The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Pages: 486
Song I Played While Reading: Towards the sun by Rihanna
Rating: 3 stars

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 had heard nothing but rave reviews about this book, so I was a little disappointed when I didn't love it. It definitely had an interesting plot, which has what pulled me in; a princess runs away to a small village and the two men that pursue her are an assassin sent to kill her and the prince she refused to marry? Hell yeah, this sounds awesome!
I was a little lost in the beginning. I found the world hard to understand, Lia was a little dramatic for my taste, and the relationships weren't fully flushed out. She was so focused on finding love that she jumped at the chance with these two guys and didn't handle it well. 
But, about half way through the book I started getting comfortable and there was a major twist I didn't see coming that led to a lot of action and adventure, so I really enjoyed the last half. The ending was surprising and a little bit of a cliff-hanger and I enjoyed it immensely. There was great character development, which I'm always a sucker for, and some truly heartbreaking scenes that surprised me in there authenticity. Pearson juggles a lot in this book but manages to end it nicely, leaving me wanting more. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! 

Did anyone else not realize that the identities of the assassin and the prince were supposed to be a mystery? Because I didn't. And it threw me off so badly (since I guessed wrong) that I got really annoyed and almost put this book down. I found myself not caring what happened, bored with the Lia and her dramatics ways, and was itching for her to leave the Inn. I think because we were in the same place for such a huge portion of the book that I figured we would stay there and thats why I got bored. But once Walther came around with the story of his poor wife dying and Lia finally decided to take action, I could have kissed him. It was looking good.
And then that fucking twist happened and I almost threw the book against the wall. I was so mad. I flipped back through all the pages I had read, convinced Pearson had mistakingly switched the guys, and was shocked when I realized she kept their identities secret. I was so sure on who they were that it was like a punch to the gut. And then I was so bothered that annoying Rafe was actually the prince, the guy who I thought I was rooting for. I have no idea why I don't like him; I looked up the hottest dark haired guy I could find and kept picturing him, but it still didn't work. 

(Smolderingly hot.. but NOPE)

Maybe I have a thing for blondes? No idea. But I'm Team Kaden, and him being the assassin only made me love him even more. I was so attracted him while they were on their way to Venda that I could have cried. And him drunk and professing his love to Lia, oh my lord I was swooning. 
I LOVED the path this book went once Kaden snatched Lia. All that time on horseback was the perfect excuse for her to think, and to think she did. It was flawless character development. And the vagabond camp finally gave Lia some time to work on her gift, which was a topic I was always confused on. Throughout the entire book we knew of this supposed gift she should have grown into, but never did. So I'm glad we finally got some information and back story on that. 
Lia definitely grew on me. Not only did she finally get an inkling on how to control her gift, but she personally wowed me with how strong she was. She talked back to the King of Venda (something that literally had me shitting my pants) and she never gave up. Even faced with the horrific death of her brother and his comrades, she stayed true to herself and vowed to take revenge. I found that scene breathtakingly beautiful, made even better when Kaden and some of the other guys helped dig the graves too. 
I was so happy she's actually going to be held hostage in the Kingdom of Venda. I figured by the end she would have made it home, so this was one of the few times when I really enjoyed being wrong. And with Rafe in tow (no matter how much I wish he wasn't) I know that the next book will be filled with a lot of dick fights and verbal jabs, which is something this girl right here can't get enough of. I have a feeling Lia is going to turn into a kick ass narrator, and I can't wait to see how it develops! Plus what the heck is going on with Pauline and Gwyneth? Sooner or later the poor mother to be is going to find out Mikael is alive and shit's gonna hit the fan. 

"For good or bad, the hours were closing in. I closed my eyes against the thought, knowing that soon the day would cleave in two, forever creating the before and after of my life, and it would happen in one swift act that I could no more alter than the color of my eyes." (pg. 1)

"But this would be a first, even for me. Not that I hadn't slit throats in the dark of night before, but those throats had always belonged to soldiers, traitors, or spies, and I knew their deaths meant my comrades would live. Even so, each time my blade slid across a throat, the startled eyes would steal a part of my soul." (pg. 40)

"Taking another life, even a guilty one, should never be easy. If it were, we'd be little more than animals." (pg. 423)

"Let it be know,
They stole her,
My little one.
She reached back for me, screaming,
She is a young woman now,
And this old woman couldn't stop them.
Let it be known to the gods and generations,
They stole for the Remnant.
Harik, the thief, he stole my Morrighan.
Then sold her for a sack of grain.
To Aldrid the scavenger." (pg. 430)

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

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