Review: ‘The Kiss of Deception’ by Mary E. Pearson

Review: ‘The Kiss of Deception’ by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Genres: Fantasy, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on 2014-07-08
Format: Hardcover
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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 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.

I was so ready for this book. I had seen great reviews for it across the blogosphere, and everyone was basically raving about it. So of course, I fell victim to the hype monster. How couldn’t I? It had everything that made it my kind of book:
☑  Royalty, Fantasy World with Ancient Influences, Love Interest(s), and even a MAP

If I saw negative reviews somewhere amongst the sea of positivity, I quickly clicked away — because how could the book be anything but amazing? Yes, the hype monster had me deep in its clutches.

But to say that The Kiss of Deception let me down simply because there was too much hype surrounding it would be a lie. The contents of the book itself were at once disappointing and infuriating.

As I was reading, I kept waiting for the book to really start. Things were happening, sure, but nothing as excitingly as I had been imagining. The first half or so of the book was rather slow and decidedly less important to the plot. I was trying desperately to connect with the characters, but I was failing miserably as no character stood out to me or really seemed anything other than average or stereotypical. The world-building was sound, but only mildly interesting. Though there was a good deal of romance in the first half, I found myself stuck on the wrong side of the love triangle, so I wasn’t satisfied with it by any means. Meanwhile I plodded through the book, bored with how Lia’s life was going nowhere (though she had so much potential), and how everything happening was so predictable. I even foresaw when I thought the major plot twist would occur — and it even seemed to be happening as I thought it would. And then… EVERYTHING CHANGED.

“…soon the day would cleave in two, forever creating the before and after of my life, and it would happen in one swift act that I could no more alter than the color of my eyes.”

Straight from the horse’s mouth itself (a.k.a. Lia)! Of course, this quote is from the first page of the book describing what the arranged marriage would have done to her life, but I think it mores aptly applies to what happens at approximately 60% through the book when EVERYTHING TURNS ON ITS HEAD. (cue book being thrown violently across room)

Now, I will attempt to describe my feelings about THIS ACT without spoiling anything. My main problem with this plot twist has to do with the well-known and simple concept of the ‘Author-Reader Contract’. I almost never have any qualms with anything an author choses to do in a book, but there are occasional glaring violations of the unwritten rules of fiction writing that leave readers feeling abused. And this, in my own personal opinion, was one of them.

How do I know? Well, maybe it was because I had so much difficulty appreciating the second (better) half of the book because I was stewing with anger and confusion. The rest of the book picked up the pace, adding in a lot of action, traveling across the continent to exciting new lands, and romance that I was actually interested in. But I could hardly enjoy this new part of the book when I could barely set straight what had happened and what the plot twist really affected.

This might sound overly dramatic to those that haven’t read the book, but the plot twist was sprung on the reader with no warning and almost no justification whatsoever. While I almost always love a good plot twist, for me, this one tainted the rest of the book. 

Well, mostly it did. By the time I had finished reading, my thoughts about The Kiss of Deception were quite muddled. After a brief cool-down period, I realized that I had enjoyed the second half of the book. But overall, the book felt to me to be two halves that didn’t quite fit together. While there were other parts I liked and disliked about the book, this is the lasting impression I was left with.

So would I be up for reading the next book in the series? Maybe I would, if it meant I got to put this plot twist behind me and be able to appreciate the next book, provided that the tomfoolery on the author’s part STOPPED. I really want to be able to like the next book for the book itself, and not to have to furiously fixate on one little part that changed everything.

I was so ready to love this book, but I finished it with very mixed feelings and a lingering sense of betrayal.


  • This book sounded so good! I hate when a book doesn’t live up to its hype! I’m sorry that you sort of didn’t like it. Good job not posting spoilers in this review. It sounds like what happened was the kind of thing I’d be dying to talk about.

    • Oh it definitely was! I was considering posting a book talk about it, but I wasn’t sure. I really do think that it could be worth the read for yourself, because the plot twist might not affect everyone the way it did me. Now that my anger has cooled a bit, I really am starting to appreciate the second half of the book more, and I can’t help but think that the rest of the series could be good. But it’s hard to trust that the author won’t do the same kind of thing again!

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