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 (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.
- 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.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
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