by Mary E. Pearson
Source: Bought (B&N)
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.
This is yet another book that has been making the rounds of the blogosphere as of late. Everywhere I turn it's Kiss of Deception this or Kiss of Deception that. So, naturally, I had to give it a go.
Before I read:
Initially, before even starting the book I had some reservations.
1. This was obviously a book focusing on romance. Sure, the summary makes it sound like there is a lot of adventuring and unlocking of secrets, but from what reviews I've read, the men are a big focus of the story.
2. Love triangle. These actually don't always bother me, so long as it's done well. And by done well, I mean she chooses. Sure there can be tension between her and the other guy (because he's obviously going to be uber hot, amirite?), but she still knows who she wants.
3. Perhaps the most serious of reservations was my hesitations towards Lia. You can see right there in the summary that she flees an alliance. FLEES AN ALLIANCE! Alliances are to smother tensions and prevent countries from killing each other. HOW CAN I GET BEHIND HER ABANDONMENT OF HER COUNTRY? It's selfish. Obviously tensions are high, which is the reason for the alliance in the first place. But, I also totally feel her. See? I'm not completely cold hearted. So, while a bit hesitant, I went into this book with an open mind.
Those reservations were unfounded.
Well, at least somewhat.
This book was good and it was enjoyable, but I wasn't head-over-heels either. It was just solidly enjoyable.
Somewhat unfounded reservation #1 - This one is somewhat unfounded, not because the romance isn't an integral part of the plot, but because that is not necessarily what Lia focuses on consistently. The romance is integral because you don't know who is who. Therefore, the boys play a big part. BUT, Lia isn't sitting there constantly mooning over them. She's got her own life to live. Now, do the boys entrance upon said life often? Yes. But, eh. I'm not going to say no to two mysterious men.
Somewhat unfounded reservation #2 - Yes, there is a love triangle. And no, you don't immediately know who she is going to choose. However, she does choose. She even feels bad when she feels that she's played on the other's emotions. Sure, the other is ridiculously good looking too, but, though there may be some instances, she still knows. Good for her.
Also, what I really loved about the love triangle, and it actually kept me reading, was the fact that you don't know which boy is which. That's right. This is a guessing game. You know a prince and an assassin are sent for her, but since both are hiding secrets, you don't know which is which. I thought I might've guessed, but then I kept psyching myself out thinking "well that's what she wants you to think" sort of thing. I enjoyed it.
Somewhat unfounded reservation #3 - I ended up liking Lia a lot more than I thought I would. Do I agree with her decision? Eh. But I also don't necessarily fault her for it either. Her brothers were given plenty of freedom, but since she was a "first daughter" she was restricted in many areas. I can't hate her for wanting choice. And this girl is fiery. She's got a sharp tongue that can bring a man to his knees. But, what I really loved about her was how hard-working she was. This trait is what redeemed her in my eyes. This chick knew exactly what kind of life she was getting into by leaving. She knew she wouldn't have attendants or an overabundance of food. She knew she'd have to work.
And she did it anyways.
I've never seen someone enjoy work so much. I envied her. She went at it with such vigor that I couldn't help but root for her.
SLIGHT SPOILER: Though, as much as I love her, I do have to say this though: What did she think would happen? She's almost surprised when she hear's stories about threats of war, etc. It was incredibly naive of her and she comes to regret her actions far to late. END SPOILER.
However, this does bring me to a couple of things that made this book good but not great.
1. So, as you know, you're not supposed to know which guy is the assassin and which is the prince. This kept it fun and interesting, but also made me realize that there aren't many differences personality-wise between the two. Also, though this does focus on romance, I also didn't feel like we got to delve deep into either personality enough to get me to love either boy. Neither guy is really fleshed out. Maybe this is because they are both hiding their identities in this book. Hopefully the second book, since you learn at the end of the first one who's who, will delve deeper into their personalities. Also, kinda insta-attraction. It's why the assassin doesn't kill her right off (crappy assassin in my opinion).
2. Nothing really happens in this book until the end. The first 3/4 are of Lia's new life and the secretive boys. But the plot doesn't really kick into high gear until the last quarter. The first part was interesting, then it goes through a bit of a dry spell where I wasp like "LET'S GET A MOVE ON!". But it's this last part where we're finally going somewhere and doing something. The plot is finally moving forward.
Alongside the plot not going anywhere is the world not really being delved into. The world is described and there is a map (lots of extra points for that), but the history isn't delved into. Now, I'm assuming this is following the trope of lots of discoveries and her being lied to or something or other, but still. It could've been delved into a bit more. Again, the history of the world goes alongside the plot where it doesn't really pick up till the last quarter. However, I really did enjoy those little tidbits taken from some of this worlds books in between the chapters.
Ohhhh how could I forget?! I was so caught up in talking about the plot, the boys, and Lia that I totally forgot another plus in this book. Bindi, Gwenyth, and Pauline. Bindi is the somewhat cross, but really a sweet momma bear owner of the inn/tavern. Gwenyth, the saucy and mysterious barmaid that tells Lia like it is. And Pauline. Sweet, naive Pauline. What I liked most about her was her relationship with Lia. Though she was Lia's servant, they both treated each other as equals and were good friends. Love it.
This book was enjoyable. I ended up liking Lia more than I originally thought I would and liked the guessing game when it came to the guys. However, I believe the lack of plot movement and the fact that I wasn't head-over-heels for either of the boys kept this from being great. However, the last quarter, when things start moving and Lia becomes incredibly determined and really shines and we start learning more about the world and it's history, I got interested. I'm definitely looking forward to book number two.