Title: ROYAL DECOY
Series: FATE OF EYRINTHIA #1
Author: HEATHER FROST
Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Publication Date: JUNE 18, 2020
ABOUT THE BOOK
A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.
A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.
A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.
A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.
A WORLD on the brink of war.
In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess’s perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begin stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.
Across the northern mountain, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson’s silent obedient is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.
The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.
All I can say is just…WOW!!! This is an action-packed fantasy story, totally worth the read. It was amazing, fantastic, great, phenomenal, and superb. Never thought I would ended up enjoying the story. Before I read this book, I didn’t have any expectation at all. Just went in blind and came out feeling so satisfied. What an incredible experience.
Royal Decoy is about a girl named Clare who had a very big responsibility which is to play as a decoy of Princess Serene in order for the real Princess Serene to be safe all the time. Being a decoy is tough and through her experience playing as the fake princess, she discovered the untold truths and secrets about the royal family of Devendra. Things started to take a darker turn the moment she was attacked by an assassin.
Stories like this one usually put me on the edge all the time. There are so many things happening in this book and it was tough to predict what will happen next. I liked the mystery in this book. A lot of things that happened in this book are related to one another, so it was not that hard to understand. The whole decoy thing thickened the plot even more which made it hard for me to figure out who was the attacker and which character is the real villain. The story doesn’t have a very predictable plot which is why I really enjoyed reading this book because the more I read it, the more I want to know what will happen next and who was behind the chaos. As for the storyline, it was incredibly amazing and it had a very smooth flow too. The pacing was just nice, it wasn’t too slow so I really liked how fast the pacing was the whole time.
This book focuses more on Clare being the decoy, her experience as the royal princess, and what she learned about the royal family of Devendra while also discovering secrets about the characters that are close to her and the royal family. The type of situation she was put in wasn’t easy at all. She had to be very careful all the time and not to mention that her role changed near the end which was to be a spy, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of her doing her spy work in the next book. I’m excited to see the progress and how that will work out.
I thought the book would show Clare, Princess Serene and the royal bodyguards in Mortise since they’ve been talking about Princess Serene journeying to Mortise due to her betrothal to Serjah Desfan which is Prince of Mortise. The book ended with Clare and everyone getting ready for their journey to Mortise. I wasn’t actually disappointed but I was expecting more from the last few chapters. After I was done reading, I made a lot of thinking and to think about it, this is the first book in a series so I guess it made sense why it ended the way it did so that the next book would explore and show more of the characters’ journey to Mortise and what will happen to them once they arrive there. I was just so eager to know how smooth will their journey be and are all of them safe or not hence the reason why I was expecting a lot more from the ending.
As for the decoy concept, it can either turns out good or bad but luckily for this one it was good. I admit that at one point I pictured the concept can be too complicated and that it will cause a major confusion when other characters are interacting with either Clare or Serene alone—the confusion are mainly on the other characters since they had no idea about the decoy. I was intrigued by the concept to be honest, and had been waiting to see how it will play out. What I’m most worried about is how will this whole decoy thing affects Serene and Desfan’s relationship, and Clare and Bennick’s relationship. I just hope there is no love triangle or relationship drama between these characters, and I also hope they would inform Desfan of the whole decoy thing so that he wouldn’t mistake Clare for Serene. The decoy concept had me thinking a lot of things and it seriously made my head spin.
Can we also agree that this book is so intense even though there wasn’t any magical elements involved? The fighting scenes are terrific, I loved how well-written it was. Clearly, this book doesn’t need any magic stuff in it, the whole swords-fighting actions are already incredible enough to make this book more interesting than it already is. Also, I would love to see more of Clare’s training and I want to see her mastering her fighting skills, especially the one with the dagger. She definitely needs to train a lot and perhaps with swords next time around since the threats are getting more bigger and she need to know how to use a sword. Her life as a decoy is dangerous, she was attacked countless of time in this book and I can only imagine how many times she would get attack in the next book.
Now let’s talk about the characters. None of the characters are saint enough to be innocent. A whole lot of them have their own hidden agenda, have secrets to hide, stories to tell, missions to do, and all of them wear a mask to hide who they really are. It was quite shocking actually when I found out what secrets are these characters hiding all this time, and then finding out the truth about them are even more shocking like my jaw dropped. I wonder what more surprises these characters will bring in the next book.
As for Bennick, Clare, Grayson, and Mia, I honestly didn’t get how they are connected to each other since Bennick and Clare never met Grayson and Mia. The more I read their POVs, the more I began to understand that the missions they were about to do will bring them together. I finally understood that this book only introduced these four and gave an insight on what their lives are like to prepare the readers for what they were about to do in the next book. This is like the starter and the next book is the main course. I was confused as to how Bennick and Clare’s situation correlate to Grayson and Mia’s situation. It took me the whole book to finally understand the whole thing and why these four characters are the main focus. I’m excited to see how their first meeting with each other will go but also kind of nervous for what will happen to them, and how are they going to determine the fate of Eyrinthia.
Clare is actually one of the servant who worked at the castle but one night changed her fate. The misunderstanding in the first two chapters was frustrating to me, but glad to know that she was given the chance to be free but with a price. I liked her character a lot more better because of her development throughout the book. What she had to go through changed her in a good way. I liked how at first she was scared but then she slowly became braver, stronger and more than capable of defending herself against those who tried to harm her. All those training really paid off, and she really put major effort into learning everything that she can so she knows what to do and what to prepare herself for. She had the best character development in the story and I cannot wait to see what more will she do next considering she will be spying on certain people.
Bennick is Princess Serene’s lead bodyguard who’ve spent his entire time protecting and guarding Clare. He’s so charming, so protective, but very secretive. There wasn’t much to learn about him other than a little bit about his past and what his role is in the present day. The fact that he was about two years older than Clare and is already been made captain of the royal guards really showed how good he is as a royal guard and he definitely inherit a great leadership skill from his father. What truly shocked me was learning who his father is, and I do wonder if he will ever need any help from his father even though they weren’t on good terms with each other. There is so much potential that can be done to Bennick’s character, and I hope the opportunity to turn him into one of the best character in this series didn’t go to waste. I would love to see more of him being the true leader he was born to be, and to see more of what he can do other than guarding Clare.
Grayson is the most feared person in his kingdom, and I do admit that he can be a lot scary but deep down he was just a scared young man who was forced to do his father’s bidding even when he doesn’t want to. There are so much to learn about him and it was good to see the real him instead of the him that everyone feared the most. It hurt me knowing what his father did to him to make him do all the things he didn’t even want to do. It was shown in some parts that he wasn’t really evil and that he is indeed a good person. He even saved an entire family by helping them escape, and from that moment alone I knew he would grow stronger and eventually will go against what his father told him to do. I really want to see what will he do next, and will he be able to do what his father asked him to do at the end there?
Some other characters that I liked are Venn, Wilf, Cardon, Princess Serene, and Vera. Well, mainly Venn because he was just so hilarious, friendly, and sweet the entire time. He reminds me a lot of my favorite characters from other books, especially Finn from Ena of Ilbrea series by Megan O’Russell. Wilf was so terrifying, his temper is the main reason why he was seen as dangerous but he was actually a good but grumpy man. Cardon has been good the whole time, and so does Vera. Princess Serene really surprised me with the shocking truth she kept to herself the whole time. I wanted to trust her but I was also suspicious of her, and if what she said is true then I hope whatever she was planning will be a success. One thing this book has taught me is not to trust people so easily even when they seem so sincere because looks can be deceiving and some people can fake their kindness so they won’t look bad.
As for the bad guys, well there are a lot of them; the rebels, the Mortisians, the royal family of Ryden, the King of Devendra, and an assassin. I wasn’t even sure who is the main villain since these people seems to have the same end goal and giving off a major villain vibe. I want to learn more about these bad guys and why they did what they did. As for the assassin, well that was an unexpected surprise and I was shocked to know the identity of the person. It was a good kind of surprise anyway.
Let’s move on to the romance, and start with Bennick and Clare first. These two obviously had mutual attraction since the first time they laid their eyes on each other. Their slow-burn romance and the build up to their romance was nicely written. They had some issues in their relationship but they sorted it out so quickly. I hope they will learn how to trust each other with their secrets and their pasts. I have no doubt that their relationship will be put into a test in the next book, but I hope they will be able weather it. They surely do have nice and strong chemistry and I loved how their relationship went from two strangers to friends and then to lovers, the development of it was amazing.
Now, Grayson and Mia’s relationship was really tough. Their relationship is more difficult and a lot different than Bennick and Clare’s relationship. I feel bad for Grayson and Mia because they didn’t have the freedom to be a normal couple. Mia’s been living the majority of her life in the darkest place and to her, Grayson is the only light in her life. Seeing how tortured Grayson soul was and how he thought he doesn’t deserve to have his own happiness made me sad. They do have a very strong chemistry and they shared a connection that no one can relate to. These two deserve each other and I hate the circumstances of their relationship in this book. I hope they would be able to free themselves and enjoy the freedom, they deserve it so much. I’m looking forward to see whether they would survive the next challenge in their relationship or not.
Overall, it was a great book. Not easily predictable and not like how I pictured it. I loved the surprises this book gave me. This is exactly the type of book that make me so eager to read the next one. I’m looking forward to read the sequel because I just can’t get enough of this sinister world full of secrets. I can sense that war is coming, and since this book already showed Devendra and Ryden, I wonder what the other two kingdoms will be like; Mortise and Zennor. And how are Bennick, Clare, Grayson, and Mia become the most important characters to play a part in deciding the fate of Eyrinthia. So many things still left unanswered, and I can’t wait to see how the author will continue this story. This series has the potential to go big and I hope a lot more people would read this book.
***FOLLOW THE TOUR HERE***
Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework.
When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She owns two typewriters, sings in the car, and dreams of living in a castle someday. She currently lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah.