Publishing Company: Zondervan
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Writing quality deserves 4 out of 5 stars. (For younger age groups).
How much I liked it 3 out of 5 stars.
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.
Thank you Zondervan Publishing for my ARC copy of “The Princess Spy” by Melanie Dickerson. My receiving of this ARC copy in no way has affected my review.
“The Princess Spy” was a cute read. I liked that you get a glimpse of the history during the medieval period interwoven with a fairy tale twist. It is a sweet story, but I didn’t feel very connected with the characters in this particular book. I’ve read “The Healer’s Apprentice,” “The Fairest Beauty,” “Captive Maiden” and “The Princess Spy,” which are all a part of the same series, and I think that “The Princess Spy” was the hardest to enjoy because the characters did not reach out to me. I couldn’t figure which fairy tale it was, so I didn’t have any fond memories from my childhood of reading or watching this piece of folk-lore to endear me to it. Now, I can’t fault the story for that because this might have been Melanie’s own invention instead of a retelling. It was well done and well written, but it just was not my absolute favorite book from this series. That being said, I do want to talk about a few different elements in this story, including the characters.
Margaretha was a cute heroine. She was brave and a bit awkward (in an endearing way), and she did some very hard things to protect her family. I will commend any heroine who sacrifices ease and safety to protect those she loves. That being said, I didn’t feel any particular attachment to her. Margaretha was sweet, but there wasn’t any one thing about her that made me adore her as a character. She was well-developed and a good character, I just didn’t connect.
Colin was a nice guy and I thought that he was a fairly good character, but I did not care all that much; I can see why people like him, but I didn’t feel any particular desire to read from his perspective. Maybe it was just the mood I was in, but I felt disconnected from the situations in the story as well as the characters. Melanie Dickerson is a very good writer and this book is pretty good, but I just could not, for some reason, get attached to Margaretha or Colin. It was a good story, I just did not feel super attached to a character. Moving on from characters, let’s talk about the story itself.
“The Princess Spy” had some adventure and danger within its pages, and it was very well written; it would be a great book for anyone looking for some good clean fun. I think that’s maybe one of the reasons I was so distant from the story was that it seemed so young, like it was meant for middle school to early high school kids. I don’t like gory or scandalous books, but I do like ones where the perspective is more mature on the intelligence side, and that the characters work through things rather than keeping secrets or acting immature. I like layers and depth to personalities and the minute details (nervous ticks, as an example) that make a character seem real, and with most middle-grade to early high school books, those things are usually (not always, though) watered-down and juvenile. And that is perfectly all right because those books achieved what they were aiming towards and some of them do it really well.
I think that Melanie’s characters were good, but they appeared to be more aimed towards that kind of younger age group and were a little too cookie-cutter for my taste. “The Princess Spy” was a good book because its aim towards creating a book for younger teens was achieved. It was cute and enjoyable, and definitely a good book for new teens who like to read.
P.S. My grading is based on its aim towards a younger age group, rather than an older.