Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on July 8, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 489
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

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.

My experience with Mary E. Pearson’s novels has been heretofore a mixed bag. The Adoration of Jenna Fox impressed me, but the sequels that came later very much did not. Still, I knew that Pearson was capable of good things and I couldn’t resist her fantasy offering, because it sounded like everything I love. As with my earlier Pearson readings, I was missing out on the emotional aspect, but this is by far the most fun to read out of the books I’ve read and shows a lot of promise for improvement in later installments of the series.

The fact that The Kiss of Deception is above par became apparent early on. The opening is common enough, with a princess running away from her arranged marriage, willing to marry only for the deepest love. Where this differs is in Lia’s attitude. She feels bad about leaving. Her emotions are complex and she does worry about her family. Not only that, but she continues to worry and wonder if she’s made the right choice even when her new life working in a tavern is going so well. Though she chooses to be without her family, she does so with a heavy heart and she never forgets them.

Much has been made of the love triangle aspect of The Kiss of Deception which is honestly a bit misleading. The way that the book is set up, with multiple points of view, does make it feel that way a bit, but Lia’s pretty consistent about where her romantic interests lie. Of course, you don’t actually know which guys she’s interested in, because Mary E. Pearson is a clever trickster. The romance didn’t enter major shipping levels for me, but I definitely do not think anyone should let the idea of a love triangle scare them away from this one.

My favorite aspect of The Kiss of Deception is Pearson’s storytelling. First of all, Pearson does an excellent job with the different first person perspectives. I was able to easily distinguish whose head I was in at any given point. Plus, she writes the story in such a way that you cannot tell for sure which guy is the prince and which the assassin. Though I knew Pearson was messing with me, I was left guessing and theorizing and totally obsessed with the book to find out who was who. This gambit was quite effective at keeping the pace fast and the mood tense. I could have done without a single chapter from Pauline’s POV, but I suppose if it’s important in later books, it makes sense to include now.

On top of that, I really do admire Lia’s character arc. From a pampered princess knowing little of the outside world, she becomes an incredibly strong woman. She always had the bones for it, of course: curiosity, intelligence and daring. Now, though, she finally has the freedom to figure out what she can really do. She goes through really intense situations and she always emerges stronger and more determined. I don’t generally believe that what doesn’t kill you really makes you stronger, but that definitely applies to Lia.

For what I didn’t like, that’s hard for me to really put my finger on. There’s a semi-spoilery plot with Lia’s best friend Pauline, which so far I do not care for in the least. The romance really should have been giving me some feels, but it really wasn’t. This could have been a side effect of not knowing who the guy really was, I suppose. Plot-wise, too, the novel’s pretty simple and not too much happens. That said, the stage is set for a truly epic and dark series, if the gruesomeness and death toll in The Kiss of Deception is any indicator.

Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception is a great start to a new fantasy series. Recommended for those who enjoy heroines strong in a way that’s more mental than physical or multiple points of view done well. I’m very much looking forward to the next installment, which will hopefully blow this one out of the water.

Favorite Quote:

[A] little exaggeration was always expected when describing weapons, victories, and body parts.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif who are you tangled

10 responses to “Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson”

  1. Nikki says:

    KoD rating-twins!!! I’d seen SO MUCH love for this book before I read it, I seriously thought I was going crazy when I ended not loving it myself. I actually wasn’t crazy about the guessing-game between the prince and the assassin, though… But like you, I didn’t feel huge shippy feels either – and I think you’re exactly right in saying it’s because we don’t know who’s who for most of the book. That said, the worldbuilding was GREAT, and I’m also super excited for the sequel!! I have a feeling it’s going to avoid second-book-syndrome very nicely. 😀

    • Christina Franke says:

      I really enjoyed reading KoD, but I didn’t get the love feelings. I was curious, but the characters never quite snapped over into being REAL to me. They’re interesting, or at least Lia is, but they’re characters. I enjoyed the guessing game, even though it frustrated me. Very hopeful for book two.

  2. Meg says:

    When people ask what I think of this book, I’m just going to point them to your review, okay? 100% agreement on all the things especially about the series potential. Fingers crossed it lives up.
    Meg recently posted…Cuddlebuggery Gets Personal: On Bookish Habits (2)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      hdu point people to my review. Your review is probably better anyway. geez. now to go read it.

      • Christina Franke says:

        You didn’t write one. NooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoOOOO

  3. Soma Rostam says:

    Well, this is definitely interesting
    I have been hearing a lot of good things about this book and it is intriguing me but I don’t think that I would be a great fan of the romance.
    GREAT review, indeed
    Your reader,
    Soma
    Soma Rostam recently posted…ARC Review: Madly, Deeply by Erica CrouchMy Profile

  4. Lyn Kaye says:

    I am swooning over a princess that is useful. Love it – I LOVE IT!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Forgotten Fridays: Vampire AcademyMy Profile

  5. Nori says:

    So, I have not had the best luck with this author’s books. I didn’t like the first Adoration of Jenna Fox as much as you. And I really didn’t love the sequels. Though, in the way back time of my teen years I super loved her book called Scribbler of Dreams. And the plot of this book sounds right up my alley. I don’t think I can give up on her yet. Though, I wonder if I read Scribbler of Dreams today if I’d still love it. Any way, your review convinced me to give this a try!
    Nori recently posted…Panic by Lauren OliverMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Hmm, I think you may like this one, Nori. It’s very different from Jenna Fox. I totally own Scribbler of Dreams, so I hope it’s good.

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