Friday, July 18, 2014
Me on The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan imprint)
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 assassin 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.
The Kiss of Deception is a rather deceptive book. I thought I would read an epic fantasy set in a strange land with a runaway princess, a jilted prince, and an assassin. What I read was an epic fantasy set in a strange land with a runaway princess, a jilted prince, and an assassin, but events didn't unfold in ways I expected. I didn't take into account the threads of something far more secret and sinister twisting their way through this book, appearing here and there like random drops.
Lia is filled with worries and dreams, she worries about an upcoming future she doesn't want and dreams of something different. She is First Daughter to a king and queen, but beyond that she is nothing. She's valuable as a thing, as something to be traded, to be won, but she has no value. She is existing but not living. She is there to be their game piece, to move how they tell her to, to serve them. To play their game. But then she runs away, making a decision, making the decision that will change her life and everyone else's.
The chapters narrated by the prince and the assassin were interesting in that they added mystery to the book, and to Lia's running away and finding a new place to belong to. When you're on the run you never know who's chasing you, and here are glimpses into who they are, where they're from, and what their motives are. It isn't long until their names are revealed, but it's longer until a name is matched to a role. And I was surprised to discover that I'd guessed wrong as to who was who.
Like with most epic fantasy, I was intrigued by the world created here. So familiar with its kingdoms, its small towns, its feuds, its hidden legends. So familiar that I was bored at the beginning. A princess and her hatred of her station and impending political marriage is nothing new. And in terms of the romance I went in extremely wary of the prospect of a love triangle, then I was okay, and by the end I was wary again. But not as wary.
What makes this different is who she becomes over the course of the book, what she learns about the world she thought she knew and about herself. There is a moment when she realizes that, when she finally becomes someone, and that almost made the boring beginning worth it. Of course, the book ends with so many questions left unanswered, so many small secrets suddenly revealed and then left behind when the book returns to the main story. In the end I did enjoy this, so I'm looking forward to the next two books of the trilogy.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Macmillan through Raincoast Books.)