Author: Mary E. Pearson
Provided Synopsis: 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.
Review: Unfortunately, no matter how much interest I began to develop for this fantasy world there were many major problems with this book that lessened my reading experience. But for now, I will start with the good. What I liked about The Kiss of Deception was the world and the development of the main character, Lia, who flees from her duty as a princess right before she is to walk down the aisle of her arranged marriage to secure an alliance between kingdoms. The kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbreck need to join together to fight against the straightening barbarian foe, but Lia desires love and the chance to live as she chooses. So while the reader and she are aware that the reasons for fleeing are selfish it is impossible not to root for her to find the freedom she craves. Eventually, the consequences of her actions reveal themselves, and this leads to a road of character growth later on. The passages of reflection and the fire to achieve justice were some of my favorite in the book.
In terms of magic in this fantasy world it is commonly believed that Lia has “the gift” of sight. But she does not, and this is another reason why she flees her marriage rather than allow her new family to believe she holds a card they cannot play. Towards the end more is revealed about “the gift” along with verses from stories spoken by the ancients. Every good fantasy story needs some gods, magical abilities, and prophecies; this book shines when the author finally begins to delve into that area. I can only hope the reader learns more about the history of the world and these prophecies in book two.
On that note, we are therefore presented with one of the major problems of this book: pacing. For about half of the story the central characters are stuck in the town Lia has fled to. Then, the author made the decision to keep the true identities of both young men who have come to find Lia a secret. The prince she has spurned has come to find her and so has an assassin from the barbarian kingdom; both do not tell Lia who they are, and the author decided to do the same to the reader. I have never wanted a book to be spoiled so badly before as I became frustrated with not knowing; eventually I skipped ahead just so I could figure out the identities and know which boy it was clear she favored.
Because yes — there is a love triangle in this book and it weighed the story down terribly. It was so clear that she preferred one boy (her best friend even noticed it after she observed Lia with the spare one for barely two minutes) but the author still had to do this to us. I have grown so weary of the triangles, and I know others have too, so I feel it is only right to warn you that there is one present and that it is exasperating to watch it unfold. If Lia is unable to get the one she has a connection with out of her mind then allow her to be faithful to him rather than pushing her to spend time with the other one. This triangle trope is tired, and this book really suffered because of it.
(I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is July 15, 2014.)