Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

This book again proves why I should always (or most of the time) read a trilogy after it is completed. Because I have no  clue how I would have waited for the sequel of this book if I didn’t already have it on hand.

It starts off with Princess Lia, First Daughter of Morrighan running away on her wedding day because she wants to live on her own terms and not dictated by the cabinet. The Prince of Dalbreck, betrothed to Lia is initially angry and stunned but also intrigued about the Princess who snubbed two kingdoms and made her choice. The Komizar of the kingdom of Venda sends an assassin to kill her so that the two kingdoms will never unite. The story follows with the three of them meeting and its unexpected consequences.

The book is mostly told in Lia’s POV but we also get to know a little through the eyes of the Prince and the Assassin. The two guys are introduced as Rafe and Kaden when they meet Lia in Terravin but we are not told who is who, so it was quite interesting to figure out the prince and the assassin among the two boys. There is a love triangle in that the two boys fall in love with her and though she does care for both of them, she ultimately makes her choice. Midway through, Lia is distraught by the betrayal from someone she trusted and after that she is devastated by more loss and heartbreak and uncertainty until the ending which is both terrifying and happy and made me all excited for the sequel.

The writing and plot pacing here is quite slow but I never ever felt bored. I quite enjoyed navigating Lia’s daily life as a tavern maid, her hopes and dreams for a life of love and her interactions with everyone around her. I really loved both the guys but still wanted the same choice that she made and the betrayal hit me just as hard. Lia’s character growth is tremendous in the second half, obviously due to the affect of the loss and she decides to abandon the life of her choice for the greater good. I will not talk about the guys, so as not to spoil the revelation but will say that they are both great in their own ways and I can’t wait to see more of their interactions in the sequel.

This book also has a great many secondary characters and all of them are amazing. I can’t remember the last time I read a book with so many great side characters. It will be an injustice to not mention them by name because I am totally in love with Pauline, Walther, Berdi, Gwyneth, Eben, Dilara, Reena, Natiya, Sven, Jeb, Orrin, Tavish. Most of them have such limited page time but they still leave an impact which speaks to the author’s amazing writing skills. The words throughout the book are simple but lyrical and beautiful and so full of feeling. I also especially enjoyed the Song of Venda and the last words of Gaudrel and Morrighan because they gave such a magical feeling to this world. The world building is not very extensive but we are told enough about the kingdoms to understand the story. The magic system called the “gift” is also not very defined and is much more spiritual and philosophical. It was very interesting to see Lia understand and finally own her gift.

I felt very emotional while reading this book. The beautiful scenes made me so happy and the sad ones made me weep….. like a LOT!!!!! The writing is full of emotion and feeling that’s why it evoked such strong reactions in me. And as I always say, any book that can make me cry will always be among my favorites. I recommend this to anyone who like fantasy books with strong female characters, swoon worthy heroes but don’t mind the slow pacing.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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