Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Published: July 8th 2014 by Henry Holt
 Rating: 4 out of 5


Available from: DepositoryBarnes and Noble



A princess must find her place in a reborn world.She flees on her wedding day. She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection. She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love..



I read this as an ARC and didn't get to review it because I was in two minds and wanted to think about how I felt about the story. I never did get that review finished. So, after the final book came out I got down to reading this again.

The story begins as Lia, First Daughter and Princess of Morrighan, is getting a wedding kavah. It's basically a tattoo that covers her back and over her shoulders, to celebrate her forthcoming marriage to the crown prince of Dalbreck, a neighbouring country. Lia was there when the very old king of Dalbreck arranged and signed the marriage treaty. If the king was that old, the prince must be middle aged. Lia has been brought up to have her own thoughts and mind but as she gets older her parents start stifling her. They tell her to shut up, behave and know her place. She also has run-ins with the kings advisers who all think she's troublesome.

Needless to say, when it comes to her wedding day she asks for a few minutes alone and uses the time to flee with her best friend and palace helper, Pauline. Pauline's family come from a small town of Terravin and the two decide its the perfect place to hide and lay low.

The journey takes a few days but the girls are cunning. They trade their horses for mules, change their clothes for rags, hock some jewels so they have money to spend for the start of their new life, and they hide their tracks thoroughly by diverting their escape in all different directions. You realise at this point that they're smart, calculating, and certain not dimwitted by palace etiquette by any means.

They reach Terravin and meet Pauline's so called aunt Berdi, who isn't an actual aunt, but the closest Pauline has for family. Berdi is the sole of discretion so they tell her immediately who Lia is and what's happened. Now they have an ally. Berdi puts them to work in her tavern and Lia and Pauline complete the hard chores with no complaints, and work nights in the bar with Gwyneth, a young woman with secrets of her own.

One day two spritely lads come through the door, take some cider and food, and sit quietly in the corner. What you know from the narrative is one is an assassin sent to kill the princess, and the other is the prince she was going to marry, and wants to get her back.

Here we begin the love triangle although its an intriguing page turning start of two very different friendships. Both the lads stay and help out with tasks at the taverns. Neither looks like they're moving on any time soon and both make their excuses as to why they stick around.

Religion plays a big part in this story. Pauline is quite devout from the first but Lia doesn't partake in giving prayers to the gods or asking for blessings. But when a holy festival comes around its the start of the deception that lingers and grows. Lia begins to see underneath the tales the boys have told. She also starts to get a feeling, a deep inner voice that tells her things and starts to guide her. This is the gift she's been born with but its one that's been shuttered away during her time at the palace. Now she's free it has a chance of reaching out, and it tells her a story of old. Bit by bit Lia starts to learn about the history of their world, it's beginnings, how it thrived and how it succumbed to the biggest downfall by the 'dragon of many faces.' Little by little we learn of Morrighan, the girl who was sold for a sack of grain. Her story mirrors Lia's, but she doesn't see the resemblance until it's too late.

Lia is kidnapped and forced to travel to Venda. The assassin, Kaden, thinks she'll be more use alive because she has the gift. His Komizar, the leader of Venda, may use her for his own means. Kaden also doesn't want to kill her, despite his orders, because he loves her.

Likewise, the prince who was supposed to steal her away, Rafe, thought he'd find a stuck up girl too prissy for anything other than palace life. Instead her finds a spirited girl, strong in her convictions, and determined that she'll only marry for love. A girl who also speaks badly of the crown prince for not having the guts to meet her before their wedding. Lia doesn't know who he is yet.

The race is on, either for Rafe to rescue the princess, and for Kaden to reach Venda before the princess dies at the hands of other colleagues, or is snatched back by the prince.

I have to say, reading this book a second time was more enticing for me because although I remembered the love triangle (which I usually hate) I actually did enjoy the anticipation, the daringness and the deceptions. The story comes from four points of view being Lia, Rafe, Kaden and Pauline so the web of the story gets equal measure around and around as it grows.

The romance I thought would be awkward is actually very good, heartfelt and riveting. Lia likes both boys for very different reasons. And the best thing, she doesn't commit, she doesn't tease, she is what she is and speaks her mind. You really do feel her pain when she finds out the truth about both of them.

The world building is exceptional, and very grand. The history, and the evanescent story of the ancients and well as Morrighan is knitted nicely into a well crafted and tidy tale. Not too much emphasis on any key factor but majoring more on Lia and her progress throughout. She is a great main character that strives for what she wants and doesn't back down. She's strong and capable, has ambitions of her own, and won't be party to doing only her duty, she thinks of others always.

The end of the book finishes nicely at the gates of Venda, when all hands are revealed. The outcome of that, the hurt, sorrow and anger will all follow in the next installment.

A great start to YA fantasy series, written incredibly well with enough to keep you wanting more.


About the Author

Mary E. Pearson is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of ten novels.  Her works include her latest trilogy, The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, and the forthcoming The Beauty of Darkness which will be published in August. The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and the other books in the series have been optioned for film, and A Room on Lorelei Street was a Golden Kite Award Winner. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband.

You can find Mary E. Pearson here:


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