Publisher: 47 North
Publishing Date: September 2015
Publisher Description: From the moment she was banished by her father, the king, Princess Maia journeyed to seek sanctuary at Muirwood Abbey, the epicenter of magic and good in the land. Now safe for the first time since her cruel abandonment, Maia must foster uneasy friendships with other girls training to be Ciphers: women who learn to read and engrave tomes of ancient power, despite the laws forbidding them to do so.
Review: Maia is “speshul”. Amend that. Maia is “super speshully goodness wrapped in sweet sugar”. So Princess Maia escapes her daddy King’s clutches and resides in Muirwood, waiting for her initiation as a Maston.
The whole novel resides in Muirwood as palace intrigue, slut shaming and burgeoning love transpire around Maia. Maia is at once doe-eyed, wiser than Buddha, prettier than a Labrador puppy and smarter than Einstein. Oh, and she has magical connections to the “Medium”. Hate her yet? She is married to a King (but never consummated) which makes her a Queen and all of the Realm is depending on her to open magical gates and depose her evil daddy. So why does Maia suck besides the obvious? See her King Daddy killed her mom, Queenie the First, while banging a lady in waiting and tried to have his Speshul daughter killed multiple times. He deposed and subsequently killed the Earl of whatever and all his sons and is now banging a new lady in waiting. He kills his last lady in waiting to make room for the new lady in waiting because as her then, new wife, she started banging some musicians. And yet, at every opportunity, Maia implores those that really care about her, to not harm her daddy. She refuses to go against him in any way. Huh? That’s like letting a rabid skunk play with your kids in the backyard.
The writing is good as is the overall story line. The characters are well developed but Maia just plane sucks. There were some annoying phrases throughout the novel like “soft, softer, softly” over-used 70 times but minor compared to Maia’s perfection. This would have gotten 4 stars except for Maia’s cloying sickly sweetness.