Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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.
This book was a light read and had many interesting elements. However I wasn’t impressed by some the narrative choices made in it.
The book really took its premise of the runaway princess to heart. Thanks to that Lia worked well as a protagonist. She wasn’t a warrior princess, but the narrative didn’t punish her for it. Instead her strengths like her ability with languages were valued and respected. I just really like when books show different ways of being strong which Lia definitely was.
The author’s decision to not reveal to the reader who was the assassin and who was the prince is an interesting one. It allows the reader to try to guess on their own and it’s not glaringly obvious (it actually took me by surprise). However, I think it worked to the book’s detriment. For this gimmick to work the boys had to follow a very similar path, so their chapters weren’t very distinct from each other and their voices ended up coming across as bland. It’s a shame really, because the other characters had little time devoted to them despite being far more engaging than the male leads.
The plot was pretty slowly, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. There were some points were the descriptions of rural life in this world dragged, though overall it was easy to read through them. And most of the time it worked thanks to Lia’s interactions with the other characters and how much detail the author puts into the setting. Not much happened but you cared about the little things that did because the characters also cared.
The world building came mostly from the characters rather than the world itself. This made it very focused and vivid but at the same time you kind of lost the sense that there’s a bigger world out there. Some parts of the world, like the other realms, felt somewhat underdeveloped. Given that the history of this world is one of the book’s threads, I’m hopeful the rest of the following books will improve upon this.
This series definitely has potential. I will probably get around reading the next book in the series. Though I was left with no urge to do so as soon as I closed the book.