Friday, May 1, 2015

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Publication Date:  July 8, 2014
Publisher:  Henry Holt
Series:  The Remnant Chronicles #1
Pages:  492
Genre:  Fantasy
Synopsis:  She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. 

Review:  There is just something peculiar about high fantasy books that makes me always capable of finding faults within them.  The strange thing is that I usually enjoy them!  But, somehow, I find some sort of flaw.  

I found it difficult to get into this book.  The beginning is anticlimactic.  It starts with a mad escape from the palace, setting up anticipation for heart-stopping action, only to fall flat for most of the book when nothing too riveting happens.  It is just so slow, agonizingly so at points.  There is a lot of set up with nothing to show until the ending.  Other than that, the conflict is believable and the writing itself is quite good.  

One thing in particular appealed to me:  the deception.  At the beginning of the novel, we know that both an assassin and the prince Lia was supposed to be married off to go after the runaway princess.  However, we are not given their names.  It isn't until later when the true identities are revealed, and while I wasn't exactly expecting it, it didn't surprise me.  The reveal isn't what I like about it, though.  What is well done is how the author misleads you into believing who is the prince and who is the assassin, only to have it turn our opposite than what you are led to think.  Although the plot twist didn't necessarily shock me, I appreciated the skill it takes to fool the reader like Mary E. Pearson did.

Unlike Pearson's writing skills, the magic system needs some work. All of it just seems a bit contrived and silly.  Also, I wish the magical aspects were more present in the story, rather than just a subplot, as it was for much of the book. 

The character development is satisfying, thankfully, since I didn't like Lia too much at the start of the story.  To me, her running off is selfish.  Lia knows that the alliance between Morrigan and Dalbreck would protect her country and potentially save thousands of lives.  Yet, she still decides to run off, leaving her country vulnerable, all because she doesn't want to marry someone she doesn't love.  It is understandable, I know.  I wouldn't want to marry some prince I didn't love.  But a ruler is supposed to put his or her country before their own personal emotions, and Lia had no concern for the delicate political situation in Morrigan.  

All in all, Lia is a bit naive.  She ignores multiple hints throughout the book and spends copious amounts of time worrying about the two love interests.  I expected more fierceness from this princess. Which is why the last fourth or so of this book is my absolute favorite part, full to the brim with all the adventure and danger I wanted from the first section.  Lia grows into a strong character who would make a great ruler one day.

The prince and the assassin--the names are Kaden and Rafe.  Yes, I did prefer the more logical Rafe to the seemingly more emotional Kaden.  But, either way, both are pretty decent and I am intrigued about what we will see of them in the sequel.  With all the secrecy, it is hard to really get a sense of these characters, but they have some good potential. 

That brings me to the love triangle.  Like some other plot points in this book, it seemed unnecessary and irrelevant to the overall story. Now, I'm not as violently against love triangles as some others are, but they can be so tiresome.  I'm hoping this will die out in the next installment.   

Other than the large section of the book where you are just waiting and waiting for something daring to happen and the other small issues, this book is pretty good.  I say it is worth checking out and I will be reading the next book in the series.  

3.5 Keys



  1. I'm reading this one right now actually, I hear it's predictable but the premise sounds amazing though - the covers of this series are gorgeous though! <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  2. It is rather predictable, but I really like the ending! Very good and ends on a cliff hanger. The second book comes out July 7 and I can't wait to see how the author continues the story line.