Friday, January 2, 2015

The Princess Spy (Hagenheim)

Title: The Princess Spy

Series: Hagenheim (Book #5)

Year: 2014

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Summary: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Margaretha
~ Colin

Review: With a title like The Princess Spy, this book seemed like the epic fairy tale retelling that I'd been waiting for. Of all the retellings I've read, there have been very few Frog Prince stories, and most of them have been less than satisfactory. This one... well, I'm having trouble putting it in good or bad. But maybe that's just me. One of the biggest annoyances was the romance -- which I address later on. 

Okay, well, let's start off with something good -- Margaretha is definitely a step up from the heroines we're used to seeing. She's spunky, but still in a very feminine fashion. I really liked her. Colin was a hero tormented with doubts and fears from the past, yet he did slowly improve during the course of the novel. The references to the frog were rather humourous. I wondered how one would make a frog fairy tale work without any magic, yet I think Melanie Dickerson really nailed that aspect. Two thumbs there, in my opinion.

Something bad -- for someone who was familiar with Melanie Dickerson's previous stories, I found this book highly predictable. It tasted very cliche. A heroine in danger, someone got kidnapped/taken away, romantic musings, the two lovers travel together, a big climax, and then your happily ever after. I appreciated that the author messed up the recipe slightly by sticking a small boy in on the adventure -- a smart, little, German chap known as Toby. He was a welcome bit of humor and change from your usual Dickerson fairy tale. More of Toby would have been nice.

The novel is called The Princess Spy, and while there was a lot of talk about the whole princess deal, I wish there could have been more of the spy aspect. Margaretha was not the ideal spy, and if she had spent less time mooning over Colin and more time actually acting the spy, I probably would have enjoyed this book more.

Wow... I feel like I'm really bashing Melanie Dickerson right now. I did not mean to make this review a total bash. I did actually enjoy this book. And I'm sure there are lots of people who read this and loved it to pieces. I would say that this is my favorite or one of my favorites from this author, yet it wasn't that much more spectacular than any of her other novels. 

Advisory: Fantasy danger and fighting, but portrayed exactly as we're used to for Melanie Dickerson.

Also, romance. What new things can I say here? In my personal opinion, each new book from Melanie Dickerson adds just one more reference to kissing, and it really annoys me. Colin hadn't known Margaretha for very long before he thought about kissing her, and for her, it was the same. Seriously? I'm sorry, romantics, but -- in the words of Kuzco -- "me no likey." Too much emotional attraction, and it got on my nerves. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy The Princess Spy on Amazon!

*Please note: I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.*