Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles, book #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Source: borrowed ARC from Kristen (thanks!) before receiving from pub via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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 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 actually my first experience with a Mary E. Pearson book. I think the science-y medical and ethical issues in the plot kept me away from The Adoration of Jenna Fox initially, but having taken a glimpse at the synopsis again, I can't really say exactly why. I love a good, introspective amnesia story, so I'll have to give that series a try soon, especially considering how much I loved this fantasy story from the author. And her characters. Gawd, those characters!

Lia is a formidable heroine. She is fierce and determined and willing to do the unthinkable to escape a life she does not want, including running from an arranged marriage. I can definitely get behind a protagonist like that, especially as she continues to grow over the course of the novel. She also has good taste in friends. Lia's lady's maid and dearest friend sticks with her through thick and thin, and she just may be the Princess's saving grace when all is said and done.

The first half of this novel spent a good deal of time introducing us to the characters and it felt more like a historical fantasy novel, which is pretty much what I expected based on the cover and the summary for the book. However, I did not expect the turn the novel would take about halfway through the story. The setting and the story abruptly changed, and it became more of a quest. But the transition to this aspect of the story and the deception that led there is handled phenomenally by the author. Things got a bit chaotic there for a bit, but I loved every second of it. It was shocking, surprising, and I found much of it to be entirely unpredictable, much to my own delight. The writing was just fantastic, and there was no way I was going to be able to put the book down after that.

This novel is actually rather brilliant. There's mention of magic but little to be seen of it. There's a day of sporting events that culminates in a bout of log-wrestling, which is just all kinds of genius. There are gypsies and vagabonds and vagrants of all sorts. And there is a bit of a love triangle that I didn't find distracting in the least because of how the characters are written. It does get a tad messy toward the end with no resolution, but that's the least of our girl's worries at that point. And I honestly don't think you should worry about the "love triangle" either because it's mostly nonexistent. Mostly.

At the heart of the story, I think the issue is who do you trust when no one is supposed to know who you are but practically everyone does? And moreover, most of those people aren't overly concerned with your well-being. Of course, Lia is unaware for most of the book that her life is in any real danger, though she knows there are people searching for her after she ran away from her wedding. That's probably the biggest deception of the story:  her perceived safety, especially when it comes to the two men who've worked their way into her heart. It's also one of my favorite aspects of the story:  not knowing who is who and what their intentions are.

It's books like this and The Winner's Curse that have reaffirmed my fanaticism for fantasy stories. I've read some real duds lately, but I think I'm finally out of that rut, thank goodness, thanks to books like these. Granted, I'm now craving some sequels like never before, but I survived the waiting with The Girl of Fire and Thrones series, and I know I'll survive this wait, too. (BTW, if you liked those books, you'll more than likely love this one, too. Just sayin'.) If you don't have this book on your TBR, you should remedy that immediately. It's full of adventure, romance, and betrayal, all of which obviously make it a captivating fantasy novel. I can't recommend it enough, and I'm actually already considering a re-read, if that tells you anything about my adoration for this book.

Be sure to check out my stop on the blog tour on July 7th. And in the meantime, check out my Review in a GIFfy featuring The Kiss of Deception!

GIF it to me straight:
Just absolutely phenomenal!



About the author:

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Find Mary:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook


38 comments:

  1. I loved this book so much! It literally kept me guessing until the end

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    1. Me, too! And that's so rare for me these days with how much I read, so obviously this one's going on the favorites list. :)

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  2. Great review. I have this one coming up soon. I loved the Jenna Fox story. I only read the first one. I also love fantasy, and yest here are a bunch of duds out there but there are a few winners too. Can't wait to read this one.

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    1. I am seriously going to have to check that series out. Makes me sad that I had the first book as an ARC *and* on audio, and I gave both copies away because I thought it wouldn't be for me. :(

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  3. How are you going to book title name drop so many amazing books like that?! I'm super into this type of book right now too. I'm actually reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns right now for a Throwback Thursday review this week and it is SO good! Can't believe I haven't read this series sooner!

    I'm trying to stick to a review schedule, but I'm going to have to fit this one in soon! Lovely review, Jen!

    Sabrina @ I Heart Y.A. Fiction

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    1. Hehe. This book BELONGS in the company of those other amazing books, I promise. GoFaT is epic, but I think I liked the second book in that series best. Not that the final book was bad, just...the 2nd was beyond amazing. :) And, yes, make room for TKOD on your schedule sooner rather than later...you won't regret it!

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    1. Can't wait to see what you think, Nereyda! It's amazing! Hope you love it, too!

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  5. I'm glad to hear such great things about this book - it's been on my TBR, but I think I needed a little more persuasion from positive reviews! I haven't read the Jenna Fox books, either, but I've been eyeing them on BookOutlet.com. I didn't even make the connection that this was the same author until you mentioned it!

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    1. Well, I hope I said something to convince you that you need to read this one! It's seriously amazing, and THAT TWIST! So good. Really makes me want to check out the Jenna Fox books, too, because I saw similar comments about those.

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  6. I have heard so many amazing things about this book. Every single review I see is just praising the book. So, needless to say I am so excited for this one to release!!! I can't wait until I can read it and see what all the fuss is about.
    Great review :D

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    1. It's totally worth the wait. One of my top three reads for the year, for sure. :)

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  7. This book was pure perfection! It just solidified how much I absolutely LOVE the fantasy genre. I hope the fact that there is a love triangle won't deter people from reading it, because it was one of the best ones I've ever read. Oh, the boys! *sighs* I loved them, and Lia. She was such a strong heroine. And when it came to the twist, I was completely blindsided because I was wrong about who was who. It was quite shocking. And now I don't know how I'm going to survive the wait for the sequel... :(

    Holly @ Part of that World

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    1. Wasn't it, though? And I'm hoping the same thing. I had to convince a friend that it really wasn't all that big of a deal so she'd break down and read it. ;) That twist got me, too! I kind of want to go back and re-read it knowing what I do now to see if it makes a difference to the story.

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  8. I cannot wait to start this one, my coblogger gave it a glowing review as well. I am glad to hear it renewed your love of fantasy. I have read some meh fantasy books lately but am reading The Winner's Curse right now and am loving it so to hear they are on the same level is exciting.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. Oh, TWC is a really good one, too. That one and this one are kind of tied for my favorite reads so far this year. I was definitely in need of some good fantasy!

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  9. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this book. I've wanted to read it for a while now, but I haven't heard a lot about it, so I'm very thankful for your great review.

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    1. One of my friends kind of forced it on me in the beginning because I hadn't heard much about it either, but I'm glad I gave it a chance! I hope you do, too!

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  10. Since you're making comparisons to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns series, you know I have to check this one out! I need to jump on the bandwagon, so I can desperately wait for the sequels with you and everyone else. The shock value in this story intrigues me. I'm pretty confident I won't see the big twist coming! I'm determined to find a copy now.

    Lovely review, as always, Jen!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

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    1. Oh, you HAVE to, Marlene! I loved that series and I have a feeling this one will end up on the same shelf at home. :) And the twist is so worth it...so totally worth it.

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  11. YAY! So happy you loved this one! This comment is so insightful: "I think the issue is who do you trust when no one is supposed to know who you are but practically everyone does?" I love the way that we were surprised by deceptions as well. I struggled with the time in Teravina, and the seeming focus on the love triangle that never materialized. But I loved the political atmosphere, the second half and the ending. I can't wait for book 2.

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    1. I'm so happy you decided to give this one a try, too, despite any qualms you might have had regarding the potential love triangle. I told you it was a "love triangle that wasn't". :)

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  12. Ooh, gypsies and vagabond and vagrant?? Definitely adding this to TBR. And you really make me curious about these two men and Lia :D

    Nice review, Jen! Glad you loved it :)

    Neysa @ Papier Revue

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    1. Yay! I'm glad I could pique your interest in the story, Neysa!

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  13. How did I miss this one?! ADDING IT!

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    1. I don't think I would have missed this one, but I would have been much slower to jump on the bandwagon had it not been for a really awesome friend forcing her ARC on me. :)

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  14. This was on my radar but pretty much catapulted all the way to the top of the list following your review! I love that the books I end up liking are the ones you guys usually love so it gives me a good idea of what I need to read next :)

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    1. Oh, that's awesome! I'm glad you can rely on us for recommendations! That means a lot. And I hope you love this one as much as I did...it's pretty spectacular. :)

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  15. I am so happy we'll be on the tour together :-) Really though I'm happy you loved this one so much since I pushed it on you so much. I would have been very sad if you had not liked it. Such beautiful characters! I haven't read her Jenna series either but I plan to now too.

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  16. Another fantasy story?! Can't wait to read that! <3

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  17. I'm so so so excited for this book! Fantasy + assassins = funtimes!

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  18. I've heard a lot of people say that this and The Winner's Curse are amazing. I loved the Winner's Curse so I bet i'll love this one, too.

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  19. This will be by far one of my favorite series, EVER!!! This book is phenomenal!

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  20. This is the first I've come across this series and it's definitely going on my want list!! Thanks for the great review!

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  21. Ok...yall are definitely killing me here! Another book to love????!!! How can you do this to me!?

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  22. Dude. I am so excited for this one. It sounds amazing, looks amazing, and I'm hearing fabulous things everywhere! Great review, as always!

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  23. Why haven't I heard of this before?? It sounds amazing, every single page of it!!! Brb, going to a store.

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  24. So excited to read this--even more so now after reading your review! I also haven't read this author before (and also am now wondering why, since her previous series does sound really interesting), but your praise and the fact that you referenced The Girl of Fire and Thrones series and The Winner's Curse (absolute FAVORITES of mine) makes me beyond determined to get my hands on this book! :D

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