfach gehalten.

Tess find ich vom Charakter her eher schwach. Sie ist eine typische Prinzessin, denkt nur an Einkaufen, Geld ausgeben und Männer aber es man merkt auch schnell das Sie eigensinnig und stur ist aber dennoch vornehm u...more
I haven't read any other books by Dawn Cook or Kim Harrison (the same person). Kim Harrison seems to have several books with interesting covers but there are so many that I've been reluctant to even begin reading. I figured I'd give Dawn Cook a try and if I like her books I'd try out the Kim Harrison books.

I didn't like the main character very much in the beginning. The story wasn't very interesting to me, although it should have been. I found myself skipping ahead in the story and then doggedly...more
"Die Tochter der Königin" steht dem Wahrheits-Zyklus vom Stil her in nichts nach. Mir persönlich gefiel es, dass das Buch nur aus der Sicht von Tess -der Hauptperson- erzählt wird. Das war eine schöne Abwechslung zu Kryson 01 und hat mir persönlich -Dawn Cook schreibt sogar in der Ich-Perspektive- sehr gefallen.
Die Handlung ist durchgehend in Ordnung, famoses ist nicht dabei, doch das Buch ist gute Unterhaltung für zwischendurch. Die Geschichte ist defintiv spannender als "Die erste Wahrheit" u...more
Xenophon Hendrix
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this book. The plot and setting/world were pretty unique, enjoyable, and well fleshed out. It was nice to see the main character struggle and grow though out the book and you got to learn right along with her. The ending definitely sets up for a sequel, but it's not a cliff hanger and this book can be read as a stand alone if you wish. Though the characters are cool enough that you'll probably want to continue their story.

I did appreciate that there was no "sleeping around" by t...more
Janice (Janicu)
Both books followed the same pattern where at first I was just reading along but not really sucked in, and then something would happen and I just had to know what happened next. I admit I did skim ahead because I was really really curious, but then made myself come back and read it properly. There were a few surprises, and unexpected angst. I found most of the characters had layers which got slowly peeled back as time went by, and some things get revealed that I sort of expected, yet didn't quit...more
This was startlingly good. I was expecting a YA novel about a downtrodden princess who has to contend with a bratty replacement in her ex-parents' affections, etc. Instead, I got a book about an interesting young woman who has to contend with upheaval in her life (of which not really being in line for a throne is the least of her problems) and tantalizing glimpses of the ideas of politics behind a throne. Are royalty ever actually in charge? Who really manipulates world events? Happily it wasn't...more
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Characters 2 31 Oct 29, 2008 01:08PM  
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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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