The Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson (Goodreads Author)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 assasin 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.
My review: 10/10
This book was nothing like I'd thought it'd be. From reading the synopsis, I thought, Okay. Standard, love story, girl of priviledge wanting to be free of that life, etc etc etc. Nothing new here, completely predictable, but I can accept that if the author can make me connect with at least one, preferably more, characters. Yes, my expectations were extremely low.
About a quarter of the way through, I was thinking, okay well things are progressing along as expecting. Yes it's predictable, but I wasn't thoroughly set on which one she'd choose. I mean, she seemed to have made her choice, but it didn't seem cemented. And what was better, it didn't seem like an easy no brainer for once! While the characters were all likeable enough, what I really connected with was the history of this world and their kingdoms. Typically, I'd get frustrated with a tiny morsel of backstory given here and there at the beginnings of random chapters, in the form of song or poem stanzas etc, like breadcrumbs leading hansel and gretel through the woods toward a big unveiling. I don't have much patience for that. But Ms. Pearson still managed to captivate me with the themes of hunger and magic and the eery nonsense from an unknown land. I happily read on.
About halfway though Ms. Pearson pulled the rug out from under me with a twist I never saw coming. I'm usually pretty good at suspecting these things, or maybe most other authors are just horrible at planting them. I don't know, but she got me. At first, I thought maybe these were typos. I did get an ARC, so maybe it was a mistake. But they just kept coming... how could this many be missed?! I had to accept the fact that I'd been fooled. I was so convinced that at some point, she said something that confirmed my beliefs and it had to be wrong. It had to be incomplete. How could I have been so thoroughly convinced of one thing and then HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK find out I had assumed wrong and everything I thought built on that?! I started reading backward, chapter by chapter until I was convinced that Ms. Pearson had Jedi-mind-tricked me, but that I had walked right into it. Oh, so well done. *roung of applause* I loved it. And the result suited my sensibilities better.
I read on and on and on and on. Despite the fact that I was sick, despite the fact that my head was pounding and I had class in the morning. I could not put. it. down.
There were a lot of profound statements in this book, mostly due to their simple truths, like: "It can take years to mold a dream. It takes only a fraction of second for it to be shattered."
I was really surprised that the love triangle seemed to grow and intensify as the book went on. It seemed that the choice should be obvious, why continue to develop an unrequited love? But Ms. Pearson did. And she continued to develop characters and make them make hard choices, she allowed them to grow and to change, naturally. All of the characters seem to have so many layers of depth, the lies and betrayal, I never get to the point where I can safely say I've got them figured out. I can't remember the last time I felt so invested in so many characters' story lines, and then, being a history lover like I am, I can't wait to unravel the mysteries and ancient stories of the people as a whole. It was such a kick to the gut to learn that the next book is not going to be released until 2015. oh, but I cannot wait!
Up until the first half I had intended to give this book 4 stars because it really held my attention and I enjoyed it. But the second half really sold me. This book gets 5 stars, a 10 out of 10 because it is one I will have to own for myself in physical format, so that I can read it again and again and again, each time, seeing things from a different point of view and learning more about their world and my own.