Review: Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowanMaid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor #3
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on September 15, 2015
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss
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two-stars

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.

Coming into Maid of Wonder, I was nervous. Sophia has been my least favorite maid since book one, not because she was hateful but because I found her boring. Plus, I was seriously skeptical of her plot line. Still, I hoped that the romance would be adorable and the plot would surprise me. Sadly, this is one of those cases where my fears came 100% true. I still liked parts of Maid of Wonder, but it was slower and less delightful than the others.

I’m all for historical fantasy or historical paranormal (don’t ask me where the line is between the two because I don’t precisely know), but not for the third book in a series. Up to now, the Maids of Honor books have been pretty solidly historical. Sophia had the occasional vision, but that’s easily dismissed; there was a lot of belief in mystics and seers at the time, so it wasn’t weird for her to be there or anything.

However, in Sophia’s book, you’re obviously confronted with Sophia’s powers. It’s full on paranormal or fantasy, whatever you want to call it. Sophia scries and goes to another plane where she asks angels questions. The entire plot and much of the action has to do with mystical, otherworldly stuff, which, in normal situations I like, but which I did not care for here at all. Worse, since she’s the only one who could go to that plane, the other maids didn’t feature too much either.

Setting that aside for the moment, McGowan’s books are still good reads. The writing remains fun and engaging, the voice light and easily digestible. Sophia does lack the sass of the previous two heroines, Meg and Beatrice, but she does have her own voice. Once again, I very much liked seeing a new take on Elizabeth; seeing the queen through the various lenses is one of my favorite things about this series.

Though I didn’t care for the fantastical nature, the last 100 pages of the book went super quickly. Up to then, the pace had been somewhat plotting, but I devoured the end eagerly. I just didn’t entirely love what I found there, which pretty much is how I feel about this book as a whole. After all the hullabaloo, it was weird that Nostradamus really didn’t serve any purpose whatsoever and that whole thing with Arc made me curl my lip.

The romance too left me cold. It’s really a shame because romance is the easiest place to leave me pleased. Unfortunately, I don’t care for Marcus. I also don’t like that, like with Meg, she was immediately captivated with his gorgeous looks despite herself. There’s even less to like in this ship than that one though, because while Meg and Rafe enjoyed spying on one another, Marcus was spying on Sophia without her knowledge and she wasn’t spying back. Marcus struck me as rather creepy at various points and I do not feel the swoons. View Spoiler »

I’m grateful that I’m not a stickler for having full sets of series on my shelf, because I own the first two and do not intend to buy this one. It will go better for those who liked the visions aspect of the prior books, however.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif reign i am begging you to stop
Me to the whole angel prophecy business

One response to “Review: Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan”

  1. Oh this is disappointing 🙁 Sophia and her visions are always my least favorite parts of the books. I’ll still read this because I like the series but now I’m wishing we could skip to the next girl.
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