There are mild spoilers on relationship dynamics in this review.
“The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson
Quality of writing: 3-3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
How much I liked it: 2 out of 5 stars.
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.
I really wanted to like “The Kiss of Deception” because of how well people reviewed it; reviewers were making it sound like it was a mixture of “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski and “Throne of Glass” by Sara J. Maas. I LOVE/LOVED those two books, so I thought this one would turn out to be a really good read.
Sadly, it did not turn out to be all that great a read for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a well written book, but it just didn’t reach me emotionally; I was reading it fairly fast, but it was more because of the addicting writing style rather than a love for the characters and the world. I never grew to care for the heroine–there was no particular thing about her that made me like or dislike her–and I also never felt enchanted or “wowed” by the world Mary E. Pearson built. In “The Winner’s Curse,” Marie Rutkoski created such a vivid and interesting world that mixed the Roman-Greco period perfectly with high fantasy. It was elegant and intriguing, and even when the characters weren’t doing all that much, the world kept me interested in the book, and then the characters captured my heart and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Sara J. Maas’ “Throne of Glass” did that for me as well, plus Dorian was AWESOME. What made me sad about this book was that it had really good potential for emotional depth and a dynamic story, but I never got a chance to get attached to any one character despite the near five hundred pages I read. You already know that I wasn’t a fan of Lia, so let’s talk about Kaden and Rafe.
The character that I liked the most was Kaden. He was an interesting character, but sadly, he didn’t get much book time. He and Lia only had a few encounters that didn’t last for more than a page or two, and that made it hard to get to know him. The book does switch from Lia’s perspective once and a while so you can see from Kaden’s and Rafe’s point of views. These chapters, however, only last for three to four pages, which again, did not help me to get to know either guy all that well. Then something happened to Kaden, and I was kinda like,
and ended up being quite irritated at the author who wrote that happenstance. I knew it was coming (I had accidentally skipped ahead and read that part) and I was super frustrated with how it was done in “The Kiss of Deception.” The event that occurred made sense, but it also contradicted a couple of things in the storyline. I know the author purposely wrote it in that manner to “shock” her readers, but the way it was done actually compromised something in this book. This unnecessary compromise could have been easily altered by the editor or author, yet it wasn’t, and that’s what bothered me. I know what I just said was SUPER vague and probably confusing, but I am trying keep as many spoilers out of this review as possible while still stating my issues with the book. Kaden was a fun-ish character, but that plot trap/sinkhole and the fact that he wasn’t in this book all that much, stopped me from liking “The Kiss of Deception”; there wasn’t anything that completely drew me into the story.
The last main character in this book was Rafe. He was, of course, the mysterious dark stranger that the heroine fell for; Lia felt drawn to him…Hmm, sounds familiar, right? I think what really got me, though, was that Lia and Rafe really liked each other, but I was never given enough of them getting to know one another to be endeared to the relationship. I could look past the epitome of practically every teen reader’s dream-boat if I could have gotten to know Rafe better. It takes almost a hundred pages for him and Lia to meet, another fifty to seventy-five pages until they have a “moment,” and another fifty pages go by before you actually start to see them liking one another. By page three hundred, though, something happens and they discover that they are in love.
I know that some time had gone by since they first met, but it didn’t feel like enough time had passed for them to confess their feelings. At that point in the book I was bored because nothing interesting had happened, and Mary’s addictive style of writing had begun to feel a lot less addictive.
These things bummbed me out because I spent a fair amount of money to buy this book, and I had high hopes for it. Overall, “The Kiss of Deception” was a well written book, but it just wasn’t for me.