Review Detail

4.8 3
Young Adult Fiction 5271
A Page-Turner
Overall rating
Writing Style
What I Liked:
The fact that The Kiss of Deception is above par became apparent early on. The opening is common enough, with a princess running away from her arranged marriage, willing to marry only for the deepest love. Where this differs is in Lia’s attitude. She feels bad about leaving. Her emotions are complex and she does worry about her family. Not only that, but she continues to worry and wonder if she’s made the right choice even when her new life working in a tavern is going so well. Though she chooses to be without her family, she does so with a heavy heart and she never forgets them.

Much has been made of the love triangle aspect of The Kiss of Deception which is honestly a bit misleading. The way that the book is set up, with multiple points of view, does make it feel that way a bit, but Lia’s pretty consistent about where her romantic interests lie. Of course, you don’t actually know which guys she’s interested in, because Mary E. Pearson is a clever trickster. The romance didn’t enter major shipping levels for me, but I definitely do not think anyone should let the idea of a love triangle scare them away from this one.

My favorite aspect of The Kiss of Deception is Pearson’s storytelling. First of all, Pearson does an excellent job with the different first person perspectives. I was able to easily distinguish whose head I was in at any given point. Plus, she writes the story in such a way that you cannot tell for sure which guy is the prince and which the assassin. Though I knew Pearson was messing with me, I was left guessing and theorizing and totally obsessed with the book to find out who was who. This gambit was quite effective at keeping the pace fast and the mood tense. I could have done without a single chapter from Pauline’s POV, but I suppose if it’s important in later books, it makes sense to include now.

On top of that, I really do admire Lia’s character arc. From a pampered princess knowing little of the outside world, she becomes an incredibly strong woman. She always had the bones for it, of course: curiosity, intelligence and daring. Now, though, she finally has the freedom to figure out what she can really do. She goes through really intense situations and she always emerges stronger and more determined. I don’t generally believe that what doesn’t kill you really makes you stronger, but that definitely applies to Lia.

What Left Me Wanting More:
For what I didn’t like, that’s hard for me to really put my finger on. There’s a semi-spoilery plot with Lia’s best friend Pauline, which so far I do not care for in the least. The romance really should have been giving me some feels, but it really wasn’t. This could have been a side effect of not knowing who the guy really was, I suppose. Plot-wise, too, the novel’s pretty simple and not too much happens. That said, the stage is set for a truly epic and dark series, if the gruesomeness and death toll in The Kiss of Deception is any indicator.

The Final Verdict:
Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception is a great start to a new fantasy series. Recommended for those who enjoy heroines strong in a way that’s more mental than physical or multiple points of view done well. I’m very much looking forward to the next installment, which will hopefully blow this one out of the water.
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