Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

June 17, 2017

Review | The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Review | The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., July 2014
Pages: 486
Format: Hardcover
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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.

All too often, fantasy books fall into a cookie cutter plot: girl runs away, boy chases her, magic happens, they save the day. The Kiss of Deception isn’t one of those books.

To start, the girl’s motive for running away is a good one. Princess Lia is moments away from an arranged marriage to a prince she’s never met and would rather not, thankyouverymuch. Her decision to run when the opportunity presents itself instead of dithering about whether or not she should (something I would do), won me over. She’s quick, decisive, but yet ultimately, a sheltered princess.

She’s quick, decisive, but yet, in the end, a sheltered princess. Her intent is good, but her experience outside the palace walls is limited. I liked that Pearson didn’t try to shield that side of her protagonist. Instead of expecting everyone to jump at her whim, Lia rolls up her sleeves and pitches in. A working, warrior princess is my kind of gal.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I will likely say it again, but I’m no fan of love triangles. However, in The Kiss of Deception, it worked. I would have been just fine without it, mind you, but Pearson’s treatment of the plot device fit it well into the story, instead of throwing it in to make a little more drama. It hooked me in and even now, I can’t wait for The Heart of Betrayal to arrive at the library SO I CAN FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED.

For me, that right there is why The Kiss of Deception is a winner. Sure, it had ups and downs. Sure, the narrative dragged a bit. But it’s that driving urge, that need to know what happened to these characters that I can’t help but cheer for, that will keep me hooked on this series long after I’ve finished.

4 Stars

Posted June 17, 2017 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 20, 2015

Review | Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Review | Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, #3
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., June 2014
Pages: 422
Format: Hardcover
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The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


There’s no way around it: I was a little apprehensive about reading Ruin and Rising. What if the series ended badly or, like some I could mention, the love triangle ruined what could have been an amazing ending? I know, I know – the arrogance of the reader. I finally took the plunge last week when I saw this gorgeous book lingering in shelves and snagged it.

It was a little odd how many guys wanted Alina. They weren’t all madly in love with her (that would have been a love…square?), but it felt a little silly at times. I appreciated how they wanted her for different reasons: Nikolai and the Darkling wanted her, partly, to further their purposes, but Mal wanted her for her. That variety made the relationships/love interests easier to understand.

I admired how Bardugo made Alina almost intentionally imperfect and, in emphasizing her flaws, built up her character even more. Her struggles with the light and the dark, the constant tug of war in her heart and mind, made Sankta Alina more of a person. This war inside herself is something that’s easy to identify: we’ve all struggled with something along the same lines: deciding who you want to be and then becoming it.

As for the storyline itself, whoa. Bardugo filled page after page with unexpected plot twists that kept Ruin and Rising on my mind. Bardugo addressed each issue she brought up throughout the series and tied each off so the book, fantastic on its own, stands as an epic series-ender. She left me wondering how the characters are doing now, where they are, and how life has treated them. I look on them fondly, which to me is the mark of a well-written story.

5 Stars

Posted August 20, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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