THE KISS OF DECEPTION
Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: July 8th 2014
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 escapes 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.
It can take years to mold a dream.
It takes only a fraction of a second for it to be shattered.
The Kiss of Deception focuses heavily on romance and very little on fantasy. The main character, Lia, makes a lot of bad choices and the love triangle between the three POV characters takes centre stage, leaving everything else behind. The world-building is shallow and vague, the action mostly takes place off-screen, and nothing of interest happens until the last 3/4 of the book.
Mary E. Pearson does create one good mystery, though. The real identity of the Prince and the Assassin is an intriguing thread to follow, and the execution is done well. The twist is a bright light in this novel, and it does bring a little excitement to an otherwise boring story.
The book starts with Lia running away from an arranged marriage and settling down in a little village, hoping to start a new life away from duty and tradition. And that is where she stays for most of the story, which impacts the world-building in a negative way. Especially when it becoming clear that staying there is a very bad idea after a few things happen.
That makes Lia as a main character very difficult to like. It seems as if she has no common sense, and purposefully ignores all indications that she might be found out/is in danger. Her attention is firmly placed on her two love interests and, you guessed it, kissing.
And that is the main focus of the novel for about 300 pages. Lia in this village, Lia with the boys, Lia doing very little to move the plot forward and make it engaging. In between that, there is very little character development. The writing also doesn’t help much, being chunky at times and moving quickly over action scenes — or just telling us they happened off-screen.
The last 100 pages or so do improve, though. It takes a long time, but things do start happening. The plot progresses and develops towards something that is not only romance-focused, and gives us a little tiny bit of information that expands the world-building and explains a little about the world Lia lives in.
In the end, The Kiss of Deception is a disappointment. There isn’t a balance between the romance and the fantasy, the characters aren’t developed, and the first half of the story is slow and boring. I’m sure YA fans who like love triangles and don’t mind vague world-building will have fun with this, but sadly this book wasn’t for me. I will read the second installment though, as I’ve already purchased the book.