Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: Maid of Secrets

Maid of Secrets
Publication Date: May 7th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Own

Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril.
For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.
A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…
Oh My Queen. -curtsy-
Now, I don't dislike Historical Fiction, but usually it doesn't hold me as much as other genres,  but this has spies people, spies. I just had to read it. I had no clue what I let myself in for.
Let me introduce to you the Maid of (Freaking awesome) Secrets.
Meg Fellowes, orphan, a thief in the Golden Rose acting troupe who put on plays to entertain people before they take their money and any other valuable possessions on the unsuspecting victims. Meg's one of the best, but when she pick-pockets one of Queen Elizabeth Is' trusted men and gets caught she's taken and is brought forth to Windsor Castle and subjected to training to replace one of the Queens' Maid of Honour's. The five of them, the ever dangerous and every ounce of spy, Jane, the incredibly scholar Anna, the youngest, shy and unsure Sophia, whose fainting really should get an award, and the prim and proper (and sometimes over-indulgent bitch) Beatrice, and Meg.
Meg who has a gift, one that she has kept hidden, as a skill like hers could lead to nothing but trouble, and it exactly leads her to that. Trouble. Upon learning exactly why she was replacing one before her, Meg made a vow to herself to find and avenge justice to that Maid of Honor because until she does, she knows she is not safe confined within the walls of Windsor Castle. Courted into orders from the queen and secret orders from others, Meg finds herself torn between her loyalty to the Queen and her freedom.
Nothing is what it seems in Windsor Castle, hidden passages, secrets, plots, threats, murder and a certain Rafe Luis Medina, Count de Martine, Meg has her hands full.
She knows her orders, she knows her secret orders, she knows the threats that are trying to dethrone the Queen, but she doesn't quite know who she actually is.
She does know she has to protect the queen, and fiercely she does.
"God save the Queen- or we will."
What can I say? Oh-My-God. That's what I'll say.

Maid of Secrets is an incredibly rich, sophisticated and simply gorgeous read.
I'll be honest, I tend to stay away from Monarchy kind of reads because, well, I find them boring, I was so not bored with this-job well done, really. It was vivid and I was actually enjoying reading about life in the 1500's, the way the people dressed and lived, the richness of the balls and gowns and glam.
So much better than a History lesson, believe me.
I loved our little spy heroine, first most, Meg was the kind of characters that are just straight up badass. She was blunt (and hilarious), and questioned things, she had a mind and didn't just go along with things, and when she did, she was doing it her own way. After all, she is a master deceiver. She may not have been well educated, but she really was a smart and cunning character, she had her wits about her and It was funny to see the difference in her by being around Rafe that made her...dumbfounded. Despite her qualms about staying in the castle, she done her job well, and went beyond her duty to protect the Queen. Meg was a fiercely lovable heroine.
Jane was my second favourite, the-perfect-bff, definitely matched Meg, their upbringing a connection and their views on marriage. She was self-sufficient,  Meg's partner in crime and was born to be a spy. Along with Anna, who loves riddles and is bookishly smart and helps Meg translate the things she finds, and hears. There's also Sophia, the youngest Maid of Honor, I loved Sophia mainly for the reasons Meg did, she was shy, and quiet and really didn't know her worth, she downplays herself and her own gift, she's fragile and you just wanted to protect her. Beatrice was my least favourite, she's a little selfish, over-confident (though she has reason to be, since she's gorgeous,  the richest of the five), and well, vain. She wasn't annoying though, and she grew throughout the book and evolved, and she's loyal once you've proven yourself.
The five really complimented one another.
Rafe, oh. You- you-I can't even.
Yeah, that's all I'm saying, damn.
The running Queen plot wasn't what I was expecting, but it was definitely interesting to see the extremities and importance of politics and religion and how it evolves to treason and murder.
I really, really can't wait for the next one. I don't even want to know how long I have to wait. I might just cry.

Rating: 5/5

  1. 1. For fascinating, well developed characters that actually have substance, even Beatrice.( Sorry Beatrice, I love you really.) But for real, I want them as my friends, they're much more interesting, and badass spies, especially Jane, who could laugh with you just as well as cut you. Never be a dull moment. 
  2.  Well, Rafe.
  3.  Kept me glued to my Kindle, kept me intrigued and kept me guessing.
  4. . You couldn't trust anyone, and I love those kind of what-the-hell-is-going-on, who dunnit, wait- what? kind of books.
  5.  Mention of Wales, Welsh people. ;) Nah, really because of the writing. It was just...vivid and lyrical and magical and -sigh- That's it.