The Kiss of Deception: review

The Kiss of Deception: review

The Kiss of Deception: reviewThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Macmillan on July 8, 2014
Genres: fantasy
Pages: 492 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon • Indiebound • Barnes & Noble • Goodreads

four-stars

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

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.

 

I first read Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox and was blown away by the beautiful language. The Kiss of Deception did not disappoint. This is a fantasy story filled with lush writing, a good mystery, and a strong female lead.

Lia, like many young princesses in fantasy stories, is betrothed to be married, but instead of going through with the marriage, she runs away to live a life of anonymity as a bar maid. From this first act to the last page Lia goes through a massive transformation, from the girl who runs away from her problems and responsibilities, to a woman who takes control of who she is. I really loved seeing how she grew over the course of the story.

The fantasy world was also very immersive. Although there was a bit of clunky exposition in the beginning, as the story went on the details given about the world outside of the kingdom Lia grew up in were intriguing. This is a world with a distinct history and culture. The story moves to many different places, giving the world a bigger, more realistic scope, which I really enjoyed.

Some of the best parts of the story are when Lia interacts with the world around her—the religion, the other cultures, and the war and politics. War is in the background for most of the story, but it always apparent. I liked how it was portrayed the way it really is—messy and with multiple sides. Some of my favorite parts were where Lia had to deal with the political consequences of her running away and how they effect the people she loves.

The one thing that kept me from fully being able to immerse myself in the story was the romance. To be more specific, the romantic leads, Rafe and Kaden. It wasn’t the love triangle. I didn’t mind that. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them. I did. It’s that for about two thirds of the book you just don’t know which guy is the prince and which is the assassin.

I enjoyed the mystery of it at first, but found it hard to connect emotionally with either guy when I didn’t know the context behind their characters. The perspective shifts between all three characters. When the perspective had a name attached it was careful to avoid anything that would conclusively say who they were. The same happened when the perspective was Assassin or Prince. It was only when their respective identities were revealed that I was able to understand and connect with them as individuals. Because of this, I didn’t really care about the romance because the whole time Lia was busy being in love I was focused on whether or not she picked the one that was trying to kill her. Still, this is definitely something where mileage will vary.

This is the first in a series. I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger, but the story definitely ends on a high point that makes me want to know what happens next. I would recommend this for anyone who loves interesting female leads, immersive fantasy worlds, and a story that will constantly keep you guessing.

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