Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Release date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Remnant Chronicles
Source: Purchased
Length: 492 pages
Rating: I probably should not have loved that but I kind of really did.


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.

This book does a lot of things that kind of grinds my gears. For a lot of it, it focuses on romance over plot, and triangular romance at that. There are multiple first person points of view, which are always so terribly tricky to pull off if the voices blend together. So much of it hinges on the mystery reveals, so will it fall apart once the mask of deceit is lifted?

And yet, you guys, I couldn't stop reading this book.

We start the book with Lia, a princess about to be sold into marriage to a foreign prince she's never met. Lia is fiery, stubborn, and determined to live her own life, so she does what any good protagonist with Rebellious Princess Syndrome would do: she runs away.

She doesn't want to be a princess anymore. She's not just some prize to be won.

She wants to make her own friends and choices, so she and her serving maid, Pauline, flee to a remote village. Lia likes nothing better than to piss of the old farts who sought to control her life, so she steals some old, valuable documents and takes them with her. What Lia doesn't know is that she may have just set off a chain of events that could lead to all out war. And what she really doesn't know is that the two handsome boys staying with her at the inn at which she words aren't a fisherman and a farm hand: one is the prince she jilted, and the other is an assassin sent to kill her.

I think the titular deception is my favorite part. Pearson does a sublime job of keeping you guessing. I couldn't decide if I thought Rafe was the assassin or Kaden, and just when I made a decision, she flipped everything into the air again. There are a whole bunch of different POV chapters just to add to the confusion, and yet I was never confused. I tried to piece it all together from the different viewpoints (Lia's, Rafe's, Kaden's, and sometimes just the Prince's or the Assassin's) which never give away the true identities.

The plot does come to a bit of a standstill as Lia figures out her feelings for the boys and we try to figure out which boy is which. But there are still tensions under the surface, attempted murders, actual murders, and Lia's struggle with the fact that she does not have the psychic abilities that all First Daughters have. In fact, I very much liked Lia, even though I know a lot of people had problems connecting to her, which impeded their ability to enjoy the book. But I loved how stubborn she is and how she can be wrong and how she's never afraid to voice her opinion.

As for the ship, well, I don't know how to discuss it without spoilers, but I like. I didn't ship like whoa, but I'm invested in the couple. The thing about the love triangle is that it's both not quite a love triangle and so much more than a love triangle, because of what the boys are. Besides, Lia is by no means waffling between, and does pick a boy... but whether it's the boy she hates and chose to run away from, or whether it's the boy whose job is to slit her throat... well, you'll ahve to wait and see. I did get a little nervous when, after the identity reveal, the love triangle sort of came out of its slumber and sniffered around and acted like it might come back. I really hope it doesn't become too big a part of the sequel, 'cause then I may be all:

But I love where this book left off. The Kiss of Deception, except for that huge deceptiony awesomeness, has a lot of setup going on, introducing the possible magicness to come and laying the groundwork for some dark, twisted political strife. There was also one moment for me near the end that was surprisingly feelsy, and I was on a plane with all my boy cousins and had to blink really fast so I wouldn't get teary in front of them, as they would have mocked me mercilessly.

The worldbuilding, I thought, was super cool and original and... well... let's see if you see the things that I saw and Jessie saw which will add a whole 'nother dimension of awesome to this possibly-fantasy world. I really loved this book, you guys. Mary E. Pearson pull off a ton of things I normally don't love and made me hardcore love them. It's not a perfect book (and is definitely too long), but I couldn't stop reading it and cannot wait for the next one.


  1. I'm so thrilled you liked this one Gillian! I remember being so invested in this one so much and I couldn't put it down. Figurimg out who was who was a total mind buster and i was like franticallh writing stuff down and little hints to see if i could solve it but that just gave me a big headache. Hopefully like you said the "love triangle" doesn't go on into the second book....

  2. Great review!! I'm happy you liked this book as much as I did :)

    Rachel @A Perfection Called Books

  3. Great review! For me, this was solidly middle ground. When I first started it, I basically devoured it. I kept coming back to this book at every opportunity. It was afterwards that I had a moment of clarity and asked myself "wait, why did I like that?". I shouldn't have liked it, but I did. I thought I wouldn't like Lia, but I ended up liking her fiery personality (and that fact that she could bring a man to his knees with a few choice words). The guessing game when it came to the guys kept me interested because I HAD TO KNOW! I kept psyching myself out trying to figure out who was who. Buttttt..... because of the whole not knowing who was who, it was hard to tell the difference between the boys personalities. Also, the plot, for me at least, didn't really go anywhere. This is a big book and nothing happens till the last quarter. Though, because of all the stuff that does happen, I'm definitely looking forward to book 2.

    All the best,
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

  4. I really enjoyed this book too! I was put off by the Prince/Assassin guessing-game, but like you, I really liked Lia despite her flaws. This book is definitely setup for AWESOME things to come!!

    And also, regarding the "things you saw" -- I noticed those too! And then I looked at the map... which looks pretty darn familiar. XD

  5. This is totally one of those times where I feel like I read a different book than anyone else. Like...I didn't "get" it, you know? But I agree about the post-apocalyptic thing; I think you're so right! And the "Great River" would be the Mississippi IMHO. Either that or the Rio Grande.

  6. I love princesses, and I love that there is a princess book out there that can hold its own against the stereotypes. Princesses shouldn't only be for pink and fluff!

  7. I didn't love The Kiss of Deception, at least not until that last third! I really wanted to love it from the start, mind you, but I just couldn't really get on board with the lull where it was Lia trying to figure out her feelings when it came to the romance. GAH. But then it all changed and I was hooked -- and now I need to know how book two plays out.


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