Book review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

kiss of deception coverThe Kiss of Deception

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Holt/Macmillan Children’s

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.


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. In The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

What I Liked:

The second half of the book. I’ll get into what I thought about the first half later, but holy chalupa, did I ever enjoy the second half of the book. Once the author reveals the identities of the assassin and the prince, the pace picks up and the plot gets interesting.

I also liked the world building. The universe that Ms. Pearson has created seems very interesting. I’m curious to see the history behind the three nations. I’m also curious to see how they intertwine in the future.

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There are some interesting stories there, I’m sure.

What I Didn’t Like:

There were quite a few things I didn’t like. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a fan of the entire first half. It was very slow (too slow for my liking). And while I understand that the author wanted to keep the prince’s and the assassin’s identities secret in the beginning, it made for very confusing — and yes, annoying — reading. The multiple first person POVs was not something I enjoyed. I’m okay with two alternating first person POVs, since in many cases the author can make that work. But three is pushing it. Five — since the author kept the prince’s and assassin’s identities secret — was too much. To make matters worse, Kaden and Rafe sounded nearly identical. Now, I understand the motivation behind this (secret identities and all that), but the result was that they just sounded like the same person.

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And I for one would’ve liked to have known up front who the assassin was, if only to see the juxtaposition between his thoughts as the assassin and his actions as Kaden or Rafe. (I’m not telling you who he is, hehe.)

The supporting characters were fairly weak. There were some interesting characters in this world, but we don’t really get to see any of them. Gwyneth sounds damn interesting, but we get nothing more than a passing glance. Which is unfortunate, because she seems fascinating. And really, what the hell was up with Enzo? Was he in the book just to be a plot douchebag?

Ultimately, I wasn’t a fan of the first half. I found the multiple POVs to be distracting and the pace to be too slow. If I’m being honest, I almost DNFd the book because of the first half. But I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. Because the second half of the book is good. No, seriously. It’s really good. (Though the love triangle thing is a bit cliched.)

My Thoughts:

I had mixed feelings about this book. I wasn’t a fan of the first half — and I’d actually thought about DNFing it a couple times. But I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did. For me, the second half of the book was more than worth it. The sequel is being released in 2015, and I plan on reading it.

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I can only hope that it’s more like the second half of this book than the first.


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