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The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson is the first in a new series about a princess that has a lot to learn, an assassin who is rather conflicted, and a prince who is nothing that you’d expect. While that makes The Kiss of Deception sound like a typical YA fantasy, you would make a horrendous mistake to leave it at that. The world that The Kiss of Deception gives us glimpses of has the potential to be truly epic and could rival adult epic fantasy for its scope and depth. The plot and character dynamics could easily have fallen into tropes, but beautifully escaped being quite what you’d think. On top of all that the writing is addictive and you’ll easily sprint through this 500-page book and be begging for book two with the rest of us! Yes, all right, I really darn enjoyed this one!

Note: I received The Kiss of Deception from the publisher  for review consideration. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 15th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 496 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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.

4.5 Stars


  • Lia is our mischievous heroine, but she is backed up by some excellent secondary characters and some refreshingly solid friendships and family relationships. I really enjoyed the dynamics and loyalty between Lia and her best friend Pauline, as well as Lia’s more complicated relationship with her mother. On top of that, Lia’s brothers are there for her when she needs them and one in particular rises above being a passing plot point to really reflect the depth of Lia’s character.
  • I cannot tell you enough how excited I am for the world of The Kiss of Deception. If you’ve read The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, you have a bit of an idea of how vast and intriguing the world in The Kiss of Deception is. We see a fair amount of the world directly from Lia’s perspective, but there are also some delectable hints of Ancient beings that left mysterious ruins behind and possibly had a past more distant and epic than anyone of Lia’s time can imagine.
  • While I have mixed feelings about the romance as you’ll see below, I have to admit that the romance has a twist that I definitely didn’t see coming and that I haven’t actually seen before. I applaud Pearson for being able to still surprise me with YA romance ;-).
  • I found the pacing of The Kiss of Deception to be spot on. Just as I was growing comfortable with where things were headed, something new cropped up to surprise, horrify, or reassure me. I read the bulk of The Kiss of Deception in an evening and probably could have finished it in a day if I hadn’t gotten distracted by food. Silly food and its distractive nature.
  • Lia grows a lot throughout The Kiss of Deception, but it felt completely organic. I never could point to a moment that felt forced just for the sake of growth. Instead, I stiffened my upper lip with Lia because she made the best choice among a list of bad options and changed due to those choices. Her inner monologues also reflected this growth well and I feel that I really know her as a person after going through this adventure with her.


  •  I’ve seen a fair amount of discussion of the possibility of a love triangle in The Kiss of Deception and while I acknowledge that things aren’t a true love triangle ever, I can’t help but feel conflicted. As you can guess from the main characters being one girl and two boys (especially when the girl is a princess), there is attraction and confused feelings all over the place. I have hope that subsequent books will deviate away from this YA trope, but The Kiss of Deception got too close to a love triangle for my complete enjoyment.
  • There are chapters from the two boys’ perspectives and I honestly had trouble keeping them straight and remembering who had been in which scene with Lia. That is all I shall say on this point >.>.
  • The Kiss of Deception has a bit of a quirk to its writing in that there are paragraphs interspersed that summarize events instead of showing them play out. While it didn’t greatly decrease my enjoyment of The Kiss of Deception, I couldn’t help but notice them and wonder if I would have been more engrossed if they had been shown instead of told to me.


The Kiss of Deception is poised to be the next great YA fantasy series that everyone is dying to read. The writing is delicious and addictive, the characters strong and lovable, the world deep and intriguing. While I’m worried about a love triangle brewing, I have hope that this series will turn that trope on its head just like all the others The Kiss of Deception manages to gracefully overturn. If you are looking for your next reading addiction, look no further than The Kiss of Deception.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

© 2014 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Useful princess!!?? YES, PLEASE! Now I am super excited to get my hands on this!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Forgotten Fridays: Vampire AcademyMy Profile

  2. Stargate?! :D

    But yes, I read something similar about the romance. As great as this sounds, I’ll probably hold off to make sure it doesn’t go full blown love triangle on us in Book 2. Thanks for the great review!
    Kel (Booked til Tuesday) recently posted…Cracked by Eliza Crewe (2 stars)My Profile

    • Haha, totally!

      I will definitely be reading and reviewing book two as soon as I can, so I’ll find out for you ;-)

  3. I was so surprised with how I felt with The Kiss of Deception. Usually, I don’t enjoy reading conflicting emotions due to love triangles, but I seriously didn’t mind this as much with this book. Plus, I was so taken aback since I thought I figured out who’s who, but I was completely mistaken. I totally agree with you about Lia’s growth all throughout as well. Lovely review, Anya! :)
    Sarah @ Smitten over Books recently posted…Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda KenneallyMy Profile

  4. She surprised you with the ya romance? Now I definitely must read since even Tina loved it!
    Tabitha @ not yet read recently posted…Interview: Sebastien de Castell, debut author of Traitor’s BladeMy Profile

  5. I keep hearing really amazing things about this and I need it in my life. It sounds really good. And I’m interested to see this world and little plot surprised you speak of.
    Bec @ Readers in Wonderland recently posted…Merchant’s Ransom: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsMy Profile

  6. Have this one on my list, seen some reviews about the “mischievous” heroine that makes me think she could be hit or miss with me, but I’m still curious about checking this out and seeing what I’ll think of it :)

  7. Adelynne Chang says:

    I hate love triangles, but this seems to be worth the read. I’ve been considering buying it, and it looks like you have a lot of great things to say about this book. Thanks for the review!

    • Haha, I think that the author is aiming to go a different direction so I’m willing to trust her not to drop into a love triangle, but we’ll see!

  8. OOoh nice review! Seeing a LOT of positive things on this one and yeah, there are definite comments on the love triangle, but I was hooked pretty much from the first review I read! I did buy it, but haven’t had time to read it yet with my review stack still looming at me! Getting closer though! Great review! Can’t wait to read it!
    Jessica @ a GREAT read recently posted…It’s Monday! What are You Reading?My Profile

  9. I agree with so much of this! I totally loved Lia, and her growth throughout the book! The worldbuilding was also awesome – I can’t wait to learn even more in book 2! Mostly what threw me off was all the confusion with the assassin and the prince. I felt like the on-purpose who’s-who game was just too much and really detracted from my enjoyment. :(
    Nikki recently posted…ARC Review: THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. PearsonMy Profile

    • Ha, I love our differences on that since once I figured that twist out I was delighted to have been tricked, I’m just weird too though ;-)

  10. Based on other reviews I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it or not. Either people love it or hate it. I liked your breakdown of the pros and cons. I think I’ll give it a shot. :)

  11. Sounds really great – between the epic fantasy world and YA romance that surprised you (even if you are conflicted) I’m 90% sold. The 10%? Why does it have to be so long? LOL I recently read a book that was almost 700 pages and I’m still recovering, but if it’s really that great I probably won’t feel the pages, right? Totally adding to my TBR – great review Anya :)
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…Death of the Mad Hatter by Sara J. Pepper | #COYER Book ReviewMy Profile

  12. Hummmmmmmmmm this looks fun, although the event-summarizing paragraphs sound a bit odd. Sorta tempted by this one – you seem to have really enjoyed it! – but the prospect of a love triangle with two quite similar boys is a bit off-putting.
    Miriam @ Inky Realms recently posted…Book Review: The Lost by Sarah Beth DurstMy Profile

    • I for some reason am willing to trust Pearson not to make a horrid love triangle, the writing just felt sharp and refreshing enough to not fall into that trap ya know? And apparently the author has said in interviews that the cover doesn’t have two guys in the background and she doesn’t intend for there to be a love triangle *shrugs*

  13. I love a good relationship between siblings! But is it enough to salvage the almost love triangle? Hmmm…I don’t know. You’re not the first person to suggest that the assassin and the prince were basically interchangeable. I think I’ll wait until book 2 comes out to make my final decision on this series; if the dreaded triangle is avoided in that one, then I’m all in!

    • Haha, I wouldn’t say that they were interchangeable since it’s pretty clear that it was done on purpose and details to specify who was who were just left out. Once I figured it out, I could see a clear difference in personality ;-)


  1. […] of Deception. There are some big surprises in The Kiss of Deception, so I recommend you check out my review of book one if you haven’t read it yet! The Heart of Betrayal continues the story pretty much exactly […]

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