Title: Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 8th 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“If one can’t be trusted in love, one can’t be trusted in anything. Some things can’t be forgiven.”
This review will contain major spoilers.
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.
I have no idea why I waited so long to read this one. For some reason I kept putting it off because in my mind I thought it was going to be a cliche romance. The book got picked for a buddy read I did, so I gave it try. I’m very happy to say that I was so completely wrong about this. FREAKING LOVED IT! #teamRafe
The book starts off like a lot of other fantasy YA books. A rebellious princess, Lia, who wants to be just a normal girl. She doesn’t want her title and she REALLY doesn’t want to marry a prince that she has never even met so that their kingdoms can ally.
Lia talks her maid into making a run for it and a new life as a barmaid in a little town. Obviously, she didn’t do an amazing job at covering her tracks because she has an assassin and the prince on her tail and they don’t have to look to long before they both catch up with her. However, neither of them reveal themselves or act on anything as they had planned when they meet Lia. They are both drawn to that fact that she isn’t like any other girl that they have ever met (stop rolling your eyes!) and they want to get to know her a little better so they both end up staying on at the inn that Lia is working at to find out more information on her.
The characters are all great. There honestly was no one I felt great hatred for. I felt that every character had their place and none were filler. Even Lia’s maid was a wonderful character, whom I really look forward to reading more about in the trilogy. The banter between Rafe and Kaden was hilarious, I looked forward to every time they were in the room together attempting to get along but taking shots at each other left and right. Lia is a fantastic heroin. She makes a lot of mistakes, she is stubborn and sometimes downright silly but she is 17 years old. I didn’t feel like they were writing her like a 25 year old, which is the case in many YA fantasies. I loved that the author took the time to world build and didn’t rush anything. Some might find the book a bit of a slow burn, but I thought the pacing was perfect for a first book. The fact that we didn’t really get to see much about what the “gift” was and what Lia could or would do with it left me really wanting more.
Ok, now on to the spoiler part because I HAVE to talk about it. I remember being confused when I started reading this. I was having a hard time keeping track of Rafe and Kaden. It was said that one was an assassin and one was a prince. I didn’t realize at anytime that the author was being vague on purpose (sneaky, sneaky). I thought I must’ve read something wrong or too quickly and so I just made assumptions that I could have swore I read, obviously the author was banking on that since so many other readers fell into the same trap I did. So, since Rafe was fairly rude and a much darker character I thought he was the assassin all along. You can imagine my shock when it was revealed that it was golden boy Kaden who was the assassin, sent to kill Lia . It might not seem like it would be a huge twist but anyone who has read this book knows exactly how big of a deal this reveal was. It turned the entire story upside down and made you rethink everything. Well played Mary E Pearson, well played.
I am currently team Rafe all the way. I think he has more charisma and is more mysterious, for now at least. Kaden was too bland for me, he was your typical nice guy, so he didn’t particularly interest me. Although, now that I know he is actually the assassin, everything changes and he becomes much more interesting as well. I’m curious to hear his story over the next couple books.
I have to admit I did cry when Lia’s brother was slaughtered with his men in front her. I loved her so much more that she refused to move until every last one of them was buried, she didn’t care how long it took her. Man, I love these characters! Can you tell yet???
The ending was a huge cliffhanger, so if you pick this book up you might want to go ahead and buy the entire series so you can binge on it! I just ordered the third book in the series so I can just read them back to back. GO BUY THIS BOOK! Five stars! Great way to start the year!