Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I had been wanting to read this book for years, and I finally picked it up on a whim when I was craving something fantastical to read. I'm so glad I finally read this because it was lovely and just what I needed.

Princess Lia is your typical princess, about to be given as a bride to the prince of a neighboring kingdom in order to secure a political alliance. But Lia doesn't want to marry a man she hasn't even met, so she runs away on the day of her wedding. She flees to a small town in the south of her kingdom, ready to live by her own rules. As she lives in hiding, working as a waitress in an inn, two strangers come looking for her: a prince, who Lia ran away from and refused to marry, and an assassin, whose job is to quietly kill her.

One day, Lia meets both of these men, completely unaware of their true identities, and befriends them. They both bide their time in the town, watching Lia, waiting . . . falling in love. One of the best assets of this book is that the reader does not know who the assassin is and who the prince is either. I loved trying to piece together the clues (and my speculations were correct) to deduce who was who.

This book has a classically fantastical atmosphere. While magic is alluded to and vaguely referenced, there isn't any direct magic that takes place in this book. At first I kept waiting for magical things to happen, but then I sensed the underlying magic present in the story itself, and in the writing. The magic is subtle, but if you look closely, you will find it. Nevertheless, the story still has the feel of a fantasy book.

Pearson's writing in this story is beautiful, and she writes each character with such depth. Lia goes through one of the best character arcs that I've read, changing and growing in every chapter. The story begins with her as a stereotypical naive princess, but that's the point because otherwise her growth wouldn't be as spectacular. She develops into an independent woman who can defend herself and learn from others. Rafe and Kaden also develop drastically as the story progresses, with their morals being challenged and their loyalties being questioned. The boys have to learn for themselves where their duties lie and what paths their futures hold.

My biggest complaint about this book is the map in the front. The map is clearly not to scale, and it irked me to no end. When maps are present in books, I rely heavily on them, charting my way across the world with the characters. They help me get a clear picture of where events are happening and where characters are going. But this map only confused me because of how inaccurate it is. Don't take it too seriously if you use it while reading this series because you'll just have the same problem I did.

Overall, The Kiss of Deception was quite enjoyable. I had a fun time reading it, trying to guess who was the assassin and who was the prince, and how the story would play out (because I really had no idea where the premise would lead me). I loved watching Lia grow into a strong princess deserving of her title, and I can't wait to see how BA she'll be in the next book. Book one left off at the perfect spot for book two, and I can't wait to start reading it next.

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