The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Narrator: Emily Rankin, Ryan Gesell, Kim Mai Guest, Kirby Heyborne, Ann Marie Lee
Series: (The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published on 7 October 2014
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RRP: $21.99
4 Stars

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
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 flees 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.

I tried reading this book a few years ago after reading and falling absolutely in love with Kazi and Jase the spinoff Dance of Thieves. I figured, if I loved that duology so hard, surely I’d enjoy the original series as well?

Unfortunately the first time I tried to read this, I couldn’t get past the point where Lia ran away – there was just something that seemed not very compelling and engaging at that time, especially in comparison to Pearson’s later books. This is one of the problems with reading an author’s later books before their first books, because writing generally tends to improve with experience, and I figured that was the case with Pearson and pretty much gave up on being able to read physical copies of this trilogy.

However, I have this little trick when I want to read a book but can’t figure out why it’s not working for me, where sometimes I switch to the audio version. This means I HAVE to make progress with the part I’m not compelled to read more of, because it’s being read to me.

I don’t know if it was me at the time or the opening of the book, because now that I’ve read all of it, I can kind of see why this book is super popular on bookstagram and booktok.

And to be honest, the real thing this book has going for it is the romance. It’s a romance book. The fantasy element is super lite, and although the worldbuilding does a decent job at instilling different values and customs on different countries (kingdoms?), there’s no need for it to dwell any deeper than the surface since the focus is so strongly on the romance.

I think part of the allure is supposed to be the so-called love triangle as well, but I don’t think this is a love triangle at all. This is a pretty terrible case of third wheeling.

I did like the angle that both of the boys knew who Lia was but she didn’t know who they were, and the angst that deception gave both of the boys in the brief chapters we got from their point of view.

I really loved the writing, and despite the possibility of Lia being an insufferable twit, she actually wasn’t. I really liked her as a character as well. She was smart, sassy, brave, and reliable, and would make a really decent friend. Even when she does something terrible for what perceives to be the right reason, I still liked her and her logic.

One thing I didn’t really understand was the snippets or excerpts used at the beginning of some chapters. I think it was supposed to help with the ‘fantasy’ element of this book, especially since the ‘magic’ part is really subtle and some might even argue not particularly magic. I think I started to zone out when they were being read because they didn’t appear to relate to the main action in the book.

I also especially enjoyed listening to this on audio since the main female narrator did such a  fantastic job with changing voices for characters, and delivering on emotional impact, which are my two biggest criteria in audio narrators.

Overall I did quite enjoy this book, but maybe not as much as Dance of Thieves, which is to be expected since Dance of Thieves comes after more experience and focuses less on the romance. I will be listening to the other audiobooks.

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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