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.
Mary E. Pearson is a new author to me and The Kiss of Deception was a fairly middle of the road book in my opinion. I haven’t heard a lot about this series, The Remnant Chronicles, but I wanted to give this book a read before I tried Dance of Thieves, Pearson’s more recent release.
I can review this book with just one word: ordinary. There were very few things that I outright disliked about it, but it felt like another version of a story I’ve read a thousand times with predictable circumstances that set the whole story off and common character types. I knew the premise before I read it, so I was expecting some of what I got when reading it but I had hoped for a more unique situation. Why does every princess in YA fantasy who runs away do it because of an arranged marriage? It’s just a boring trope at this point and I’d like to see it done differently. I didn’t dislike the story on a whole, but for much of the time when Lia was in the new town she settled in there wasn’t much of a plot. There was supposed to be intrigue building with the prince and assassin lurking nearby but I didn’t think there was enough to balance the fact that we followed Lia through mundane daily tasks of working at an inn for too long. Even when things started to happen and the plot should’ve picked up, it fell into a monotonous journey that lasted too long and left me bored for long stretches. The end was unimpressive, too, and didn’t leave me wanting more. However, there was a very unexpected twist in the middle of the book that I liked. Pearson did a great job of making readers believe something without actually saying it outright then pulling it right out from under us—though it did little to impress me overall.
The main character, Lia, was a typical YA heroine with nothing that made her stand out from the others I’ve read. She had a few witty and strong moments but otherwise she was completely unremarkable. As were Kaden, Rafe, and Pauline. They were the secondary characters and love interests YA fantasy readers are used to and nothing more. The sort-of love triangle was predictable but I appreciated that it wasn’t as normal a love triangle as I was expecting (because I hate them).
The writing wasn’t very impressive, but I enjoyed it on the whole. It had some nice descriptive moments but it did little to really pull me into the story and to make me invested in the characters. It’s the sort of writing that fades into the background. There’s nothing glaringly bad about it but it’s nothing that stands out. I thought the world building was underdeveloped, too, which created a lackluster setting and societies. After reading the whole book, I still don’t feel that I have a great grasp of what the world’s beliefs and traditions are. They’re spoken about and contemplated but not in ways that really explain them to readers. I liked some of the basic ideas but they needed to be expanded upon and delved into.
My review seems pretty negative because I wasn’t impressed by this novel, but I was entertained. It was very familiar and similar to other books I’ve read, but that doesn’t make me dislike it. I won’t be continuing this series, though. I’ve had Dance of Thieves sitting on my shelf longer than I’ve had The Kiss of Deception and I’m still looking forward to it. I’m hoping it will be more of a unique story, but at least I know I enjoy Pearson’s writing already.
Have you read any of Pearson’s books? What did you think?
Thanks for reading,