Saturday, January 3, 2015

The kiss of deception by Mary E. Pearson

At just seventeen years of age Princess Arabella Celestine Iris Jezelia (Lia), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan has been promised in marriage to the prince of Dalbreck - a man she has never seen, but who will help seal the alliance between their two kingdoms.  It is an alliance that completely rubs Lia up the wrong way, in no small part because she resents having to marry a man she has never even met, yet her brothers are allowed to marry for love.  On the day of her wedding, Lia flees in her wedding finery and rides as far away as she can on a swift horse, eager to get as far away from her marriage and her father as possible - because his vengeance will be swift and most likely end in death.

Free from the stuffy confines of the palace and her life as a princess, Lia soon blossoms into a strange blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary.  She discovers the pleasures of working for a living, earning her keep by working in a tavern alongside her former maid Pauline.  But even in a small fishing town by the sea she is not truly safe from her past life, because riding into town one day comes the prince she ran away from and the assassin sent by her father to kill her.  To Lia they are simply the men who arrived together - Rafe and Kaden.  Both men seem to be hiding secrets, but everyone has secrets and over time Lia finds herself strangely drawn to both men - but some secrets can be deadly, and one of them is following orders to kill her.

The kiss of deception was a surprisingly good read, a grand and sweeping saga that has all the hallmarks of one of the great trilogies or sagas.  Lia has the makings of a perfect hero, she is brave but human, she has an inner strength that workd for her and against her, and she has a hidden potential that even she doesn't know about.  The people around her have their own stories and secrets, and those secrets help provide amazing depth and layers to the story - making it much more believable and enjoyable.  One of the intriguing parts of the story is the lack of clarity about which of the two men - Rafe and Kaden - is actually the prince and which is the assassin.  There are clues as to which is which, but it does keep you guessing.

I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series because the scale and build up on The kiss of deception reminds me very much of the Elenium by David Eddings, The girl of fire and thorns, or the song of the lioness by Tamora Pierce - fantasy series that start with hints of destiny and promise and grow into the epic stories of a generation.  This is an intelligent read, one that makes you work a little and gives you clues rather than spelling things out for you which made it even more enjoyable.  Despite the fact Lia is a teenagers this is also one of those series that easily suits adult readers as well as teen readers.  Come on Mary E. Pearson, please don't make us wait too long for the next book in the series so we can see what happens next for Lia, Rafe, and Kaden.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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