The Kiss of Deceptionby Mary E. Pearson (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co., Macmillan on 2014-07-08
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
The Kiss of Deception is one of those books that I had a hard time putting down. It’s also one of those novels that I wanted to last longer, even though it stopped at nearly 500 pages. While epic historical fantasy, especially in the young adult genre, isn’t something that I pick up all that often because it’s hard to do right, Mary E. Pearson has written a fantastic book one in The Remnant Chronicles series. This is epic fantasy done right, with beautiful settings come to life and realistic situations just tweaked enough to make everything magical.
Princess Lia has grown up independent and head strong, with three older brothers who were free to live their life as they wished. To make a political alliance with another country, the king has promised Lia to wed the prince of another country–sight unseen–and Lia isn’t happy with the situation. She’s so unhappy that she escapes along with her attendant Pauline to a small town far from the capital, settling down with Pauline’s aunt and working as barmaids in the local tavern/inn. But unbeknownst to Princess Lia, who is trying hard to remain anonymous, the Prince has gone after her, as well as an assassin sent by a neighboring territory of so-called Barbarians. The two men meet up outside the tavern, enter together, and compete for Lia’s attentions–all without Lia finding out who the men really are.
I loved Lia. She is such a strong, smart, independent, resourceful, and loyal woman. Certainly not what one would expect a typical royal to be, Lia enjoys working hard at the tavern, and she loves her attendant Pauline like family. Getting away from her father and mother, away from the micromanaging advisors that her father has in court is the best thing for her, and in the small town of Terravin, she’s able to really come into her own as a person. And it’s here that she falls for one of the handsome men that walk into the tavern together, not knowing his true identity.
While it may seem like there’s a love triangle here, Lia really only has eyes for one man. I spent the first 300 pages hoping that she had fallen for the prince, because Mary E. Pearson keeps you guessing as to the identity of which man is the assassin and which is the prince. But I didn’t really mind since these point of view switches from Lia to the small chapters from Kaden and Rafe were seemless and informative. And I was still wrong in my guess of who was who!
I give The Kiss of Deception a five out of five. With romance, political intrigue, warring factions, gypsies, a fun festival, and even an ancient prophecy that is seeming to come into play towards the end of the book, there’s a little bit of everything to enjoy here. Lia is a lively and fun main character, and she isn’t a shrinking violet waiting for someone to save her at any point in the book (which is good for the second half). The two potential love interests are well fleshed out and sympathetic, and I loved how you didn’t know who was who until much later in the book. I can’t wait for book two!