Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review: THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 5/5 stars

This book. I haven’t been this invested in a series in a long time, but this book devoured me. This book is where Lia starts to actually reap the consequences of running away from her wedding. While The Kiss of Deception was (mostly) a joyride for her, The Heart of Betrayal is like she’s being forced to climb up a steep hill while blindfolded and handcuffed. It’s brutal and tough. I loved it, even more than the first book, and I’m so excited to see how the story wraps up in the next book.

*Spoilers ahead for The Kiss of Deception if you haven’t yet read book one of the Remnant Chronicles*

Okay, so Lia is in Venda now. The scenery in this book was so much darker than the first book. I preferred the beach town of Terravin to the stony ruins of Venda, but I will admit that we got so much deeper into the gritty details of this land than we did with any other city, and I relished building a mental city with all those extra details. Where book one was primarily character driven, book two focused a lot more on the plot and setting. I liked that, though, because we already had a good basis of who the characters are and we could dive deeper into the actual story.

On that note, I’m so excited we now know who the assassin is and who the prince is. I’ve been team assassin since the beginning, just because I think it would be funny for the princess to fall in love with the assassin sent to kill her. But I see what Pearson did, playing on the irony of Lia falling in love with the exact prince she ran away from in the first place. I kind of saw that coming, but I’m still okay with that relationship because Rafe’s pretty cool.

And Princess Lia, my goodness, what a powerful, savage woman. Maybe I haven’t read enough female-fronted fantasy, but she was a one-of-a-kind character in my eyes. I only wish I could be as tough as she is. Lia is one of my favourite protagonists of all time. She has developed incredibly since the beginning of The Kiss of Deception. She has also become more hardened, but after the situations in this book, that’s to be expected.

So Lia and Rafe are trapped in Venda, the first prisoners ever in Venda. Both staying alive by their lies, they must devise a plan to escape the impenetrable fortress and save their own lives before the Komizar, the leader of Venda, decides he’s finished with them and kills them. But he is always one step ahead of Lia and Rafe, already anticipating their next moves, making it extremely hard for either of them to accomplish anything. It was actually a bit frustrating at times because I just wanted things to happen but they couldn’t. The Komizar made me so angry, but I also sort of liked him? I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a character before.

The Heart of Betrayal is full of political intrigue, lies and deceit, tense battle scenes, secrets that could destroy a kingdom, and a few slivers of hope. There were plot developments in this book that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have ever guessed happening, and then there were some things that I rightly predicted.

I guessed partway through reading that Lia would do a certain thing by the end of the book, and she did. Even though I saw it coming, I was still shocked and giddy when it happened, and my premature knowing what would happen didn’t make it any less exciting to experience.

This book is so worth the read, and I think it’s much stronger than the first book; it’s the catalyst for the events that will take place in the third book. This series, so far at least, is one of my favorite series. It’s a classical-feeling fantasy, and I like that atmosphere. There are no magical creatures, and there’s no magic, but the series still exudes a magical quality. (I’m pretty sure I said the same thing in my review of the first book.) It’s just an excellent, well-written series.

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