Book Review: The Kiss of Deception

Posted July 20, 2014 by Kara in book review / 3 Comments

Book Review: The Kiss of DeceptionThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on July 8th, 2014
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

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 the first book in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles.

Have you ever read a book that annoyed the hell out of you and yet you could not put it down, it was so fun to read?  The Kiss of Deception is that book for me.  The parts that I disliked (the romance, the weird characterization of, well, EVERYONE) didn’t overshadow the parts that I enjoyed (Lia, the world-building.)  There were plenty of eye-roll moments, but all in all, this was an exciting, fun first installment of a series I will for sure be following.

I really liked Lia.  I thought she was great. She had a fiery temper and she was funny.  She was genuine and caring and hardworking.  I loved that instead of acting like a spoiled princess, she could have been anyone – she was just a normal girl.  And when she and Pauline started working at the inn, she took on her chores earnestly.  However much I liked her, though, I didn’t really understand her.  It takes a LOT of balls to run away from your wedding, and even more so if your wedding is a royal one that is joining two warring countries together in a peace treaty.  I know that Lia’s life has basically been mapped out for her, as with pretty much all royalty, but it takes a certain type of person to just run out on the eve of their wedding.  I guess I just didn’t feel her desperation.  We started the story after she already made the decision.  Also, while I thought her temper was snappy and quick, sometimes it was out of control.  I’ve never met anyone who thought it was okay to scream and growl at someone just because they didn’t take to your flirting.  Her reactions were way out of proportion to what was actually happening.  All that said, I did very, very much LIKE her, don’t get me wrong.  She has all the qualities that we all love in our heroines: self sufficiency, kindness, sarcasm.

I think my favorite character, though, was Pauline.  Pauline was Lia’s maid, I guess, when they still lived in the royal palace.  She ran away with Lia and took them to her hometown.  I loved that Pauline was so true to Lia; she was such a great friend to her in every way.  I think a lot of people in the book overlooked her, but she was strong and courageous and just plain cool in her own right.  I really hope we get to see more of her in the next book.  Basically, the entire female cast was awesome, even Berdi and Gwyneth.  They were diverse in their personalities and together formed a sisterhood that you don’t typically see in YA.  I know I say that a lot, but girl-on-girl hate in YA is a problem, but this book adds nothing to it.  Instead, they form friendships and bonds.

However, there were tertiary characters that I could tell I was supposed to care about but simply just didn’t. View Spoiler »  It’s not enough to tell me a character matters – you have to show me.  And for more than just a few pages.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with Kaden, Rafe, the romance, and the POVs that weren’t Lia’s.  These boys had no personality whatsoever.  I’m honestly not ever sure what the point was of giving them their own chapters.  They sounded exactly alike and it took me a little while sometimes to figure out who I was reading.  And they were sooooo boring.  Seriously, each chapter from one of the boys’ points of view was ALL ABOUT LIA.  Like they no other thoughts in their heads at all, even though one is a deadly assassin and the other is a crown prince.  Instead of being about themselves, their chapters squarely focused on how wonderful Lia was.  It was just so ridiculous, it made my blood boil.  And don’t even get me started on the Not Like Other Girls bullshit that filled each page.

HOWEVER.  Despite my anger and the boys’ useless chapters and the love triangle that never was, the world-building made this book.   Throughout the book there are excerpts of the holy texts and other things like that.  There are small clues hidden in the landmarks and the artifacts and the religious stories.  And I have a theory that perfectly aligns with my dear friend, Jessie’s.  I think this is a post-apocalyptic fantasy.  Hear me out:  “A world reborn,” the City of Dark Magic is obviously Las Vegas, Golgata Bridge has to be the Golden Gate bridge.  There are SO MANY CLUES, even the origin story of the world and Morrighan.  THIS is what had me flipping the pages like a crazy person.  I HAVE TO KNOW I AHVE TO AKHFPKNOW.

AND THE WRITING.  So beautiful, so engaging, so easy to read.  I know that easy-to-read is often the hardest to write, and Mary E Pearson probably exhausted herself in writing something that just flowed as wonderfully as this did.  The descriptive passages of Terravin were just lovely. She brought us into the world through all of our senses and I felt completely immersed in Morrighan.

Look, this isn’t the perfect book.  But is IS a romp.  This book was so much fun to read.  It’s nice every once in a while to indulge yourself in something like the love triangle here, where the boys just couldn’t get their minds off of Lia.  It was fun to watch a princess learn the meaning of hard work.  And there are THINGS AFOOT.  The Kiss of Deception makes reading fun.  There are some sad (really sad) scenes, but there are also a lot of uplifting and funny and wild scenes.  The descriptions are beautiful; and Lia was awesome.

bekka

summer-bingo

This book covers the Sky on Cover square on my Bookish Bingo Card.

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