The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on July 8, 2014
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 489 pages Source: Libby
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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.
I will not by any means say this is a masterpiece of a book. I see flaws in the love story, in the … likelihood of situations I guess? But I also really, really liked it because it had a lot of things that I feel like I don’t see very often, particularly in YA Fantasy.
First of all, we have a protagonist who is very unsure of herself. Listen guys, I’m all for fierce, confident heroines. I love me a strong female protagonist. But after a while, it gets old, you know? Lia constantly struggles with her decisions and worries that she has done the wrong thing. I am so much like that myself, and it was just really nice to see a fictional character who struggled in grey areas.
And, generally? I liked Lia. She had a great range of emotions, a lot of really genuine reactions and felt real. I’m here for her journey.
In fact, there were a lot of almost-tropes in The Kiss of Deception that had been altered just enough to make me smile. Some of them are a bit spoilery, but in vague terms, there was a bit by the end where a character did something I didn’t expect, and it set up something really fun for the next book, and honestly… I’m just really pleased about it. Tropes are fine, but they’re even stronger when they’re used to trick the reader into a sense of false security. The Kiss of Deception is really good at that.
Now, where this book was just exhausting… the love triangle. The love triangle was so eyeball-worthy. It was cheesy, with virtually no basis for romantic attraction between the characters. I think this could have been a well-done romantic storyline without the triangle aspect… but there you have it. And I do believe love triangles can be done well and when they are they are a great too to build reader interaction about the story… but yeah. Not here. Being perfectly honest, I mentally edited out a lot of the love story because it felt so irrelevant to Lia’s story in this book, and it annoyed me. I’m sure it will be important later, but for now, I’m much more interested in Lia learning about her gift and her ascension into taking her royal place.
The love story isn’t a deal breaker, because it felt minor enough in The Kiss of Deception. And I liked the twist with it at the end, I thought that was fun. Also, for the record, I am Team Raif.
Generally, though, I really liked this book and am excited to continue on with the series! There were a lot of familiar aspects so it wasn’t the most original story, but there were enough tweaks and twists to make it fun. Add to how much I enjoyed reading this book, there’s the fact that I really, genuinely liked Jezelia. So if you’re looking for a fun fantasy with a sappy love triangle and a character with a great, steady growth arc? Definitely check this one out!
What protagonist tropes do you enjoy? As I mentioned above, I do like the strong, kickass female lead, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change! Tell me about your favorites in the comments!