A fiery Irish princess determined to make her own life decisions has trouble keeping her heart, and her men, in line in this overheated sequel to Deception’s Princess (2014).
Glad to be free of her beloved but manipulative father, High King Eochu, at last, Maeve joins a trio of fosterlings in neighboring Dún Beithe, where, along with meeting hunky Kian, son of the local lord, she is reunited with her adored kestrel, Ea. Besides briskly staving off blushing, smitten Kian and the much more aggressive Conchobar, the young king of the Ulaidh, Maeve faces a hard challenge in Bryg, a clever new foster child who nurses a deep grudge against her and orchestrates a campaign of not-so-petty torment. Except for a sojourn to meet Odran, her crush from the previous episode, this vicious little war takes up the story’s heart. Maeve isn’t exactly a model heroine, as she demonstrates by sneaking off to Odran after twice swearing to stay and endure her foster sisters’ bullying and then concocting a lie that she had been stolen by the Fair Folk to cover her absence. Also, as hinted in her uncritical acceptance at the end of scheming Eochu’s gift of part of his kingdom (and acknowledged in the tale’s title), she’s not the brightest bulb. Well, she’s a dab hand at sharp repartee and generally tries to be kind to her social inferiors.
For readers who like their ancient Irish legends larded with mean girls. (pronunciation guide) (Historical fiction. 11-14)