Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan)
Acquired Via: Publisher
Release Date: July 8, 2014
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 book in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles.
You can read Kayla's review of the book HERE.
When I first saw the cover to The Kiss of Deception with the girl in the dress and the title of the series being The Remnant Chronicles, I thought YA paranormal romance with zombies - WRONG. Maybe I should have read the synopsis before deciding not to read it. Thank goodness Kayla sent me her ARC without knowing my silly judging a book by its cover prejudices, because I loved it. I did like the ARC plainer cover better with the series name being the Morrighan Chornicles. By the way, there is romance, but it is part post-apocalyptic, part adventure fantasy, and has a little bit of magic thrown in.
I really enjoyed Pearson's set up of the multiple points of views. We get a point of view from Lia, the prince and the assassin, but we also get points of views entitled Rafe and Kadan. It was fantastic that we don't know for a good portion of the book whether Rafe or Kadan is the prince or the assassin. And, my guess was wrong on that one, so maybe I'm not such a jaded reader that has seen all the plot devices after all.
I also enjoyed the setting in The Kiss of Deception. It's not clear, but I think that this is set several hundred years in the future after our civilization has crumbled. I think that the three countries are split among the Western United States, the Eastern United States and either the North Western United States or Canada. I wish that there had been a bit more magic in the story, and more of the discovering of the countries' secrets. We don't really get into the secret discovering until well into the last quarter of the book. Also, while there are whispers that the First Daughters have the gift, we don't really see what this means. Lia does not believe that she has the gift and also that her mother lost hers at one point. I hope that this is more fully explained and explored in the next two books of the trilogy.
I liked Lia a lot as a heroine even though she definitely had her weaknesses. She was selfish for one. She knows that she is the key to uniting two kingdoms who did not trust each other and who were probably going to be at war sooner or later with a third kingdom and neither of the kingdoms could stand against the third kingdom alone. She still chose to run away, because she didn't want to be forced into a marriage with a man she had never met, who she presumed was an old man and who refused to meet her before the wedding. So, she's selfish, but I doubt I would have liked the situation any better than she did. She's also a little foolish and has a temper which causes her to basically poke at bears when she shouldn't.
When she runs, her best friend decides to go with her, and these two make quite the good kick-ass heroines. Lia was not about to take anything from anyone, including soldiers messing with her friends. She was a good friend and kind. Lia also showed that while she may have been raised as a royal, she was willing to do regular work like being a waitress at an inn and didn't assume that she would get special treatment because she was a princess. Later, whenever the story turns adventure across the desert/wasteland, she also shows that she's clever and brave.
There is a little bit of a love triangle between Lia and the prince and the assassin, which is quite interesting as we have to guess at who is the prince and the assassin for a lot of the book. It wasn't as annoying a love triangle as I've seen, but the romance does make this less high fantasy than it could have been. Which really is my only gripe.
So The Kiss of Deception was not the book I thought it was going to be, but it was so much more. It reminded me a lot of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, so if you liked that style of fantasy, you should pick this one too.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.