The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Let me be upfront about this. I did not love The Kiss of Deception. I did not hate it. However I feel like when I think back on the year it’s not going to be one of those books that springs to mind.
The draw to this book was actually the idea that there was a bit of a mystery. I’m a sucker for a mystery in the midst of another type of story. The fact that we didn’t know whether it was the assassin or the prince interacting Lia made the story have a little extra. Very early on I had a stance on who Lia should end up with, because yes from the beginning you could tell that was end game. However the way the story was set up you knew two sides of these men. Whether they were the Assassin or the Prince and who they were as Rafe or Kaden. I wanted a certain outcome. I didn’t get it, but I was half pleased. Also I figured out which was which well before it was revealed, though I kept hoping that I was wrong.
I’m going to preface this by noting that I tend to dislike characters who shirk their duty. It doesn’t mean I hate a character, but it means that they automatically have one strike against them. Lia some how managed to sway me to her side. The more that I got to know her the more I liked her. She’s stubborn, but not in a bad way. Lia is not someone who can not fend for herself. On multiple occasions we see that Lia is more than capable.
Let me address the entire running away from her duty bit. As the first daughter there were expectations placed upon her. She was royalty and her birth order meant that she was essentially a tool to build bridges between kingdoms. That means that whether she likes it she is important. I understand that it sucks that she is in a position where she needs to marry a man she doesn’t know for the sake of an alliance. However, she is still in a position where her actions of running away have an effect. I am glad that we see the effects of her actions trickle down to her. Slowly she begins to realize that maybe her actions were not entirely worth it. There are things that happen that deeply sadden Lia as a result of her actions. So while I was annoyed by her running away, it was addressed.
This book features a female friendship. Heck there’s a little brood of them all together having their backs. However it is the relationship between Lia and Pauline that is the strongest. The two are the best of friends despite Pauline essentially being her servant. Lia makes it very clear that since they are not in that position she shouldn’t treat her that way. There is a genuine care between the two girls and I absolutely love it. Pauline has Lia’s back through thick and thin and vice versa. When we see Lia distraught simply because something devastating has happened to Pauline we understand that this isn’t a superficial bond or one of convenience. These girls may as well be sisters because they love each other. It was great to see the pair of them together.
The plot was pretty straight forward. Not much happened. There were personal revelations. In fact the last portion of the novel had the most progression for the overall plot, yet it also felt like not much happened. I didn’t feel like I needed to go on that long journey with Lia. Thus even though it help. Actually now that I think about it this was more about building the characters out than building the plot. The plot was always in the background. Almost as though it was a distraction to the characters.