Just Finished Reading ... The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson

The Kiss of Deception
by Mary Pearson
To be published by Henry Holt
on July 8, 2014

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My take:  As you may know, I'm not a big fantasy reader, and as such, I'm really picky about the fantasy that I read. I look for fantasy books that have a strong plot line, interesting characters, and a rich, well-developed story world, and this book met all three of those criteria. It also kept me completely absorbed on a flight, and I hate flying.

What did I like about this book?

Lia, the main character
Lia has been betrothed to a stranger to seal an alliance between her kingdom of Morrighan and the neighboring kingdom of Dalbreck. But by the end of the first chapter, she's a runaway bride, fleeing her wedding and her kingdom with nothing but a few belongings and the company of her maid, Pauline. The two of them escape to a small fishing village and start a new life as tavern maids. Lia was a fantastic character -- brave and rebellious and resourceful, willing to do whatever it takes to secure her freedom.

The guys
Just as in another of my fantasy favorites, the Grisha trilogy, there's more than one compelling guy. The story is told in alternating first person point of view, alternating between Lia, the prince (Lia's fiance who was left at the altar) and the assassin. So, one guy wants to capture her and bring her back, the other wants to kill her, and as you read you're not sure which is which. I had my theory (which turned out to be right) but the book did keep me guessing.

Note: There has been some disagreement among other early readers as to whether this situation feels like a love triangle. I'll admit, the romantic part of the story did seem to drift in that direction, as Lia befriends both guys, and worse, both guys seem to have a thing for her. If that is the way you define a love triangle, then, yes, there is one. But I don't think this installment feels super triangle-y in the classic YA sense, and I don't really see Lia as the kind of girl who'd go all moony over two guys, and I hope I'm right about that. If you've read this, give me your take on the triangle situation in comments...

The intrigue and deception
As the title indicates, this book is all about deception. Lia is pretending to be a tavern maid, and both the prince and the assassin are pretending to be people they aren't. All this makes for an interesting plot. There's also political intrigue, and some magical elements that I'm sure will be more developed in future books.

The verdict?
Not only am I picky about fantasy, I've become pretty picky about YA trilogies as a whole. I now see first books in trilogies as blind dates -- I'll read the book and then decide if I want to continue to pursue a long-term relationship with the story. Kiss of Deception has definitely won me over and I look forward to reading the next installment. Whether you're a diehard fantasy fan or, like me, not all that into elves and goblins, I definitely recommend giving this one a try!


  1. Argh, I certainly don't know what to feel about this now! I really don't like it when romance takes over a fantasy, and I certainly don't like most love triangles unless it's written well a la Cynthia Hand, but at the same time, I want to be able to experience the "guessing game" you guys had with this book. It sounds so intriguing, and I don't think I've read something like that before, where there are multiple POVs and you only have one POV (Lia's) to decipher who ones the other two. Awesome review, Jen! I definitely need to make up my mind soon, but I think I'm leaning towards trying this out...

    Faye at The Social Potato

  2. Amazing review! Everyone has been raving about this book for a while now, and I'm super excited to when it comes out! Mary E. Pearson really had me adoring her Jenna Fox Chronicles series, so I'm sure that this will be another favourite. I'm very picky with fantasy novels as well. I'm not much of a fan, but there are those unique ones that have me going mad. I'm glad that you thought that this was a great read for you!

    Michelle @ A Thousand Lives Lived

  3. I wasn't particularly a huge fan of this book mostly because I was expecting it to be more fantasy and less romance and I personally felt like the romance was a bit too much. I do love reading romances, but for some reason, I had a huge huge problem connecting with any of them. The book did get interesting towards the end though and I think I might eventually try the next book but only if I hear that the love triangle doesn't rear up again. As for your question, I'm not sure if the love triangle will come back again, but you can never be certain these days!
    I'm glad you enjoyed this one though.
    Lovely review! :)

  4. Oooh nice review Jen, I like how you picked out aspects of the book you liked and described them. I think I actually might pick this one up and hopefully it turns out great. Like the plot line a lot :)

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  5. I'm in a real fantasy kick as of late myself, so this one has now jumped into the TBR list, even with the hints to love triangle...
    Thanks for your review, Jen!

  6. Now I am dying to read this book!! I've read some amazing things about it, but none as good as yours.
    So, thank you very much! Can't wait to read it!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  7. Great to hear it won you over and that the friendship with the two guys didn't turn it into a complete love tirangle

  8. This is the first I have heard of the book and now I am super intrigued. I LOVE fantasy YA and this book just sounds like it's right up my alley! Thanks for such a great review!

  9. Wasn't this fantastic??? It blew me away!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  10. I loved this one and I'm so glad to find that it was a win for you too even though you don't normally like fantasy. Great review!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    1. Also I wanted to say that I think this qualifies as a triangle...not because Lia is into both guys--cause that's not exactly the case--but because both guys seem to have some kind of connection with her. I don't think the main female's feelings are the only thing that determine a triangle. Thanks for stopping by my WOW earlier!

      Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  11. I am so glad you liked it :). I have had it on my TBR list for a while! I love Fantasy, so I will probably love it anyway :)

  12. Ooh, count me in! I LOVE fantasy, but I'm pretty picky. I don't like committing to 400+ pages of boring reading, so I do have a lot of things I want a fantasy to meet. Awesome characters is the first. So I'm pretty excited about this one now!

  13. Great review! I love the fantasy genre, so this one sounds right up my alley. I'm glad you liked it…I'll definitely be checking this one out soon.

  14. Great review! I absolutely loved this one and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I'm pretty picky about fantasy as well, and I was skeptical when it came to the dominant romance, but like you it won me over in the end! :)

  15. Hmm, I am not a huge fan of love triangles and I am not really a fan of romance taking over the fantasy side of the novel--I think I'll still be picking this one up because of the gorgeous cover and intriguing concept--but I'll be more wary when I do read it.

    Lovely review, Jen! <33

  16. YAY! I have heard lots of great things about this book. I must read it soon.

  17. I started reading this one and felt it was a little too fantasy for me. I really love fantasy, but sometimes it just gets to be too much and I lose the story in between all of the details and world building. But I've recently been reading almost strictly fantasy and feel like I need to give this one another shot. Everyone says it's really good and I really want to agree with everyone about this book. It just sounds amazing.

  18. I put this one aside because the beginning was slow. I was hoping the audio would be released yesterday but I can't find it. I'll have to start it up again soon.

  19. Yay, I'm glad this fantasy swayed you. It really is pretty epic. :)


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will share your thoughts on this post!