Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson {review}

Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson
♦publisher: Henry Holt & Co
♦release date: July 8th, 2014
♦hardcover, 489 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Remnant Chronicles, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest 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.

Review: Oh, Mary Pearson.  You clever author.  Kiss of Deception fully and completely captured me from beginning to end.  I found myself mesmerized by the extraordinary writing, engaged in this gutsy heroine who fled a world she felt entrapped in, and blindsided by a plot that somehow completely pulled the rug from under my feet. 

Lia has never fit the roll of princess, always running with her brothers and getting into mischief. At 17, she is forced into a marriage to bring together her kingdom of Morrighan to the neighboring Dalbreck. Terrified and unable to imagine a life in a loveless arranged marriage, she takes her life into her own hands and runs away with her best friend, Pauline. They flee to Terravin, a quaint colorful town, and take up
as tavern girls to earn there keep.  I had to applaude her, she knew how she wanted to live her life and she took it, and despite being raised among royalty, didn’t hesitate to get her hands dirty. But she does start to see how it’s not so easy to walk away from her old life without it affecting those she cares about, and it’s beautiful to see her slow growth into a young woman and maybe even a true princess. 

There are three alternating voices throughout the story: Lia, Kaden and Rafe.  There is a love triangle, which doesn’t bother me, but to those of you who hate them: don’t write this one off just yet! Of Kaden and Rafe, one is the Prince Lia was suppose to marry and the other is an assassin sent to kill her.  Pearson cleverly wrote this so you don’t know which is which.  As much as I was sure that I had it figured out, I was so wrong, and when the truth is finally revealed, it turned the whole story on its head for me. 

This world is fantastical but set to feel much like our own in ancient times.  The imagery is exquisite though, creating beautiful visuals in my mind for this story to play out in: A cold loveless castle, a welcoming and quaint tavern, a village festival full of noise and games, colorful gypsy caravans, a stark unforgiving desert, and a dangerous wild forest.  Even small intricate details like the swirls and symbols of a painted tattoo were brought to life in gorgeous prose. 

There are fast-paced excitements throughout, but also some long stretches of Lia just settling into her life in Terravin, getting to know all the new people in her life, being there for Pauline, worrying about their safety---there are a lot of low-key moments, but in nearly 500 pages I never found myself bored.  As some stories do, sometimes in completely inexplicable ways, this story just clicked for me. Its a courageous and touching story with all the makings of an epic fantasy, and I can't wait to see what's to come for these characters.

Find Mary E. Pearson online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Kiss of Deception:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. Thank you for the lovely review! I've heard nothing but things on this one! I'm very excited to get my hands on a copy soon!

    Eileen @ BookCatPin :)

  2. :D Yay! Is it bad that I got excited that you were wrong about who was who too? I was so happy that I was wrong, though! I so agree that Lia really grows into the princess she was born as in the course of the book. Her realization of her duty and embracing of it is just so great. I was the same in that I was never bored, too. :) Now we have to wait for book two! Great review Becky!

  3. Damn it. I wanted you to hate this book like I did :p lol. <3 But yeah. I am glad you loved it :) Kind of. I don't get it, but still :D I do love your review. <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

  4. Now I'm so intrigued with the twist in the love triangle. I want to know which guy is which. I think I'll give this book a try soon. Hope I'll like it as well.

  5. LOL, sorry you didn't enjoy this one, Carina! I can see how some people wouldn't like the pace and I know some will be put off by the sort-of love triangle. But yea, easily one of my favorites of the year! :D

  6. I hope so, too! I say love triangle, but really it's obvious she only has eyes for one of them. The real kicker is just not knowing if she's falling for the Prince or the Assassin! :D I definitely recommend this one!

  7. Gah! I really, really want to read it and try to guess which guy is which. :D The detective in me demands it!
    I'll try to pick it up this week, after I'm done with The Perilous Sea and some other September ARCs.

  8. Thank you :) He's the little prince in my family haha.

  9. this really sounds very interesting :) Thanks for the great review!

  10. I've heard nothing but good things about this one. It actually came in the library for me, but I'm leaving in a couple of days and just didn't have the time to get to it. Hopefully I'll be able to get a library card right away and will order this again. I love multiple POVs and am intrigued by the idea of not knowing which boy is which. It is quite a feat to keep a reader's interest for that long, so I'm excited to get read this. Great review!

  11. So happy you loved it too!! Such a clever book, especially with that twist. And agreed about the prose - truly gorgeous!

    Fabulous review :)

  12. Kiss of Deception has been another one of those books to be completely out there as a great book. I just wasn't sure whether I wanted to read it or not, but now I know that I kind of do because of this review. Especially when I read that there are two guys and there's no way to know which is the prince and which is the assassin at the beginning. That totally intrigued me :)