The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson Review

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson (Twitter)
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publish Date: July 8, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 492
Source: Publisher

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.
High fantasy holds a very dear place in my heart, which makes me extremely likely to pick up any fantasy novel - if only to search for those select few that will take my breath away. The Kiss of Deception offers up the picture-perfect premise; a princess with a destiny too difficult for her to accept without knowing her own destiny, two kingdoms destined for failure without her sacrifice and a love that could and very well might conquer all. With an author like Mary E. Pearson at the helm, we know we're in for a ride and, quite possibly, the adventure of a lifetime.

It must be said that regardless of the content of her novels, Ms. Pearson is an incredible author. She has a way of painting a world with her words, coaxing them to life and welcoming readers into remarkable new places. The Kiss of Deception is no exception to this fact. Rife with detail, the novel is brimming with confidence in its setup, and the air of the kingdoms within the pages is every bit as alive and real as we could hope it would be. Alternating between the grace of delicate and powerful quotes and the deft, heavy handed action, the world comes alive, and I was thrilled to experience yet another of Ms. Pearson's adventures.

I did, unfortunately, have a few issues with Lia's character and sense of self. On the one hand, I was completely on board with her journey to self-discovery. On the other hand, however, she made me face-palm at times because of her own selfishness. She knows what's at stake, and after we experience her relationship with her brothers, we expect a sort of unbreakable bond that will connect her to her life at home. Instead, giving little to no thought to the wake of destruction she might leave, Lia turns her back on it all. I wanted so desperately to forgive her for her selfishness due to her youth, but I felt like it overshadowed her development in my eyes.

Furthermore, I struggled a bit with the relationships within The Kiss of Deception. It's no secret that love triangles generally irk me to no end, but I can get on board if there is a clear winner in the equation…most times. Unfortunately, Lia's potential suitors emerge at the same time and become almost burdensome to the action and the unfolding of the plot, itself. While I enjoyed the polar dynamics of the two men, I felt that there was a significant lull in the story as we watch Lia's choice play out ever-so-gradually, and I struggled with that.

Overall, I wanted to be blown away be The Kiss of Deception, but I ended up being just fairly satisfied. Like I've said, Ms. Pearson is an incredible writer, and I will always read her books, but I do believe this one was a bit too tedious and hung up on certain details. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA and high fantasy, especially those who enjoy significant romantic interludes.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. You. Get. Me. Seriously, I thought I was the only one who saw Lia's actions as selfish and naive. Like you, if it's (YA) fantasy, I will almost always pick it up, and especially now with most of my favorite series ending, I'm desperate for replacements. I had really high hopes for this one, and honestly, I almost DNF-ed in the first 10%. It did get better, but my main issue kept cropping up, b/c Big Deal, and I could never fully move past it. So yeah, you are not alone ;)

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  2. Thanks for the honest review, Melissa! I have been reading many mixed reviews for this one. I think I still may pick it up since I am a huge fan of fantasy. The character of Lia sounds a bit annoying though…it's a shame she can be so selfish…I hope that doesn't drive me nuts. Great review!

  3. I felt exactly the same way about this book as you did, Melissa. Lia was a selfish and at times silly character who didn't really think through her decisions. I also had a really hard time because of the love triangle. Like you said, it was almost an impediment to the world building and the plot. There was just too much focus on the romance than I would have liked in a fantasy novel. I have to agree with you on the writing. The author is talented, but I wish she had focused her talent on the actual plot. Great review, Melissa!

  4. I've heard similar qualms about the book dragging on too long or giving too much attention to detail. However, the high fantasy concept keeps calling me to this book and I may just have to read it to see what all the fuss is about. As always, great review!

  5. Sorry to hear this novel didn't quite live up to your expectations, Melissa. It's easy to understand though with a love triangle and a main character who acts selfishly. I've heard the same thing about the love triangle in the book from another reader so I'm not surprised. Great review! :)

  6. I've read other reviews where bloggers had similar issues. It's such a shame because this book sounded really amazing, but that love triangle would frustrate me as well. I keep going back and forth about whether or not I'll read this, and maybe I will, but it's not a high priority. Great review, Melissa :D

  7. Hmmm, Melissa, your review and Jessica's now make me be happy that I didn't preorder this one... I'm still very much on the fence about reading this one. I'm SO NOT fond of love triangles at all!
    Great review!

  8. I've read back to back praising reviews of this book today Melissa, so it's always nice to read a review which offers a differing opinion. I totally understand why aspects of this book didn't work with you, I reckon that when I finally do end up giving this book a go, I too will have mixed feelings about the love triangle and some of the decisions that Lia made. I am glad that you were able to enjoy this book overall though Melissa. Thank you for the honest review!

  9. Hmm, I am not a fan of selfish main characters; and it looks like this book isn't as brilliant as I had thought. I will have to lower my expecations before going into this novel, then.

    Awesome review, Melissa! <33

  10. Like you, I struggled with the relationships in this due to the love triangle and Lia's selfishness during the first-half of this novel totally had me face-palming myself. =.= Glad you did enjoy this, though, Melissa. I couldn't find much to like about it, sadly. :/

  11. Nice review! Yeah, hearing that the love triangle is the one thing that is making everyone irritated with this one! And Lia's selfishness too, to just run away and damn the consequences of her kingdom and whatnot! But still hearing positive things too! I bought anyway!! Can't wait to give it a go, hopefully soon, but likely in August! Great review, again!

  12. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one that much, Melissa. I, personally, am a fan of love triangles, and I absolutely loved the unique take on it in KISS OF DECEPTION. Lovely review!

  13. For some reason, I enjoyed the Kiss of Deception so much that it overshadowed one of my biggest pet peeves in books: love triangles. I don't know what it was with the day I read Kiss of Deception but I was just so entranced by it and I was open to the possibility of liking both the male love interests. In a different kind of day, I would really not appreciate that the romance took lead in this fantasy novel but I was able to look past it in this book. Great review as always, Melissa! :)

  14. "Significant romantic interludes"...hmm. I wouldn't call myself either a fan or non-fan of love triangles - I think it's more accurate to describe myself as a fan of personal character development over romantic development. I can enjoy a well-written romance, of course, but I generally want that to be an added aspect of a novel, not the main one. High fantasy is my preferred genre of choice as well, and I've been flip flopping back on forth as to whether or not to read this. I think I'll have to reflect on it some more before deciding. Thanks for the helpful, honest review, Melissa!


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