Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Maid of Wonder

Maid of Wonder 
by Jennifer McGowan
Published: September 15, 2015

Sophia must master her psychic ability if she is to save the life of Queen Elizabeth and her fellow maids from a dark prophecy, in this third book of the Maids of Honor series.

Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.

Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen’s personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.

In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle’s striking and overambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death?

As new dangers surface and the dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown—and herself.

My review:

Maid of Wonder is different from the other books in the Maids of Honor series because of the bigger paranormal element. Sophia has the ability to commune with beings she calls angels. Since her encounter with the gypsies she has been using an obsidian stone to help her focus her visions. Sophia has been trying to keep her growing gift under wraps for her safety and because she still doesn't have the clarity she needs to interpret what she experiences. After a prophecy is given concerning death at Windsor that may refer to the Queen or someone at court, Sophia has to use all her skill to figure it out. At the same time she has rivals in John Dee and Nostradamus. She also has romantic attention from Marcus Quinn who has similar abilities to her own.

There is an element of danger and mystery at Elizabeth's court. One character seems to be a threat but no one will believe Sophia and the other Maids. The visions Sophia experiences are also exacting a higher toll physically and they become more frightening but Sophia is determined to find the threat to the Queen before it is too late. 

I liked this mystery but not as much as the first two books that focused on Meg and Beatrice respectively. Sophia's strange abilities and the visions were a little creepy (she bleeds from her eyes for example). It became a little too much for a historical fiction novel. I did like the character of Sophia and understanding her better but I could have done without all the paranormal aspects. The romance between Sophia and Marcus felt kind of forced and not as well developed. Marcus just seemed to adore her from the beginning without reason. The romances and heroes in the other books were better developed. Here it was like Sophia just had too much on her plate to devote much thought to romance and there was a weird twist towards the end with the dark angel.

While I didn't enjoy Maid of Wonder as much as I'd hoped I did find it to be page turning especially as the danger to the Queen grew. I like the Maids and learning more about them in each book. There are some interesting historical details too that added to the story. The Queen herself made for an intriguing and infuriating secondary character. I definitely plan to read the rest of the series. I would suggest the Maids of Honor series (first book Maid of Secrets) to fans of Tudor fiction and historical mystery.

Note: I received an ARC for review courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

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