I've gotten some messages asking how I picked the titles of these books, and so I thought I'd write a quick post about it!
I love titles that work in multiple ways, and I tried to do that with these titles. Some of the choices might appear obvious, but let me share some of my reasoning to show you the deeper meanings that each title has.
***SPOILER WARNING: This post covers through Royal Captive, and each book explanation does contain some spoilers. So please only read explanations for the books you have finished reading!***
Clare is the obvious reason for this title, and since she's also the one on the cover, it makes sense that I picked it. This book is all about her becoming Serene's decoy. However, Clare isn't the only one pretending to be someone she's not.
Grayson is seen as The Black Hand, someone with a black heart who only lives to do his father's evil bidding. But we know that he's playing the role that his father demands in order to keep Mia safe. Throw in the fact that he's also a royal, and this title takes on more meaning.
But that's not where it stops! Serene, we come to learn, is also pretending. She plays the part of a bratty princess to throw off her father and brother, but we learn she's actually not that person at all.
On a smaller level, but still fun to acknowledge, is the fact that even Bennick takes a moment to play a part, since he pretends to be Venn for a while.
In short, Royal Decoy is all about our main characters pretending to be something they are not.
In this book, Clare really takes on her role as a spy for Serene, and she's also playing double-agent as she pretends to be a spy for Prince Grandeur. Once again, though, these titles are about more than just Clare.
Grayson is learning to be a spy as he prepares for his unique mission in Mortise. Liam, his older brother and the spy-master of Ryden, trains Grayson in the basics of spying and duplicitousness that they can use on their false mission of peace.
Serene is also dabbling in duplicitousness throughout this book, and we learn she's got some rebellious secrets.
A new POV we get in this book is from Desfan--the main man on the cover! He is of course a royal, and he's also taking his turn at being a spy as he investigates troubles within Duvan, and within his court.
Another new POV is Mia's, and the main plot happening with her is her interactions with Tyrell, who she knows is a spy for Henri.
On a smaller scale, we also have Eliot, who is manipulating Clare for the rebel cause.
So, this book is all about characters spying, investigating, learning, and observing.
Mia is featured on the cover, and if you've read the book, you know why I chose her and why this title makes complete sense for her. She is the main reason I settled on this title, but--like the other books--there are other reasons.
We ended Royal Spy with Clare being captured by mercenaries, so she is a literal captive.
Bennick is also feeling trapped, since he's not able to go after Clare.
Grayson is still in Mortise, and he's caught on a path that is only getting more dangerous and more restrictive. He is betrayed and maneuvered into a corner--captured, for lack of a better word--and he's forced to make a heart-rending choice; one that leads to literal imprisonment. He also finds himself a prisoner again before the end of the book.
Desfan feels trapped by his impending marriage to Serene. Additionally, he's still feeling the weight of his growing responsibilities, which becomes only more acute by the end of the book.
A new POV we get in this book is Serene, and once in her head we realize just how trapped she feels. By her marriage to Desfan, by her responsibilities as the rebel leader, and by the fact that she can't make an open move against her father and brother. We also learn that her heart was captured years ago by someone . . .
Finally, in our other new POV, we see how Wilf is a prisoner to his past in many ways, with how deeply the loss of his wife impacted him. He is also feeling trapped and helpless by the fact that Clare and Vera were taken.
One of the major themes for all the characters in this book is being trapped--literally, or figuratively.
So, there you have it! A breakdown of each title so far, and why I chose each one specifically for that book.