Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor #2)
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Publication: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edtion, 432 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Espionage
Read: April 2017
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This story is full of historical court drama, mystery and espionage. The main character is the master of secrets and being able to use them to her advantage so there’s a lot of political and social action going on. However, it was a bit slow and sometimes it felt boring. It wasn’t as entertaining as the first book and that was disappointing.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This book was really easy to read and the writing style was detailed and descriptive. It was quite simple but sometimes it felt too modern for the time period it was set in. The narrator was honestly kind of annoying. She spent a lot of time blind to things or in denial and her voice was really dry.
Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I was a little disappointed with the characterization in this book. I was really looking forward to reading from another Maid of Honor’s point of view but I didn’t connect with her the same way. It just made the book less entertaining and lacked the charm of the first one.
Beatrice was really annoying. I don’t like saying that she was. She’s made her whole life on the fact that she can lie her ass off and lying is one of my deal breakers so I kind of knew we weren’t going to get along that well. She’s oblivious to a lot of things around here even though she’s supposed to be the most observant of them all. She’s really manipulative and has a haughty attitude so not that big of a fan.
On the other hand, I loved the side characters! I’m glad I got to have the other Maids of Honor around even though not as much as I was hoping to. And the new characters that were introduced as well as looked into more were amazing. I just felt like everyone around Beatrice outshined her and I almost wanted a different POV to be the center in this book.
I expected more entertainment from this sequel but it wasn’t as up to par as I was hoping for it to be and it didn’t really compare to my experience with the first book.
The plot is dramatic. We follow Beatrice, the designated secret keeper and spy of the Maids of Honor as she navigates constant court drama. I really liked the first book but this sequel lacked the charm that one had. A lot of that had to do with the narrator and main characters. Beatrice is the type of girl that is used to lying and manipulating the people around her. She grew up with the expectation that she had to marry above her station to be able to save her family and to keep all the people in her home safe and healthy and fed. That caused her to learn the ins and outs of court and to be able to use all of that to her advantage. So this caused the plot to be filled with more dialogue than action which is something that I don’t tend to enjoy. It got kind of annoying because it also felt like there was no real momentum with the plot but I still liked the direction it was going since it continued from where the first book left off. There was mystery and suspense involved and that kept my attention well enough as the story went on but it really wasn’t enough to keep me hooked as completely as I wanted it to. The narration of the story just brought the whole thing down for me and it was actually really disappointing since this series felt like it was going to become a new favorite but it just didn’t quite reach the mark. I wanted more from it but I still am a fan of the plot of the series in general and I’m really looking forward to reading the final book. I hope it’s much better than this one and that I actually like that main character haha.
Beatrice rubbed me the wrong way right off the bat. She’s a liar, though I guess you can say it’s kind of her job but it’s still really bothersome for me. She’s supposed to be this super observing spy that knows everything about everyone but is actually super clueless about a lot of things that happen right in front of her eyes. And even worse, she’s clueless about herself. About who she is as a person, about the things that matter to her and about what her heart really wants. It just got frustrating after some time and it made the story so much less enjoyable than I was hoping it would be.
The side characters however are really freaking great! I loved meeting Alastair. He’s this really manly and powerful Scottish man who comes to visit the Queen of England and I loved his personality. He was the light of the story to be honest. He’s smart and funny and he’s such a stark contrast to the rest of the characters who are used to the English court. I loved how he stood out and how he didn’t compromise his values to play the games everyone else was. He deserved much better than he got in my opinion, but at least he’s happy. Besides him, I really wanted more from the side characters. I love the Maids of Honor that I met in the first book and I wanted to learn more about them as well. I loved seeing Meg and Jane. They’re my favorites of the whole group of five because they’re both kind of rough around the edges because of how they’ve grown. They’re smart and cunning and I wanted to see more of their budding relationships. However, we got to learn a lot more about Sophia who is the Maid that has the hardest road I guess. We learn a lot about her gift and see her grow through the eyes of Beatrice and I’m really excited to read the third book because she’s the narrator in that one and I hope I enjoy that one more.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this book. The plot didn’t have as much action as I was expecting and the narration brought down the entertainment that I wanted it to have. I didn’t really like the main character at all, she really frustrated me from beginning to end. I liked the side characters more and I kind of wish another one of the Maids would’ve narrated this part of the story.
So that’s it for this post! I feel like this is one of the hardest books to review because I feel so average toward it. I wanted to love it but I also didn’t end up hating it. I’d still recommend the series as a whole because I think the first book is really fun and I hope the third one brings everything together well. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!