Here’s a book that deserves six stars:
Kiss of Deception—Mary E. Pearson
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.
Every now and then I start reading a book and just can’t stop. This is one of those books. I engulfed the DRC in one day—one afternoon/evening, really—because it contains one of the biggest who’s who mysteries I’ve read in YA.
A prince and an assassin follow Lia, a runaway princess, to her hideaway town. One's named Kagen and the other's Rafe, however the reader doesn't find out who's the prince and who's the assassin until halfway through the book. It’s simple but brilliant to keep their identities a secret, so the reader’s guessing: Is Lia falling in love with the prince or with the assassin? When she’s alone with Rafe/Kagen, is he the jilted prince or the assassin who’s trying to kill her? Pearson does a great job keeping the reader guessing, with hints and misleading and general confusion. It drove me positively insane, in a good way. It’s a marvelous yet frustrating ploy. And just when not knowing became unbearable, the secret is divulged and it’s AMAZING.
Of course, this isn’t the only great feature of Kiss of Deception. This writing is solid and clean with clear descriptions. Lia’s strength, stubbornness and forthrightness make her an exceptional, fierce yet relatable female lead. The intricacy of the world—it’s nations, peoples and religion—make it seem real and interesting even while the cloud of coming war make it dangerous. The play of the characters and the depth of their relationships with each other made me cringe and cry. There were sisterhoods and sibling relationships and new-found loves and each one was deep, real and expertly weaved into the overall plot.
Also, I tear up plenty at the end of books and every now and then I cry during a heartfelt climax, but I can’t remember the last time I outright bawled at the end of a book. Kiss of Deception made me ugly cry, which is a true feat. No spoilers, but the moment was emotional, heart-wrenching and unexpected but as I reached for the tissues, I kept reading.
This novel is a strong start to a planned series and the cliff-hanger at the end already has me clamoring for the sequel even though Kiss of Deception has yet to grace the bookstore shelves. However, I only have TWO DAYS to wait for its release, as it will be on shelves this Tuesday, July 8th. Yay!
Kiss of Deception is a 6 out of 5 stars book, and I can’t wait to stroke its spine and smell its pages and wrap it (carefully) in my arms and yeah, I’m a book geek. But I’m a passionate, unapologetic book geek.
My recommendation: READ THIS BOOK. (Especially if you like fantasy and/or well-done love triangles and/or big reveals and/or fierce female leads.)