Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception
By Mary E. Pearson
Published: July 15, 2014

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 assasin 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 review:

Lia (formally known as Princess Arabella) is being forced to wed the Prince of Dalbreck to cement peace between their kingdoms. On the day of her wedding after going through the painstaking process of having a wedding kavah tattooed on her back (like a henna tattoo but a little more painful), she has the chance to escape with the help of her maid Pauline. The two end up in the town of Terravin where Pauline's aunt has a tavern. Soon Lia is working as a barmaid and no one would recognize her as a princess...except for two young men who show up one day. Rafe and Kaden are attractive and attentive but one is an assassin and one is secretly the prince she was meant to marry. 

I liked Lia as a protagonist. I felt bad for her because of her relationship with her dad and the way his advisers treat her. She is also expected to have an arranged marriage while her brothers can marry for love which is pretty unfair. At the same time her decision to run jeopardizes the safety of her country, something she doesn't seem to realize at the time. I also liked how she treated Pauline like an equal and wasn't afraid of hard work. 

I don't want to say too much about Rafe and Kaden so I don't give away their identities. I didn't like how Lia seemed so instantly attracted to both of them and the way she was so trusting of them. It was easy for me to figure out which character was the killer and which was the prince but that didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book too much. I also appreciated that while there was a suggestion of a love triangle it was resolved by the end and hopefully it will stay that way in the sequel. 

The description of this book places a lot of emphasis on romance and while there is some romance and attraction between characters, this is still a fantasy novel with some worldbuilding, politics and some magic (the "gift" of First Daughters). There is even a prophecy and a mysterious and ancient book that Lia stole before she left Morrighan, written in a language she doesn't recognize. There are a few different cultures mentioned in the book: the Morrighese (Lia's people), the people of Dalbreck (though we don't get to know as much about them), the "barbaric" Vendans and the gypsy like vagabond camp. The political situation between the kingdoms is explored lightly but we may see more in the next book. 

Lia believes that she doesn't have the gift that First Daughters are supposed to have. Her own mother lost her gift and hasn't forseen anything in years. Now that she is on her own however she starts to hear or sense things that may or may not be the gift. It seems to be kind of a premonition or feeling about danger or something happening. At least that's how it is for Lia. The book explains a little bit about the gift and the history of the gift and hopefully we'll find out more in the next book. Aside from the gift there isn't any other sign of "magic" or fantastical creatures. It gives the book an almost historical feel instead.

The first part of the book is something of an adventure story with Lia escaping her wedding and hiding out in Terravin. It is more lighthearted as Lia learns how to be a tavern maid and also has some romantic possibilities. There are a few darker moments too as we are introduced to the assassin and other problems Lia faces. The second part of the book is more action packed and sets up the sequel. The cliffhanger ending left me anxious for the next book, The Heart of Betrayal. It is a good debut though I hope to gain a better understanding of the conflict between the kingdoms, the "gift" and the prophecy as the trilogy progresses. I think readers who enjoy fantasy, historical fiction and some romance would like The Kiss of Deception

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. I'm not much for fantasy, but I've been eyeing this one. Nice to know the love triangle clears up!

  2. Awesome review, Christina! I am glad you enjoyed this one. I really liked it, although I didn't love it as much as everyone else seemed to. I do want to pick up the sequel though and I agree...hopefully we will learn more about a few things that were unclear.

  3. Excellent review! I read this book a year ago and I reading your review made me realize that I had forgotten a LOT of key details (ie First Daughters). I was surprised by how lighthearted this novel was given the great escape! I can't wai to see how dark it can get!


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