Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Kindle Edition: 492 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.
Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.
“If one can’t be trusted in love, one can’t be trusted in anything. Some things can’t be forgiven.”
I didn’t know what to expect the first time I picked up The Kiss of Deception. I hadn’t read the synopsis or any of the reviews. All I knew about the book was it was supposedly fantasy and Goodreads had recommended It. I dove in headfirst.
It wasn’t until I was half way through the novel that I noticed the shtick. You see, this book is based around a love triangle. The reader is supposed spend the first half of the novel trying to figure out which of Lia’s admirers is the assassin and which is the jilted prince. Since I hadn’t read the reviews, I didn’t notice the game. My brain just filled in the holes and kept on going. So, when I got to the big reveal I dropped the book, confused. I immediately went to Goodreads trying to figure out why the suitors had suddenly swapped identities. I must have misread something, right? Wrong. I played the game without even knowing it, and I lost. I had never been so caught off guard by a twist. The shock of the twist is what propelled me through the rest of the book.
Now I have read the book a second time, and I am sorry to say that it doesn’t have the same impact the second time around. It’s all about the shtick, the question, the game. Since I already knew the answer, I was left with a fantasy-lite romance, where very little happens until the big reveal. One the true identities of Rafe and Kaden come to light the pace picks up a little, but not much. I was really hoping for more action and less mooning over boys.
It was nice to see that, while Lia was moony over her prince and her assassin, she does get quite a bit of character development. The more you read from her perspective, the more you feel like she is becoming who she is supposed to be. Between learning to use her gift and deciphering ancient texts, Lia becomes someone I would want to know. She’s not just running away from a marriage anymore, she’s running toward knowledge and answers.
Kaden also gets a fair bit of character development, though most of it occurs in the second half of the book after we have danced around his true identity for about two hundred pages. No, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it and tell you if he is the swoon worthy prince or the swarthy assassin. You’ll have to read to find out. What I can tell you is that he comes into his own as this book progresses, which may be because it is easier to develop a character once their defining traits are public knowledge. Unfortunately, Rafe did not get the same amount of development.
My suggestion is that you read this book knowing that the game exists. Play it, and have fun. Gobble up the interesting fantasy-lite setting that Pearson has written. Then put this book aside and don’t pick it back up. Move forward to Heart of Betrayal where the shtick has been forgotten and the characters can truly shine.