Author: Mary E Pearson
Publication Date: July 8, 2014 (Macmillan – North America)
Genre: YA, high fantasy
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: 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.
☆: 4.5/5 stars – a really awesome new series has just begun!
Review: Definitely different fare from Pearson, whose Jenna Fox series is the only work I’d read from her so far. I’m happy to say that “The Kiss of Deception” blows all of her previous work (that I’ve read) totally out of the water, and adds some more wonderful content to the very small YA high fantasy canon. With Lia as a wonderfully dynamic character leading the charge, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drooling over the next installment and wanting it right now. If you’re looking for some awesome new YA high fantasy with a great female MC (or even if you’re not), go ahead and give “The Kiss of Deception” a try.
The weakest area of the novel? The world. While the world itself was very rich in sensory imagery and language, the backstory of the world – the worldbuilding itself, essentially – had holes. What caused the events that lead to the Remnants themselves, and the creation of Morrighan and its neighboring nations? We’re given bits and pieces as apart of Lia’s own arc of diving into the mystery of her own heritage and translating the book she stole upon her flight from Morrighan, but I definitely think we needed more to really seal that foundation for the world. However, I did read an early ARC, so it could be that this has changed upon publication. I do hope it has. I also know that the mystery will be stretching out into future books, and I can’t wait to find out more about the world itself, and how it all connects to Lia.
Also, the magic part. More on the magic, please.
But I think one of my favorite parts of this book was the very relatable theme of finding oneself – especially in a world that has already decided who you are, and knows that version of you that they themselves invented. This is a variant on the “finding oneself” theme that’s so often rife within the YA genre, but the spin that Pearson puts on it makes it an incredible read, and makes oneself wonder – like Lia, on a smaller scale, has the world already decided who you are, and sees you a certain way? There’s so much in that question, and Pearson definitely makes the most of it with dragging us across a desert, making a life in a whole new city, giving us a pseudo love triangle, and more to helping us figure out who Lia is along with Lia herself.
Speaking of the pseudo love triangle – that’s what it really was. At first, I hated the idea that it would be there at all. And then how things unfolded -all I can say is good job, Pearson, for pulling a fast one on all of us there. And I’m so glad you did. The desert scenes were among the best in the novel, and really showed Pearson’s approach to the two love interests – as in, made them two paths Lia could take. And Pearson – through Lia – lets us know which paths there are to take. The reason she left, or the reason she might die? Her nearly forced upon future, or a free future as an outlaw? And between these two paths, further self-exploration takes place.
And finally, the most awesome part – the sensory language and imagery. This is what really drew me in, aside from Lia’s character. This is what the world rich, the main cast great, and generally, made me want to stick around. It was definitely quite a few steps up from the “Jenna Fox” series, and I felt this is where Pearson grew the most. It sucked me in, and I didn’t want to let go by that final page. Hands down.
Final verdict? If you want more awesome female-fueled YA high fantasy a la “The Winner’s Curse”? Go for “The Kiss of Deception”. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the year so far, and I hope it is for you guys, too. “The Kiss of Deception” is out now from Macmillan Children’s in North America, so go check it out when you get the chance!
And be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the blog tour:
The Kiss of Deception Blog Tour Schedule
Monday July 7
Icey Books (Review)
The Starry-Eyed Revue (Guest Post)
Tuesday July 8
Adventures of a Book Junkie (Review)
Cuddlebuggery (Guest Post)
Wednesday July 9
Two Chicks on Books (Guest Post)
Thursday July 10
Winterhaven Books (Review)
Tales of a Ravenous Reader (Guest Post)
Friday July 11
Alice Marvels (Guest Post)
Monday July 14
YA Bibliophile (Review)
Bewitched Bookworms (Guest Post)
Tuesday July 15
That Artsy Reader Girl (Review)
Jenna Does Books (Guest Post)
Wednesday July 16
My Friends are Fiction (Guest Post)
Thursday July 17
Birth of a New Witch (Review)
Good Books and Good Wine (Guest Post)
Friday July 18