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 audiobook in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles
Mary E. Pearson is the NYT bestselling and award-winning author of eleven YA novels and one novella. Her works include the completed trilogy, The Remnant Chronicles, which in a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly called “masterfully crafted.” Her favorite activities as a child were climbing tall trees imagining she was a hero in some fantastical world, or running along fence tops and roofs pretending she was a spy with a bagful of amazing gadgets. She was rarely herself. Amazingly, she never broke a bone until she caught a basketball in gym class. Catching real balls was not her forte. These days she continues to live in make-believe worlds she creates in her books. Her latest 2-book series, Dance of Thieves, allows her do all kinds of dangerous things without breaking any bones. So far. You can learn more about Mary and her books at www.marypearson.com
I present you a short version of the book: Kiss of Deception: A Greek Dramedy. A Dramedy, not to be confused with a dromedary, because a dromedary only has one hump. This story has two humps. THAT'S RIGHT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A FUCKING LOVE TRIANGLE.
The entire play can be set on one stage with almost no scenery changes because I swear to fucking god nothing fucking happens in this book. It is not a high fantasy when the main character spends the entire fucking half of the book pretending to be a serving maid, daydreaming, and trying to decide which of two mysterious strangers she likes more.
Every Greek play has a Chorus. Here, the Chorus is me, Khanh. Wearing a blanket over my head because I don't have a white bathrobe. Also, I'm at work, and even in my cubicle, they'd probably frown upon me wearing a bathrobe, however chill my boss is.
Khanh: Greek Chorus. Close enough.
Lia: a lovely young 17-year old Princess of a generic High Fantasy Kingdom
Pauline: her devoted maidservant who is devoted to devoting her job and devoting her life to her princess
The Assassin: the fucking moron sent to kill Lia, who can't do his fucking job!
The Prince: the prince who got jilted by Lia when she runs away, he pursues her only to fall further in love with her!
Act I: Lia: I am a princess! I am rebellious! I am worthless! It is my wedding day and I'm going to run away because I can't bear to be trapped in a marriage that will secure the peace between the two nations and I think my future husband is going to be a hideous old douchebag!
Pauline: You're right, my lady!
Chorus: He probably smells, too!!! But what about the peace?!
Lia: Let's run away after completely ruining a centuries-old gown and completely disregarding all tradition! Screw my family! Screw them, I say!
Pauline: Whatever you say, my lady! I will abandon my position, risk my life, abandon my long-time love, Mikael, leave everything I have ever known behind in order to fulfill your wish!
Chorus: That's a bit much, don't you think?
Lia and Pauline: Nay! We're running away right now! *hops on horses and rides off*
Chorus: This is a high fantasy!
Act II: The Assassin: I am an assassin! I will find Princess Lia! I will kill her, because it's my motherfucking job!
The Prince: I am a prince! The prince who was supposed to marry Lia. I am neither old, decrepit, or smelly! I will only chase after Lia because I have to. Falling in love is totally out of the question.
Chorus: But do you smell?
The Prince: No!
The Assassin: Oh, hi, random stranger, fancy meeting you here.
The Prince: Oh, yo, man. What are you doing in these neck of the woods?
The Assassin: Just chilling, man, you know. Wanna travel together?
The Prince: Sure, let's find an inn in a small town and be roomies.
Chorus: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! HOW THE FUCK DID YOU GUYS FIND EACH OTHER WITHIN 2 CHAPTERS?
The Prince and the Assassin: Shut up.
Act III: Lia: We've arrived! There are barbarians on the road, and we are two sheltered young woman who have never ventured outside of the palace before, but somehow we've magically made it there safely, eluding everyone pursuing us and leaving no clues as to where we've gone!
Pauline: Yes, my lady! You're so smart, my lady! You're so brave, my lady!
Chorus: How the fuck?!
Lia: Now we are going to settle ourselves down in a small seaside town, and I will pretend to be a waitress, never having waited on anyone in my entire life.
Pauline: Whatever you say, my lady.
Lia: I'm going to be a waitress at an inn like I've been doing it my whole life!
Pauline: You shit roses, my lady!
Chorus: THIS IS A HIGH FANTASY!
Lia: But hark, what are these two handsome young gentleman over there, a "fisherman" and a "farmer?!" Such handsome young men. So sleek! So refined! It's like they're not who they claim to be at all!
The Assassin: *steps aside for a monologue* I can't kill her. One glimpse at her and she has stolen my soul, and I'm not even 10% into the book yet ;_;
Chorus: DUDE, YOU'VE KNOWN HER FOR 5 SECONDS.
The Prince: *steps aside for a monologue* She is lovely! Such spirit! I have never seen the likes of it! Whoever thought she could be so special, so different! This is the girl I had hoped never to marry?! I'm in love! I'm driven mad with hunger!
Chorus: DUDE, YOU'VE KNOWN HER FOR 5 SECONDS.
The Assassin and the Prince: *together* Sup, guuuuuuuuuurl!
Chorus: GUYS, THIS IS A HIGH FANTASY!!!!!!!!!
Act IV: Lia: I'm a waitress! *giggles*
Pauline: You poop rainbows, my lady!
Lia: Look at me, waitressing! *laughs*
Pauline: I will lick your feet, my lady!
Lia: Look at me, pouring all these beers!
Pauline: So brilliantly poured, my lady!
Chorus: Can't you do something else? THIS IS A HIGH FANTASY
Pauline: Shut up! Don't listen to her, my lady!
Lia: Look at me!!!!!! I'm carrying plates to people's tables! *smiles widely*
Chorus: SERIOUSLY, IT'S BEEN ALMOST HALF THE FUCKING BOOK. DO SOMETHING.
Lia: I am! I'm a waitress in a small seaside town!
Pauline: I'll wear your used menstrual pads as shoes, my lady!
The Assassin: Lia, you're an uptight bitch!
The Prince: *smiles gently at Lia from afar*
Lia: Let's pick berries together!
Chorus: YOU'RE SERIOUSLY PICKING BERRIES IN THE FOREST?! THIS IS A HIGH FANTASY!
Lia: That's not all I'm doing! I'm not just picking berries...I'm....
Lia & Chorus: A WAITRESS
Chorus: OK, I GET IT. BERRIES. BERRIES!!!!!
Pauline: You're doing great, my lady!
Chorus: THIS IS A HIGH FANTASY?!
Lia: I'm a waitress! Look at me waiter! Wait, is that the right word? *laughs*
The Prince: You're so charming, Lia!
The Assassin: Wait a minute, I'm an assassin! I'm going to assassinate her! And by that, I mean I'm going to slowly fall in love with her!
Chorus: YOU'RE AN ASSASSIN!
Lia: Watch me! I'm a waitress! It's so hard! *laughs*
Pauline: You're doing wonderfully, my lady!
Lia: I'm a waitress! Look at me!
Pauline: You're a natural, my lady!
Lia: I'm a waitress! Look at me wash dishes!
Pauline: Fantastic, my lady!
Chorus: I FUCKING GIVE UP
Lia: Wait, already? But...but you don't even know what happens to me!!!!!!!! Between now and the end of the book, I'm probably going to sprout magical powers out of nowhere, fall in love, and then save a country, ALL WHILE BEING A WAITRESS IN A SEASIDE TOWN. Don't you want to stick around and find out?
Chorus: NO. *PUNCHES LIA IN THE FACE*
The end. Because I say so.
DNF at 50%, in case I didn't make that very clear.
“Is he the first boy you ever kissed?” I asked “Who says I’ve kissed him?” Pauline replied mischievously. We both laughed. Girls of the royal staff were not supposed to indulge in such unrestrained behaviours. “Well, if you were to kiss him, what do you think it would be like?”
I have a question - who cares?
Ugh, this book. I rarely give much weight to fantasy titles. They're almost always called "dramatic word of dramatic word" or "dramatic word and dramatic word", but I realize in hindsight that I should have paid attention to The Kiss of Deception because, I kid you not, this book is all about kissing. And while I'm not overly concerned with the conventions of genre, I'm amazed that anyone can consider this a fantasy.
Lie #1: This book is fantasy. If some very vague mentions of a kingdom and some very vague mentions of special powers add up to fantasy world-building for you, then you probably won't have a problem with this book. Because that is all you're going to get from this.
I imagine some people will think I'm exaggerating when I say that this book really is all about the MC's boy issues, her maid's boy issues, and the boys in question, and we are supposed to imagine that there is a complex fantasy world existing in the background - but I am not exaggerating at all. If you thought Throne of Glass or Shadow and Bone were fantasy-lite, then this is fantasy-zero (no sugar, no calories, tastes like ass).
Lie #2: Things actually happen. No, they do not. The plot opens with Princess Lia escaping an arranged marriage along with her maid. The escape itself is also very vague because I guess it would be inconvenient to have to explain how a princess who is kept on a very tight leash manages to escape a supposedly heavily-guarded palace.
She runs away to a little seaside town and becomes a waitress, does laundry and waits for her prince to come. No, really, there are pages and pages of this:
Putting the laundry up to dry didn’t prove any easier than washing it. After hanging a whole basket of sheets and standing back to admire my work, a stiff wind came along and sprang them all loose, sending my wooden pegs flying in different directions like mad grasshoppers.
It was so so boring. And I bet you're still thinking I'm exaggerating and that there were actually things happening in the background (royal politics, drama, etc.) because of course this book can't really be about a waitress and a love triangle, right? Wrong!
Lie #3: Things make sense. Firstly, the prince that Lia runs away from also felt tied to the marriage and didn't want it. So what does he do? He decides to go after Lia because she was brave enough to run away. What the fuck? Why is he following her? He got out of the marriage he didn't want!
Secondly - wow, weird coincidence that the prince bumps into the assassin sent to kill Lia just outside of the inn where she's working. And they're both just like "hey, nice to meet ya, let's go for a pint". But this paves way for the dramatic moment when Lia looks up and - oh my! - two handsome strangers walk into the inn at the same time. I don't think it's meant to be amusing but it reminded me of that moment in Mamma Mia when the three dads all turn up at the same time.
Lie #4: There is an assassin. Actually, the only thing killer about this assassin is his smirk. But really he's just a boy who can't do his job. He has hundreds of opportunities to assassinate Lia but he doesn't because he's too busy going googly-eyed and thinking about kissing her.
Hi face drew nearer, and I felt his breath on my skin. “I want to pull you close and never let you go,” he whispered.
Sometimes enemy-turned-lover romances are hot but it's just a joke here because he DOESN'T EVEN TRY. Ever. Even in the beginning when he first meets her.
There is only one truth told by this boring book and it's the title - The Kiss of Deception. It is, indeed, the perfect title. Because this book is deceiving and it's all about kisses.
“It’s not every day one has a first kiss,” I said. “May I remind you that it wasn’t your first kiss?” “It felt like it was. It was the first one that mattered.”
Okay, that may be overstating things only slightly (there were a couple of tiny things I took issue with) but I think it fair to overlook those small things in this case. Especially considering how unfair, reactionary and very nearly malicious I think some of the top-rated reviews for this book here on Goodreads are.
Warning: strong opinions incoming!
I want to start out here by apologizing for what's to come. I was a bit heated while I wrote it and tried to go back after a time and pare it down a bit so as not to offend.
It's just that I was so surprised when I finished this book and rushed to Goodreads to look through the reviews from the community only to find a spate of top-rated one star reviews awaiting me and every other person who ever looks this book up.
This is NOT a one-star book.
To imply that it is when you have thousands of people who look to you for guidance should be criminal, or at the very least, frowned highly upon by the community at large and the people that actually did read this book.
I have to wonder as to the state of mind of that particular reviewer when they read it and reviewed it. Were they in a reading slump? Are they fans of the fantasy genre? Were they looking outside of their own personal feelings about love-triangles or female main characters as they read? Were they critically examining the structure of the prose when they determined that the book was only worthy of one star??
Were they considering the damage they do when they have a large following and rate a book that is well written but did not meet their own personal preferences expectations only one star?
When I think of the thousands of readers out there that would otherwise have loved this book, but were turned off of it by these reviews, my heart literally aches. This is how we end up with 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight people!
This is how we get books devoid of emotion and heart. Books that are poorly written and full of smirking love interests with smoldering eyes that have weak-ass main characters flopping back and forth between their convictions and their love of boys. Books that we have read a thousand times before and will read again.
It's one thing to DNF a book and make that clear within a concise review as to why the book just didn't work for you. It's another thing entirely to deliver a scathing and extremely long review about said book to your thousands of followers and then point out at the very bottom in an offhanded manner that you didn't actually finish reading it after you've finished humiliating a person who took time and energy to write it.
I'm not saying that we can't all have opinions, or that this book is perfect, but to overlook ALL of the many positives within it and potentially turn off everyone who sees your review in the future is so unfair to the author, the genre and the readers who follow you. when there are WAY WORSE written books out there.
Yes, there's a love triangle in it but if we're being honest about it: It is extremely understated and this is also one of the rare cases in which a love triangle actually WORKS! Those of you who know me, also know that I am the biggest opponent of love triangles in YA fiction. My last review actually railed against them completely. That being said, even I could bear the one here because it works so well within this story. Not to mention that it is almost fully resolved by the very end due to Lia's character arc.
And yes, Lia starts off in the cliche fantasy princess role, but lets also not overlook the fact that she experiences a ton of growth. The character at the end of the book is entirely changed from the naive and idealistic teen she starts out as, and that's the point. The whole novel is proliferated by the thematic idea that events larger than ourselves destroy who think we are and change us into someone new. She had to start where she did or her arc wouldn't have worked.
But sure, lets rail against this book and give it one star because it has a princess in it.
Also, the prose in this book is incredibly beautiful. Pearson has such a command of language. Every word is included for a reason. It's flowery, but never to the point of becoming purple prose. Instead, each word works together to create a rich and beautiful world that I fell in love with. This is one of my favorite fantasy world I've read in recent months.
I see some of the reviews complaining that the book wasn't magical enough for fantasy, all the while overlooking the fact that Pearson, with her striking command of language and insidiously delivered worldbuilding talents was the true magician here.
The one thing I wanted more of in this book was more of a backstory for some of the ancillary characters around the 3 main characters, but I'm willing to overlook my own personal preferences in order to give this book a score that's a tad more realistic, if we're being honest.
★★★★★ = 4.5 stars & a new favorite for me!
_______________________________ See this review, and more like it on my blog: Book Bastion
I must admit, I've never read a book by Mary E. Pearson. So when Kristen practically forced her copy on me (hehe), I was all:
And then I got to chapter 2, and it was on.
Not only is Lia fierce and determined not to be pushed into a marriage she does not desire, but her friend and lady's maid is just as awesome.
I don't know if Pearson always writes such strong-willed female characters, but I am impressed. Not just with those characters, though...with everything.
The setting. The writing. The transitions between points of view. And there were several of them. All:
And as the story wore on, I found myself captivated, reading it anywhere and everywhere I could.
Then I found that I couldn't put the book down.
But when I got to page 300 or so:
I did a bit of this:
But then as I absorbed it all:
I can't say that the second half was lacking because my anticipation was still through the roof,
but it almost seemed like two separate stories after that point. Before: historical fantasy.
After: a quest-like fantasy, through the unyielding desert...
with the possibility of some magic.
I say possibility because, well, I haven't seen any true magic yet. But I sense it.
A love triangle that isn't
Log wrestling...but with ruggedly handsome men over a mud pit ;0)
All in all, this book was
And I think that it ended at the best possible moment, even if the wait for the next book is going to kill me. _________________________________
The Kiss of Deception is actually my first experience with a Mary E. Pearson book. I think the science-y medical and ethical issues in the plot kept me away from The Adoration of Jenna Fox initially, but having taken a glimpse at the synopsis again, I can't really say exactly why. I love a good, introspective amnesia story, so I'll have to give that series a try soon, especially considering how much I loved this fantasy story from the author. And her characters. Gawd, those characters!
Lia is a formidable heroine. She is fierce and determined and willing to do the unthinkable to escape a life she does not want, including running from an arranged marriage. I can definitely get behind a protagonist like that, especially as she continues to grow over the course of the novel. She also has good taste in friends. Lia's lady's maid and dearest friend sticks with her through thick and thin, and she just may be the Princess's saving grace when all is said and done.
The first half of this novel spent a good deal of time introducing us to the characters and it felt more like a historical fantasy novel, which is pretty much what I expected based on the cover and the summary for the book. However, I did not expect the turn the novel would take about halfway through the story. The setting and the story abruptly changed, and it became more of a quest. But the transition to this aspect of the story and the deception that led there is handled phenomenally by the author. Things got a bit chaotic there for a bit, but I loved every second of it. It was shocking, surprising, and I found much of it to be entirely unpredictable, much to my own delight. The writing was just fantastic, and there was no way I was going to be able to put the book down after that.
This novel is actually rather brilliant. There's mention of magic but little to be seen of it. There's a day of sporting events that culminates in a bout of log-wrestling, which is just all kinds of genius. There are gypsies and vagabonds and vagrants of all sorts. And there is a bit of a love triangle that I didn't find distracting in the least because of how the characters are written. It does get a tad messy toward the end with no resolution, but that's the least of our girl's worries at that point. And I honestly don't think you should worry about the "love triangle" either because it's mostly nonexistent. Mostly.
At the heart of the story, I think the issue is who do you trust when no one is supposed to know who you are but practically everyone does? And moreover, most of those people aren't overly concerned with your well-being. Of course, Lia is unaware for most of the book that her life is in any real danger, though she knows there are people searching for her after she ran away from her wedding. That's probably the biggest deception of the story: her perceived safety, especially when it comes to the two men who've worked their way into her heart. It's also one of my favorite aspects of the story: not knowing who is who and what their intentions are.
It's books like this and The Winner's Curse that have reaffirmed my fanaticism for fantasy stories. I've read some real duds lately, but I think I'm finally out of that rut, thank goodness, thanks to books like these. Granted, I'm now craving some sequels like never before, but I survived the waiting with The Girl of Fire and Thrones series, and I know I'll survive this wait, too. (BTW, if you liked those books, you'll more than likely love this one, too. Just sayin'.) If you don't have this book on your TBR, you should remedy that immediately. It's full of adventure, romance, and betrayal, all of which obviously make it a captivating fantasy novel. I can't recommend it enough, and I'm actually already considering a re-read, if that tells you anything about my adoration for this book.
Be sure to check out my stop on the blog tour on July 7th!
GIF it to me straight: Just absolutely phenomenal!
Imma need a mani after this book, because it sure was a nail bitter! Whoosh.
Pretty sure by now you all know what the big hook of this book is; you have no idea who the assassin is and who the prince is. I'll let you in on a little secret, I tried to guess and guessed wrong.
This story goes between switching Povs with Lia, Rafe, Kaden, the assassin, and the Prince. I'm becoming more and more a fan of switching views in stories, and this story is an added reason to why. Mary Pearson did an excellent job in seamlessly switching back and forth while leaving us little bread crumbs of evidence to which guy was which. Even with her little trails I was still guessing up until the last minute.
Now lets put our gloves on and really get down in it... Lia's character isn't a fighter but boy does she have a way with words. She is all sass all the time. Telling guys off is what she commands at. She does a lot of putting tough guys in their places, and I support this. She even threatens to have a few men become a little less manly if you catch my drift...
There are several hints that ya girl may or may not have some kind of ancient super power... I say hint because it's never reviled if she does or doesn't. I love that Lia takes to working hard and not just laying around. I love that she's willing to give away everything at a chance to live a life of her own choosing. Even though there are a few times when her whole "which mysterious boy should I choose" thing gets a little overdone I can still stand behind her... That being said guess we should talk about that love triangle the story is based around. I both loved and hated it. There's Rafe and then there's Kaden. Yup, That's pretty much all I can say about them without giving anything away... Oh but they are both super hotties! (swoon especially one of them *wink wink*) Okay, okay I wont do that to you, I'll try to give you a little more.
Both boys made an impression on me right away. Rafe with his strength and bold choices, and persistence. Then Kaden with his sweet ways and kind heart. Now that I think about it I don't know if I would really call it a love triangle. I guess I would say they are both love interest.
The second half of this book is WAY stronger than the first. Lia starts to really figure out who she wants to be and how she wants people to see her. There is a grave digging scene in this book and it's really what put me on team Lia. It is beautiful and probably my favorite part of the whole story. Now you're probably thinking "wtf? why is she digging a grave?!" THE SUSPENSE!!!
When things finally do start to come to light the story makes a really strong pull to the finish. Oh and of course I shouldn't fail to mention that I loved the cliffhanger and romance that wraps this story up!
There are two reasons I didn't give it a higher rating, 1) Is the cover. Yes it's beautiful BUT I hate when there's a person on the covers then they don't match the character descriptions. Lia is said it have dark hair and the girl on the cover has dirty blonde hair and 2) I felt at some point the writing was a little repetitive and felt like it was just used to fill up some space. Like sometimes less is more. Can't freaking wait to get a hold of book two
Watching my brother pick his nose would have been a more useful way to spend my time rather than on this pitiful excuse of a "fantasy" novel. If fantasy books are gross insta love with annoying as fuck love triangles and an assassin who can't get his job done because his little dick keeps getting in the way then I'm OUT.
You know, I actually liked the beginning. And I actually liked a little bit of the end. I just finished rewatching season 3 of TLA, which is why I was in a good mood, but that doesn't excuse the rest of this boring, annoying, and absolutely petty plot.
There's literally just a runaway princess who wants to start a fresh life and not be used in a political marriage and then she meets two guys who we need to figure out whether they're the prince or the assassin. And they both like her and she likes them too and then blah blah blah I stopped giving a fuck at that point because hey, I don't fucking care about her lovey dovey love triangle issues!! :)
I was so worked up trying to figure out who was who. Was Kaden the assassin? Or was it Rafe? Was Kaden the prince? Or could Rafe be the prince? That held my attention for the first hundred or so pages but then *surprise* I couldn't find another fuck to give anymore!!! Because, nothing was happening!!! Nothing actually happens until the last couple of pages, which were also, *surprise* boring as fuck and *surprise* I didn't find a third fuck to give about it!!!
Princess Lia is a character that was literally more duller and lifeless than my personality. My friends said that she goes through an amazing character development from the beginning to the end of the book, but I felt nothing?? I don't exactly hate her character, but I just feel nothing for her because she is literally so non existent to me. She's a ghost.
The assassin was a big wimp. This guy was sent to kill Lia, but wait, his dick had other plans!!!! At first sight!!!!!!! An assassin sent to kill the girl, but falls in love with her?? Doesn't really sound that bad, actually! And the author could have pulled it off, but *surprise* the author chose insta lurveee and just no, goodbye.
The prince was so bland as well. Well, all the characters actually, but he was even more pettier than the assassin!! Insta loveeeeeeeeee and no romance development and bye, off to the shark tank you go.
I'm literally never following my dreams again because they just want me to read bad books and suffer.
Edit after a night of sleep: OK, I think I liked the book, but I'm not sure. I mean, I enjoyed most of it but there were some things that just NO, like the fact that the two guys fell in love with Lia in like 6 seconds after meeting her! It felt a little like "insta-love" to me :/. And also, the romance was pretty rushed and forced, idk.
What I really liked was that the author totally got me! My guess wasn't right on who was the prince and who was the assasin, and when the assasin reveals himself I was like WAIT WHAT WHO WHEN OMG. And I kinda also like the Vendans, oops.
When someone shoves a book in my face and tells me it's high fantasy, I expect a few things.
1. A thought-out plot 2. Worldbuilding 3. Characters with brains 4. Good writing
According to my checklist, this book is not a high fantasy. It's a.... *checks notes* hastily put-together, jumbled mess of trite tropes traditionally categorized as fantasy. So.
1. A thought-out plot
Princess Lia, terrified of being forced into an arranged marriage, runs away to live a peaceful life by the sea. Because no one will be able to track her. Not even the King's soldiers. And obviously no one in the peaceful town by the sea knows what the missing princess looks like. Nothing about this plan could go wrong. Nothing... at all...
Enter the Prince and the Assassin, who just happened to show up at the same peaceful town by the sea, *the convenience is painful* searching for Lia. The Prince isn't old or decrepit like she was afraid of - he's handsome (oh wow, who would have ever thought). Lo and behold, the Assassin isn't too bad to look at, either! Could... there be... a love triangle? Could... both men... fall in love with Lia? *suspense*
This is the plot up to 15%. And after that, here's what happens.
1. Lia does laundry 2. Lia chops onions 3. Lia bemoans her fate, because how could she possibly choose between the prince and the assassin? There are definitely no other, more important things to worry about.
I'm not joking. This is the entire plot after 15%. *sigh*
This is supposed to be fantasy. I think. But there's no worldbuilding; just a vague semblance of it.
What I'm given is a bunch of random terms shoved in my face. Of which I remember approximately zero. Because there's no context at all, just names. One might have thought a fantasy novel needed a world...
3. Characters with brains
The characterization in this book is sooo sloppy. It's like a copy-paste of every other 2000s YA fantasy.
We have Lia, who is exactly like every protagonist out there. She risks the peace between nations because she's worried that the prince might be ugly. And she ruins a perfectly good family heirloom while doing it. She's so predictable that I can guess every thing that comes out of her mouth, and I'm alarmingly good at it.
We have Pauline, Lia's maid, who throws away her perfectly comfortable life with a perfectly kind man to run away with some teenager who has no idea what she's doing. And then she has the nerve to say that this man "will know where she is no matter where she goes," because he "knows her like no other." Excuse me?
We have the Assassin (I lowkey forgot his name), who is also the worst killer in the entire history of killers. He's supposed to murder Lia, because she's risking the peace between kingdoms. But the moment he looks into her ~gorgeous eyes,~ he's lost to lurve. And suddenly he doesn't want to kill her, because she's like no other girl he's ever met before... *gags*
We have the Prince (haha, forgot his name too), who is just... he doesn't exist to me. He has absolutely no personality. I don't even know what to say about him because he's as shallow as a puddle. There's no character complexity here.
4. Good writing
This was just alarmingly, painfully bad. Everything is told straight to my face. There's no depth. And the dialogue is horrible and cheesy and predictable.
I also found a number of plot holes. Lia and Pauline escape too easily, especially since two kingdoms are counting on them. They basically steal a horse and gallop away into the sunset.
And then they ride their horse through a stream to "conceal their tracks." *snorts* A horse is HEAVY. There is MUD at the bottom of a stream. And WATER PLANTS. Smashing water plants and stirring up mud and probably breaking your horse's leg by making it walk over stones is not going to help you at all. But Lia gets all happy because she's being so "clever." And Pauline's like "my lady, you are truly intelligent. So majestic."
The descriptions were lazy, the pacing was so off, and their entire escape sequence was two pages long. It felt so hastily put-together, as if the editing team just fell asleep in the middle of reading this over. I don't blame them. I would be asleep, too.
Let's talk about first impressions: they are IMPORTANT.
If, for example, you start reading a new book, and the first glimpses you get of ALL THREE main characters are less than flattering, you might be tempted to toss said book aside in disgust and hope the next one goes better.
Yes. You might.
And in this situation, I would not blame you.
So here's the deal: I'm not one of those the-less-romance-the-better types. I'm the opposite, in fact. In most cases, a book completely devoid of romance is a book I will almost certainly find lacking. That being said, I don't like romance tossed in willy nilly, b/c this book needs romance, so, "Hey! You two over there! Yeah, you! Make googly eyes at each other. I don't care if it doesn't make sense, just do it! Thaaaat's it, muuuuuchhh better."
In fantasy, one of the most common ways for romance to play out is the Arranged Marriage scenario. Neither party is happy about it, but something IMPORTANT is at stake, so two self-sacrificing souls agree to wed for the greater good. Then, despite the obvious unfairness of their situation, stuff happens, they fall in love, and they live HEA.
And this makes you happy, b/c SELF-SACRIFICE.
But what if Princess is a narcissistic little brat who not only runs away from her arranged marriage, but drags one of her good friends along with her? Who cares that the only way to ensure the safety of her family and the general population in the face of a barbarian invasion is to keep with tradition and unite her family with Prince's family, b/c NEITHER family has the strength to survive alone?
Not Princess. *frowns*
And not only does she not care, she laughs ALL THE TIME. Ah-ha-ha-ha laughs. Like Keira Knightley ruining Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. "Running away equals TREASON to my hard-case father, who had my cousin hanged for desertion, and buried him in an unmarked grave along with his mother (hard-case father's SISTER), who threw herself off a cliff in despair."
Oh, and Prince only agrees to the marriage b/c his father tells him he can take a mistress.
And don't even get me started on Reluctant Assassin.<------if you're going to be an assassin, you need to frickin' OWN IT.
BUT despite ALL of that, I kept reading. And it got better.
Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn recently used the term "grab-bag" in one of his reviews, and I'm totally stealing it, b/c that's exactly what's going on here. We've got corrupt advisers to the monarch, a foreign, misunderstood queen who keeps IMPORTANT secrets from her daughter, gypsy caravans, a too-young soldier who bonds with his captive, a grizzled, veteran mentor, etc.
Oh, and there's also a TIGER. Can't forget about the (random) tiger.
So what's Princess doing now that she's the master of her own destiny?
Working at an inn as a barmaid. YEP. Freedom RAWKS. And it seems like she'd be content to stay there doing honest work forever, but that would be boring, so a Bad Thing happens that probably could have been avoided if she hadn't run away from her responsibilities, so of course she blames herself (b/c it's her fault), and she resolutely decides to return home, leaving behind the "farmhand" she's fallen in love with.
And it all goes downhill from there. The situation, not the story. The story, despite it's lack of anything new or original, is surprisingly entertaining, and I'll probably read the next book--who knows what bits and pieces will be thrown together in the next installment, right?
I'd recommend this book to anyone who isn't a termagant like I am, who thinks it's ridiculous to place the responsibilities of two kingdoms on the shoulders of a teenager.
This book is a re-read so I can continue on with the trilogy and I liked it the first time around but I loved it this time! Woot!
I loved this book, the atmosphere, the characters, the settings and the descriptions.
Lia is a strong character who decides she wants to live life her way and runs away with Pauline on her wedding day. Lia's family wanted to set her up in an arranged marriage to keep the peace, but it seemed to me they were already in a war regardless so I'm not sure how it would have played out. Lia had written a letter to the Prince for a meeting before their wedding, I think if this would have happened she would not have been so hateful about the idea, and of course, we wouldn't have had a book!
Lia and Pauline had a wonderful time working at an Inn/pub owned by Berdi. She didn't mind keeping the Princess hidden away as long as she worked etc. I loved the ambiance of the Inn/Pub and town.
There are assassins sent out after Lia and the Prince himself comes to find her. I was thinking the whole time, well he waits until she runs away to come to see her. Men! :)
So you have Rafe and Kaden, I wonder which one is the Prince. :) I loved them both but one more than the other. Swoon. Lol. There are other characters in the book that play good characters and bad characters. I thought they were all well played out. One of Lia's brothers, Walther, puts in a couple of appearances as well. I loved him!
There was a really sad part almost half-way through the book
And right at the end, an even more heartbreaking moment. I really hope Lia gets them all! She's strong, she can do this!
this is an excellent 'in the moment' kind of story. i felt super present and engaged whilst reading it, but i honestly havent really thought about this once since ive finished it... which makes me kinda wonder what i actually liked about it?
im all for the whole runaway princess trope, but i wasnt really connecting with this particular princess. i really like both the assassin and the prince, but the ‘love triangle’ irritated me. the writing itself is pretty good, but the pacing is kinda slow and the story a little uneventful. the concept of people with gifts is interesting, but hardly any world-building explaining it is given.
so some good and some bad. this book is adequate entertainment for what it is, but nothing that will most likely have a long-lasting effect on me. i may continue the series, but only because this ends on a cliffhanger.
I forgot how much I love fantasy and this book just sparked my desire to read more. I was captivated from page one. The writing of this book swept me off my feet and transported me to Lia's world. Everything was so vivid and encompassing and every emotion displayed was so relatable that I found myself deeply enjoying the story. Lia is such a great main character. She's strong and sassy unlike the generic YA heroine. Her wit and her class, combined with her capacity to feel such emotion came off extremely appealing to me because I was able to understand her, and I really respected every single thing she did in this book; she is a true heroine with golden intentions. I found the idea of this book to be extremely compelling, and although I enjoyed the first half's suspense better than the last half, the book was filled with emotion and surprises. The only reason I docked a star is because the fantasy aspects of this book are really underdeveloped. It outlines and hints at some sort of "power" that some people can have, but the reader is never told how that works, the history of who bears these powers, and what even the powers symbolize. It was all very confusing infused with old legends and explained in made-up languages, so I hope in the next books it becomes more clear about the powers!
Hello there, instant book obsession. Hello there, instant need for sequel. Hello there, instant love for Rafe and Kaden. I welcome you all with open arms, because I brought this upon myself by reading The Kiss of Deception.
Gods above, this book is unputdownable deliciousness and it is totally worth the raves and hype. So this review won't exactly be a review -- my lips are sealed and my hands tied because I'd hate to give anything away from the glorious slow-burn and anticipation this novel sparks. I'll just be vague and I'll ramble and I'll gush and I'll fangirl. I probably won't even make much sense because I'm this close to turning into a pile of mush and I'd suggest you go with the flow and stop hunting for clues to why this book is awesome. It just is. Now I need to breathe.
“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”
The aspect that told me that I'll have a fine time reading TKoD was actually its first line. Shattering dreams and forging new ones is my guilty pleasure and when a girl manages to accomplish that by fleeing on her wedding day, to say that I'm completely enraptured would be an understatement.
This girl is strong, compassionate and unyielding. Lia, as she likes to be called, is an independent and fierce young woman who happens to be the princess of The Kingdom of Morrighan being sent off to marrying Prince of Dalbreck, a neighbor-hooding land, to set an alliance. What happens from then on is a true testament to the girl's desire for free-will and simplicity.
Her adventure is fascinating and it depicts wonderfully both the delightful and awe-inspiring elements Pearson has created in this universe, but also the sorrowful, darker and merciless ones. Coupled with an exquisite world-building that teases us with the lovely Terravin, hellish Cam Lanteux and everything in between, we are assured that the world portrayed is far from perfect and just, but also full of miracles, wonders and almost magical possibilities.
“I see only reminders that nothing lasts forever, not even greatness.” “Some things last.” I faced him. “Really? And just what would that be?” “The things that matter.”
In this regard, I have only words of approval. The spin on the fantasy the author wove through the plot sucked me right in with a teasing flavor that ensures the next installments will provide a fair amount of kick-ass developments in this area. At the same time, the mythology and historical background Pearson offered only amplified the feeling that the possibilities where this story could be taken are endless. I'm quite psyched to see what it is headed towards.
My one slight complain would be -- as obvious from my read stats -- the lack of action in the beginning. TKoD is the kind of read that keeps building and building (including the romance department, ahem) until a high note is achieved, leaving you awfully satisfied even though you didn't see a whole lot of fights and bloody corpses. The author throws you bits and pieces of violence and gut-wrenching scenes, enough to cut the story with cold, hard edges and imprint it with the necessary dangerous atmosphere. It still allows you to breathe and analyze, but somehow it traps you in and blocks every attempt at enjoying the book as a light, heartwarming story even though these nuances are present. It's still high fantasy, after all.
The topic I've avoided and I'm certain you've been waiting for -- the romance. I'm sure you've heard some things about it as I'm sure you know there's a love triangle. There is, in fact, a love triangle and I'm going to bluntly say that it is brutal. Expect deception. Expect swoons. Expect secrets. Expect stomach butterflies and sighs. Expect sexiness and intensity.
Expect everything, because with the plethora of twists (the holy shit kind; Bravo, Pearson!) you'll love both the boys vying for Lia's heart even if one of them will crush your heart in the process. The betrayal is bittersweet, somewhat understandable, because it tethers the line between love and duty and there's never an easy way to choose the one most powerful.
“And if one can’t be trusted in love,” I added, “one can’t be trusted in anything.”
However, I did pick my favorite and I'm honestly intrigued how (or whether) the author will try to sway my opinion in the follow-up, since the tables have turned and the true faces behind the masks were unveiled, leaving us judging humanly flaws dead on, which is never an easy feat.
“When I’m not with you, I wonder where you are. I wonder what you’re doing. I think about how much I want to touch you. I want to feel your skin, your hair, run every dark strand through my fingers. I want to hold you, your hands, your chin.” His face drew nearer, and I felt his breath on my skin. “I want to pull you close and never let you go”
Some other aspects I'd like to applaud would be: the presence of strong, well-defined secondary characters I haven't expected -- especially Pauline; the bravery to kill us a little by making us love a certain character we haven't deeply explored in order to have the chance to do so chopped away; the balanced pace that, considering its lulls, allowed the plotline to move along nicely and, of course, the gorgeous capability of Mary E. Pearson of weaving such an enchanting tale.
Now I honestly don't know what I'm going to do until The Heart of Betrayal comes out in a few months. I'm quite obsessed. Consumed. Bewitched. An ARC would come in handy (am I being subtle enough?).
Hopefully, you'll pick this book up and hopefully, you'll enjoy it as much as I did. The Kiss of Deception is a grand example of how a well-written novel can perfectly blend elements of original fantasy, electrifying love and thrilling stakes. In a game of hide and seek, there's a possibility you might get lost forever, but true beauty unravels when you fight with everything you've got to find the path where you belong, just like Lia -- and that's why my admiration for her story currently knows no bounds.
"Who was this girl who thumbed her nose at two kingdoms and did as she pleased?"
It seems 2017 set out to be a year of surprises for me. And if all (most?) of them are going to be as pleasant and delightful as The Kiss of Deception, bring them on.
•First of all, what I didn't expect was to be able to connect with Lia, our MC, so much and so easily. And, strange as it may seem, I don't feel like criticizing her for her decision to flee minutes before her wedding (no spoiler, it's all in the blurb): I was happy to see, for once, one heroine who dares take big risks simply for the sake of her own happiness, even though I can't deny that at that time she showed little care for her kingdom. But it was refreshing, in a way, and I sympathized with her reasons completely, and found myself absolutely unable to blame her for her lack of selflessness. In her shoes, I wonder, how many would have stayed, and how many would have fled? And if you stayed, would you do it because of your sense of duty, or because you'd be afraid of actually leaving behind the life you know? I, personally, think I would have listened to my cowardice and stayed. And if Lia had acted like this, giving in to fear, I would have liked her far, far less than, in fact, I did. So I wouldn't be so quick taking shots at her selfishness.
•In spite of her being only seventeen, at times her voice (the novel is in the first person) was able to show a maturity that surprised me -but only at times; chapter 31, for instance, is an ode to every silly and insufferable female protagonist YA novels ever had. She flirts with one trying to anger the other, almost throws a fit when the other doesn't seem to care... bah. It's as if that chapter was taken from some other (and far more childish and idiotic) book and put in this one by some editorial mistake, which is completely implausible but still more likely than the alternative -the author gave in to a whim of hers that lasted too many pages. But don't worry, because, things go back to be awesome as if this chapter had never happened--or almost so: I would have avoided making them fight Snow Like Ashes (*gags*) style. But nothing too annoying, I promise you, and even if the characters and their actions/conversations have their naive and simplistic moments here and there, everything is very enjoyable and decidedly not over-the-top irritating.
•For a bit more than half the book, we don't know who's the assassin and who's the prince! And the author showed great skill in messing with our heads and being able to lead us to think, basically, exactly what she wants us to believe. Which of course is the complete opposite of how things actually are! I think it is no mean achievement at all. Plus, I had so much fun, you really have no idea.
•And I ship them! So much!
•Cherry on top, the writing is utterly beautiful and enchanting. Every sentence flows like music, like water. It won me over almost immediately.
➽ I still have to read the next two books, obviously, but I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that if the story stays this thrilling, and if Lia keeps growing like she did even in this first installment, this could become one of my favourite series. I'll try to keep my expectations at a reasonable level, but I admit that I want the next book to blow my mind.
“It can take years to mold a dream. It takes only a fraction of a second for it to be shattered.”
Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lia never wanted to marry a prince, she didn’t even get to meet him before the wedding. So she runs away, from her responsibilities and her own family, to a little town. There she starts to have a real life with her best friend Pauline. But our past always hunts us, and so two strangers appear. But who is who? Who’s the assassin, that needs to kill the runaway princess? And who is the prince who wants to see his runaway bride-to-be? I really really liked this book. It wasn’t a five star read, it had too much romance in it, but it was still filled with a brilliant world building, secrets to unfold and enemies that could be friends and friends that could betray you.
Character ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ „Sometimes the enemy is just one person who will bring down a kingdom.“ We meet a main character, who is fierce and strong and has a stubbornness in herself, that’s filled with love for others, but also herself. She has a healthy self-consciousness and knows what is right or wrong. But still she makes mistakes, and that is fine. She’s young after all, in a far away small town filled with strangers. I especially liked her talent with languages. The Vendan language was so fascinating, I would love to speak it myself! It’s just filled with so much mystery. Kaden was by far my favorite male character. He has a soft side of him, the kind eyes and mercy. But he was still strong and loyal. Rafe was kind of the bad guy in this story. He was a little bit mean and sometimes he didn’t say the right thing. But again, that’s fine. We’re all not perfect. And Rafe isn’t either. Pauline and the others were a little bit plain, but I guess that is normal when you’re a side character that is mostly there for support.
World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ „Once upon a time, there was a man as great as the gods… But even the great can tremble with fear. Even the great can fall” Morrighan and Dalbreck were never good friends or neighbors. They always had their difficulties. But they had one thing in common - Venda, a place filled with barbaric people, their enemies. Every country has their own history, but if they all share one part - are they really that different from each other? This was by far the best thing of the whole book. The author created different countries and different languages with a touch of mystery in their history. If this was real life I would probably love to be a Vendan. Or a princess in Morrighan.
Relationships ⭐️⭐️ „Maybe there was no one way to define it. Maybe there were as many shades of love as the blues of the sky,” Ladies and gentlemen, I present you - a love triangle. 👏🏻🙈 Who will she pick? The nice and gentle one or the one that’s mean and a little bit rough sometimes? Will she pick the one that is kind or the one that is a bit mysterious? You know what? Who cares. I wanted to see how the story continues. And I saw, and I liked it. So, I’m not a fan of the love interest, but it was okay.
Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ „Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.” In this one we have three POVs, in the end four. Between the POVs of the characters, there were snips of the history of Morrighan, Dalbreck and Venda. Songs, words from a diary and poems. It was beautiful, even though the writing itself could’ve been better.
Move aside Daenerys Targaryen...a new badass princess is coming! Kings throw away your crowns. Queens start practising your curtsey. Because Princess Lia is here to show you how being royal is supposed to be done - going on a journey that will tear her apart & put her back together again as she becomes the woman she was always meant to be.
She doesn't accept lies or deception. She wants to make her own destiny. And she's so badass it's not even possible to describe the insane amounts of badass-ery this girl has. Especially that part when she faces down a bunch of barbarian assassins & tells them to basically screw themselves.
And not only does this book have a brilliantly constructed plot, a badass heroine & a fantastic world of myth & magic, but to top it all off it presents us with not one...but two gorgeous men. Although, I do think Rafe is the more attractive of the two!
So if you're ready for the adventure of a lifetime... ...be sure to grab yourself a copy when it's released! :)
FANTASTIC!! What an incredibly beautiful fantasy read with well developed world building, honor, loyalty, love, deception and romance! I absolutely loved it! 💜💜💜💜💜
This is a story of Lia, a princess who runs away on her wedding day from an arranged marriage to the prince of Delbreck. She is determined to marry only for love and not for political gain. What Lia does not expect is for the rejected prince and an assassin who is hired to kill her to follow her to the inn.
Ok, the ending does end on a cliffhanger 😬😭. Now I need to go read book two in the series! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Do you hear that? Yes, it's the sound of me crying because I am disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad book, I was just expecting so much more. I was expecting to be blown away. Oh well. Expectations are the worst, let's be real.
“It can take years to mold a dream. It takes only a fraction of a second for it to be shattered.”
As the blurb states, princess Lia escapes the day of her arranged wedding because she doesn't want to abide by traditions and she doesn't want to marry someone she doesn't know. As she's adapting to her new life, she meets two guys, Rafe and Kaden, one of them is an assassin sent to kill her and the other is the prince she was supposed to marry; however, we don't know who's who. We have to find out the identities of who's who. I actually enjoyed searching for clues to find out who's who, and I had the wrong theory until a few chapters before the reveal. Well played, Mary E. Pearson, well played!
The main problem with this book was the plot: there was no plot. For the first 60% of the book, nothing of importance was going on, hence I got easily distracted. The only thing going was the mystery of Rafe and Kaden's identities, which was revealed at precisely the 65% mark. Only after I reveal, the plot began and I really started enjoying the book more and actually caring for the events and the characters. If it hadn't been for the mystery of the identities keeping me going, I would've gave up.
Yes, there is a love triangle, which for me, was light. It didn't bother me greatly. I wasn't too invested in it anyway. I definitely like Rafe way more than Kaden; both as separate character and as a love interest. I don't really care for Kaden.
Anyway, despite not overly enjoying this, I will still continue on with the trilogy because I'm really interested to see where this will go. I'm actually pretty excited too! I've also heard that book two gets way better. I hope so!
I will cry if this doesn't turn out good, okay. I need this to be good.
“This life was a dream of my own making, one where my imagination was my only boundary. It was a life that I alone commanded.”
This book gave me so many of the YA fantasy themes I enjoy, and a main character who takes her life into her own hands—pretty much a win for me.
I love our main character, Princess Lia, so much. She’s seventeen and is being forced by her parents to marry a prince she has never met. Lia is a pawn in their goal to secure an alliance with a neighbouring kingdom, but she doesn’t just accept this unfair fate and instead comes up with a plan to run away. Lia is understandably a bit naive at first, but she’s also very brave and cares about others. Her character was strong to begin with, but I appreciated that her growth happened in a natural flow throughout the book. She gets help along the way, but she also takes responsibility for herself and is very resourceful. Instead of just waiting for someone to save her, she actually uses her brain when facing difficult situations. It was a joy to follow Lia as she learns new truths about her gift and herself. Also, there are a couple of scenes where she kicks ass, and I need more of that.
Most of the side characters were well developed, and I absolutely adored the healthy and supportive female friendships in this book. Pauline and Birdie are my favourite side characters. Lia’s relationship with her brother was also so heartwarming, I could cry (again). He always showed her love, accepted her, and taught her important lessons.
The romance was good too, and I actually liked that it didn’t take over the main plot of the book. I know, shocker since I’m a romance reader. Don't get me wrong, the whole *he's supposed to be her enemy but will kill anyone who tries to harm her* was hot. I loved that, but it wasn't the main focus of this book. I guess it was a love triangle but also not really... It honestly was pretty obvious who she had real feelings for early on, or maybe that was me projecting my own preference onto this story? Watch me eat my words when I read the next book, and a real love triangle smacks me in the face!
I also thought it was pretty fun to try to guess the real identity of the prince and the assassin. I was combing through the details every time we had a POV change to guess who was who. Speaking of the different POVs, I really enjoyed that the chapters changed between Lia, Kaden, and Rafe because it helped me understand each character's personality, fears, and motivations more.
The writing was impressive, and Mary E. Pearson excels at world building. Every location our main character travels to was rich with detail, culture, and language. Oh yes, our author managed to create more than one language for her world and it was fantastic. She did a great job at leaving enough out that I have questions and a need to read the next book. I need to find out what happens!
Thank you so much to lovely Aurora for motivating me to read this series! 💖
That's what I felt when I finished reading this book. Now here's a *rant* on why.
To me The Kiss of Deception started off boring and it remained really boring for the first 200 pages ugh. Nothing interesting really happened, I felt no excitement whatsoever, and I have no idea why the author felt the need to tell us ALL ABOUT Lia's daily chores for so damn long. I read fantasy for escapism, so if I wanted to read all about someone doing regular laundry and waiting ordinary tables... Oh wait, why exactly would I want to do that?
Maybe if I were raised in privilege I could've understood Lia's fascination with doing these mundane choresnot really though, but I still wouldn't understand why on earth we were spending so much freaking time watching her do them. Where the hell is my escapism?
Or perhaps, if I had actually seen more of her life in the castle before (and even after) she ran away, instead of having her 'telling' me all about how people were so unfair to her, and how she was so much smarter than them, and how her life was sooo horrible because they treated her like a princess, then sure, maybe I could've understood her. *queue the sarcasm*
Let me tell you, Lia and I began with the wrong foot.
Right at the beginning she says that she is being forced to get married with the prince of Dalbreck, a man she doesn't even know. That sucks, right? For sure, but also, it shouldn't be such a shock since her own mother had an arranged marriage with her father. But I get it Lia, you have the right to not be happy with that.
Okay, but then she goes on to explain, that this is not just some random power hungry move from her father. Her kingdom, Morrighan, actually needs an alliance with Dalbreck in order to survive an attack from Venda, a wilder and bigger kingdom. Now, she mentions Morrighan and Dalbreck do NOT get along, so wouldn't one think that these two countries who really dislike each other would not choose to solidify an alliance through marriage, unless Venda was a real threat and that if this alliance didn't happen the other option would likely be go to war? And if that's the case, shouldn't the princess who is about to be wed, at least think about the consequences to her people, to her family and to her friends if she ignored this and just ran away?
Also if she knows that what she did is considered treason and punishable by death, shouldn't she at least show a bit more concern about what would happen to the friend who helped her escape if they ever got caught? She'd certainly be extra careful to make sure that wouldn't happen, right? Right?
I'm not even saying that she shouldn't have ran away. The whole premise of the book comes from that, it's fine. But what REALLY rubbed me the wrong way was that she didn't even stop to consider what would happen to other people because of her actions. Like wtf, your country could go to war because of what you did and you're like "peace off bitches, I'm just gonna go chill as a waitress and flirt with some random dudes ok bye". Right, because that's not selfish at all.
If she really is smarter than everyone in the castle as she likes to claim, I must say that Morrighan is really doomed.
Ohh when you don't get along with the main character, it's really hard to enjoy a book that is mostly from their perspective and that girl is such a damn princess it's hilarious when other characters act like she's "not like other court girls" just because she wears pants and wait tables, especially since not many exciting things happen. But Lia was not alone in my distaste for her.
- The Prince and The Assassin*sighs heavily*
Okay, let's start by saying it, THEY DO NOT MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL. The prince, who did NOT want to get married to some princess he'd never met from a kingdom that was not friendly to his, finds out that said princess ran away from the wedding, therefore releasing him from an obligation he did NOT want. Great, he's free now. But then what does that prince do, even though nobody asked him to? He immediately decides to hit the roadby himself to spend days tracking the aforementioned runway bride who he did NOT want to marry in the first place. One could think "oh even though he didn't want to marry her, he must've thought that he should do this because of his duty to his country". Lol not really, his justification was actually "I want to meet this girl who had the courage to do what I wanted to, but couldn't". I mean???
Sure, that's obviously verylogical behaviour and not creepy at all "hey I didn't even know you, and I didn't want to marry you, but now that you rejected me I'm going to spend my days tracking your ass down."
And the assassin. Oh the assassin. I must congratulate him because he is certainly one of the most incompetent assassins I've ever read about. You are sent to this kingdom with the important mission to track and kill someone, because that's your job. You claim to have done it many times. Then you locate your target, a silly runaway princess who poses no threat to you - but who could be a threat to your kingdom if she marries an enemy prince -, it might not be a pleasant job, but it's not a difficult one either, at least not for you, an experienced assassin. You've done it before, and you know you're gonna kill her, because you can't go home otherwise. So what do you do? OF COURSE you decide to procrastinate for weeks to flirt and get to know your target instead of eliminating her right away. Like, whaaat? I mean, it feels like he falls in love with this girl because he was too lazy to kill her. If this were his first job, then okay I'd give him a pass, but he's done this many times before, so really dude?
Now, I don't know what was the deal with it, but the writing in this book did NOT work for me. I found myself wanting to skip entire paragraphs of descriptions because they were just filling the page. I also wish there were more lines of direct dialogue between the characters, instead of having Lia constantly tell me "I did this", "we talked about that", "we fought many times".
I mean, what has more emotional impact? When you're shown two characters yelling lines of actual dialogue at each other so you can feel the punch of what they're saying, or when the narrator/character simply tells you "We argued loudly"?
It's the old "show - don't tell" thing. If you just tell me stuff, I'm not likely to feel like I'm seeing the story unfold. Instead I'm only hearing some third party talk about how they thought things went on. I'm not there myself. I felt like an outsider throughout this whole book and that was horribly frustrating.
I also did not really care much for any of the characters, and I felt the worldbuilding (even though it had some cool ideas) was quite shallow, especially where it shouldn't, like, huh, politics? I'm not even talking complex politics here, I think it failed at the very basics of it. And boy, oh boydid we take our time to get out of Terravin. I mean, the girls ran away and just stayed there like foreeeeever. We only got to know like one interesting place after leaving that godforsaken village. This did not feel like a world I'd have any interest in visiting, or even like a world at all.
Oh btw how damn easy it was for people to find Lia. Like wow, fanstastic job at hiding.
Anyways, the way the story was written, most things ended up feeling so impersonal and emotionless to me. I got so frustrated for not being able to care about things. It might not seem like it, but I REALLY wanted to enjoy this book. I kept on hoping things would get better, and they kinda did eventually, but only to go downhill again later.
Part of me still wants to read the rest of the triology, simply because I don't like quitting things (I'm a masochist apparently), and also people say the second book is better. But the same people loved this first book, while I do not have any good feelings about it. Their "better" might not be the amount of "betterness" I'd need to get some enjoyment out of it. Maybe I just feel the need to understand what is it about this damn triology that so many people I know (and usually have similar tastes with), find so praiseworthy.
I mean, if you liked this book, good for you, truly, because I'd never wish on anyone the same feelings I had while reading this. Yikes!
Rafe🤌Looks like cinnamon roll- will kill you. 👀 What a romantic at heart, he's said some of the beautiful lines in this one and I swear I'll fight for him😩
Lia🤌 Looks like a cinnamon roll- is a cinnamon roll. I liked her character growth, especially towards the end. I was so emotional 😭 She's a total badass.
Kaden🤌Looks like someone who can kill you- is a cinnamon roll. *Insert - I can fix him vibes*
The book genuinely took me by surprise. It did start slow at first but it was essential to the story. The world building is top notch and it seems the author made a language for this book? If that's the case, that's commendable👏👏The supporting characters are so good. Lia's relationship with her brother though😭😭😭
And that damn cliffhanger 👁️👄👁️ I want answers. The last 20% of the book was chef's kiss. Can't wait to start with the next book in the series.
@Leonie (idk how to tag on GR) thanks for the recommendation 🧡💗
I still really liked this! Maybe not quite as much as the first time around, but it was still a solid 4 star listen for me.
Emily Rankin - Narrator Ryan Gesell - Narrator Kim Mai Guest - Narrator Kirby Heyborne - Narrator Ann Marie Lee - Narrator
2014 4.5 stars
Man, I loved this one! You know a book is good when the first thing you do after you finish is go check out the release date for the next book. Nooooooo! 2015?! *sobs quietly* So this may be labeled Young Adult, but I think it's one of those books that is more of a story about a young adult. Does that make sense? Also, the blurb? It really doesn't capture the scope of what's inside that cover. In fact, I put off reading this for quite a while because it didn't sound very interesting. Well. That, and my eyeballs don't always work exactly right. Every time I looked at the title, my brain kept telling me that this was Book One of the Revenant Chronicles. So, yeah. I'm looking at a cover with a girl with flowers in her hair, and I'm thinking that it's some sort of Zombie Romance for teens. *cough, cough* It's not.
Lia's a feisty little princess who doesn't want to marry the son of a crusty old king. Best guess (since she's never actually met her fiance) is that he's only half as old and crusty as his father. Which would still make him pretty darn old...and crusty. She's had time to chew the situation over for a while and decides that since her parents don't give a damn about what she wants, the only sensible thing to do is make a run for it. So with the help of her BFF/Lady-in-waiting, she goes on the lam...instead of showing up for her wedding. And that's pretty much the start of the adventure for everyone concerned.
As far as the two mysterious strangers from the blurb go, it isn't really the conventional love triangle. What I mean by that, is that Lia isn't torn between her love of two men. She only has the hots for one of the guys, but both of them are smitten with her. Smitten!. So sad that I never really get a chance to use that word in real life.
The majority of the story is told from Lia's perspective, even though she's not the narrator. Every now and then, though, the author throws in a chapter told from either the prince or the assassin's point of view. I don't think it always works well when you switch viewpoints, but I really enjoyed it this time around. Another thing I liked was that even though this is Fantasy and there's a bit of an Epic Journey to the book, it didn't feel like it. I guess what I mean is, I'm not a huge fan of some of those stories, because they tend to drag on and on and on. This one worked for me, mainly because the author didn't bother to describe every shrub or feel the need to go into detail about how the sunshine smelled. And if you happen to be a reader who enjoys lots 'n lots of descriptive prose? Well, I'm not trying to belittle those books. I just don't like to read them. At all. "The water was blue." Period. I don't need two paragraphs describing the blue water.
Anyway. Even though the main storyline is character driven, there's an overall feeling that you're also reading a sweeping tale of kingdoms at war. You're just not sure what the underlying cause is...yet. There's also a bit of magic and prophecy, but they always seem to sit in the background. Sort of like they're just waiting to reveal themselves as major players in this story. And of course, there's romance, but it doesn't overwhelm the book or the characters. As an added bonus, there are even a few hints that perhaps this world is ours, set in some distant future. Oooooooh!
By the end, I was so caught up in what was happening that I didn't want to put it down. And when it was over, I felt like I hadn't even scratched the surface of what the author is planning for this series.
Highly recommended! Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.
There are books and then there are books. For me, The Kiss of Deception belongs to the second category. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about this book that got me so hooked (and right from the start, dare I say), because, let’s be honest, there are better, and better written stories, out there. But there is something, something I can’t explain with words, that inevitably made me love every single line and scene, every single page and twist. The Kiss of Deception is a pretty much fast-paced story of a princess who decides to take her life in her own hands and do something for herself, for once. And here she does it, mainly because she can’t bear the thought of marrying someone she doesn’t love, someone who’s spineless enough to not react to an arranged marriage. Imagine being that pure-hearted. Can’t relate, but I totally admire her for this. Lia is one of the best female characters I’ve read about, lately. She’s flawed, stubborn, still not at her peak of matureness, and she’s definitely not another ass-kicking, shade-throwing, chosen one, but she knows her stuff. Oh, boy, does she know it. What I like about Lia the most is how strong she is. Emotionally, spiritually, she’s a rock, and she’s clever enough to understand when it’s time to shut up and back off for the sake of her own and other people’s safety and well-being (yes, America Singer, this one was for you). She always thinks about others first (especially her brothers and her friends), and she’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty. And it’s not like she always succeeds in doing whatever she has in mind, but she puts all herself in what she does. If anything, one must appreciate her even only for her effort. Another thing I adored about this story, is the female bonding. It is so strong in this book, and it’s literally everywhere. There are great, well developed and relatable female characters all over the book. It’s a pleasure to see them interact with one another, it’s even more wonderful to see how, for these women, their friendship and girl bond, always comes first. They’re all role models kind of characters (without losing their mysterious aura, like in Gwyneth’s case, or gaining even a motherly touch as it happens with Berdi and Dihara), flaws and all. In general, the character dynamics were great and remarkable, for what it comes to established relationship (Lia and Pauline, Rafe and Sven, for example), and for the ones formed page after page (Lia and Berdi is hands down my favorite one. I freaking love Berdi, I won’t tell this enough). As for the romance part…Would you believe me if I told you that I love this book so much I don’t even care that there’s a very unnecessary why would you do this to my poor heart love triangle squeezed there somewhere? Sure, there were moments where I’d rather have flushed this book down the toilet, but, hey, angst is the spice of life. At leaest there are only two love interests (are you familiar with the House of Night series? I’ve never met another protagonist who has that many lovers and crushes, I swear to god, it gets almost embarassing at some point), and they were both super duper likeable. A bit cheesy, at times (especially Rafe; like, my boy is so smitten how is he even that whipped), but surely not a sickening kind of cheesy. I think everyone on here, by now, knows where my preferences stand, but I must admit I didn't mind the "rival" at all (still, SORRY KADEN, BUT RAFE ALL THE WAY); also, the switching POVs kinda help getting sympathetic towards both of them, not to mention how nice it is to see the story from another perspective. Our two young bucks, in addition, both love Lia for the right reasons (and how could they not love her? I too have a huge crush on her T___T). They know her worth, they know she’s not just a damsel in distress -because she clearly isn’t-, they know she’s not another spoiled brat ready to play games on them, and, all above this, they definitely know she could kick them both in the junk if she knew that they’re planning on doing something she’s not fond of. Plus, no, Lia doesn’t spend pages and pages crying and whining over how much she loves this but oh, how much she also loves that. Well, not that much at least, but she’s still seventeen, pretty, young, and free to do whatever she pleases for the first time in her life. She’s allowed to be confused and flirty, okay? A love triangle is almost forgivable under these conditions. But again, I said ALMOST. Now, about the fantasy factor: I think the whole First Daughter thing portaits again how much this book chersishes and values the importance of women, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. All the legends about Morrighan and the Remnant and Venda and the vagabonds (I loved that part so much??? It was so evocative!) were interesting and they were absolutely necessary to the whole world building thing, especially if you consider how much stories and ancient mysteries are important to the plot. I also need to know more about Lia’s gift. Me curious. The writing is nice, clear, fluent and straight to the point; nothing extraordinary or too elliptical, but I’ve never witnessed dull moments or scenes where I had to reread phrases more than once like it happens sometimes with this kind of books. There weren’t many quotable lines, but the exquisitely written dialogues totally compensated. There also were moments where I found myself on the verge of tears or with a pounding heart. That one made me sob hard. Also, I’m a huge sucker for languages and I think the author knew what she was doing on that part, that is, adding to the story a foreign language the protagonist learns little by little, and the reader as well, along with her. And, oh, nice touch with the whole The Prince/The Assassin-Who is Who, thing. I’m looking at you, Mary E. Pearson, and I’m winkwinking. Hard. You almost got me there. I've also had a lot of fun fancasting all the characters. I am all in for Adelaide Kane as Lia. She's perfect. A bit too old, maybe, but can a girl dream? I think she can. And I also think she's allowed to fancast Torrance Coombs as Rafe and IT SURELY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ALL THE ALREADY MADE GIFS ONE CAN EASILY FIND ON THE INTERNET. In conclusion, I can’t wait to read more about Lia and the others, just like I can’t wait to see where this is all headed, and I think the reason is because the writer did an awesome job by not giving away too much on this first book. What’s gonna happen to Lia? Will she ever return to Morrighan? What will happen to her and Rafe? What's the Chancellor hiding? And what's the deal with those Vendans books? And what about Pauline? AND WHAT ABOUT THAT TATTOO??? Too many questions, too little time to answer them all. I’m totally craving for more. More Lia, more Rafe, more Pauline and Kaden, more legends, more love, more everything. *throws confetti* YAY FOR THE KISS OF DECEPTION!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>