The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 8th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 489

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

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.

3 Stars

A fantasy romance where the reader has to guess the identities of a princess’s suitors? Does that sound great, yes or yes? While The Kiss of Deception does deliver on the level of entertainment, parts of the book dragged and the romance was cheesy as hell. 

Caspian Susan kiss photo: Susan & Caspian Kiss tumblr_lfz7qwOKyj1qc17ifo1_500.png

I enjoyed the main character Princess Lia who shows some tremendous balls when she decides to flee her home to avoid an arranged marriage. I know this is a point where readers’ opinions divide like a split branch, but for me, whether her decision is naive and selfish or not, Lia shows great courage and stands up for her rights. Women defending their right for a love marriage rather than an arranged one should be something we regard as foremost positive before we start questioning royal duties. The fact that she can lower the comfort of her living arrangements to escape a golden cage speaks for her humble, freedom-seeking character. Her friendship with her maiden was lovely and heart-felt. Though I referred to the romance as cheesy, which I thought it was, it never overpowers the value of a strong friendship. The Prince and the Assassin are cardboard characters for me, but I was completely and utterly fooled about which one was the prince and which one the assassin, as Pearson sure knows how to lay false tracks. The guessing part is also something that keeps the reader connected in spite of slow-paced chapters, which was a smart move by Pearson.

The plot dragged a bit during the first half, but the second half was supremely more interesting and more action-packed with the pace picking up speed. All in all, the plot held my attention well enough, and I enjoyed the switching points of view as the Prince’s and the Assassin’s rivalry spins out of control. Sadly, I felt more invested in the boys’ banter than the romance. Usually, I’d swoon all over the place about fictional love stories, but this one could not captivate me at all. Partly because we get a love triangle, yes, but there was just no spark here. I believe my detachment might be due to the reader not knowing who their identities are during the development of the romance. Also, the boys are almost immediately infatuated with Lia, which is why I’ll scream “insta-love alert” from the rooftops here. The rivalry between the Prince and the Assassin provided me with some good laughs, though. These two are ridiculous.

There was a lot of this:

All in all, The Kiss of Deception combines a rather average concept with some unique elements and an entertaining rivalry between a prince and an assassin. If you like sweet but brave heroines, you do not shy away from flaring testosterone levels and love triangles, and you enjoy fantasy books heavy on romance, then I’d give this one a try.

(And does anyone agree that the girl on the cover looks like a child? So disturbing).