Palace of Lies

Palace of Lies - Margaret Peterson Haddix It's been a long time since I read the other two books in this series, but I think I like Desmia better than I liked Cecilia.

Desmia is so full of fear it's a wonder that she can function, but it is that fear that allows her to be brave. She isn't so full of sass like Cecilia is, which is kind of a breath of fresh air. For some reason it seems like authors think the only way to create a strong female character is to make her sassy, which isn't true. Desmia might not be obviously strong, but she is strong in less obvious ways. She was raised by a cruel madman, and still managed to remain kind. She understands how many dishonest people think, but that doesn't make her dishonest. I wasn't surprised at all when she ended up with Tog. I do like her and Tog together, but there were two problems with the pairing, the first is that they're only fourteen. I'm not much for romantic relationships in characters that young. The other problem is Tog. When he rescued Desmia, he seemed to like her, then, when they were getting ready to leave until about the time Terrance abandoned them, he seemed to hate her, then suddenly he acted like he liked her again, but there was nothing in between either of these opinion changes to indicate why he felt the way that he did about her, or why his opinion changed. I also wasn't at all surprised when Terrance left them, or when he betrayed them

Desmia went through a whole lot of character growth in this book, I'm glad she has learned to trust people more, and thank goodness she stopped thinking of herself as better than the commoners. Though I think it'll be a lot of work for her (and her sister princesses) to fix their kingdom, as it stands, thirteen fourteen-year-olds don't seem quite mature enough to rule it.

I really like Herk and Janelia. I didn't like Tog and Herk's names. The only way I remembered Herk's name was to pretend that it was a nickname for Hercules, and I kept forgetting Tog's name when I wasn't reading. I don't know what it is about those two short, inelegant names that made it so hard for me to remember them, but it also seemed odd because all the other names I've come across in this series seem to be either elegant or normal (or both) so I found these two names that were neither appealing nor normal to be rather obnoxious.