By Ekta R. Garg
August 6, 2014
Rated: Bookmark it!
When a princess runs away from home to escape an arranged marriage, she just wants to find a quiet place to live the rest of her life like a commoner. Her escape becomes the catalyst for a series of events that put the entire kingdom at risk, and she decides with great reluctance to try to help by reasserting her position. But her decision may have come too late, and she will have to deal with the consequences. Author Mary E. Pearson gives young adult readers this premise in the slow to start but ultimately satisfying novel The Kiss of Deception.
Lia resents the fact that she carries the burden of tradition. Despite having three brothers, Lia bears the title of First Daughter and must marry a man of her parents’ choosing to cement good relations between her father’s kingdom and the neighboring realm. She has lived her entire life with the knowledge that this will happen one day, and yet when the time comes Lia knows she just can’t go through with it. On her wedding day she engineers an escape with her confidante and lady-in-waiting, Pauline.
The girls head for Terravin, a town from Pauline’s childhood that holds fond memories for her. Once they arrive Lia insists that no one know of her true station, and the two become servers in an inn. The innkeeper takes them under her wing and allows them to stay in a cottage nearby. In time Lia and Pauline settle into a simple life as two friends with a fresh start.
But Lia doesn’t get the chance to enjoy a quiet life for long. Two mysterious young men arrive at the inn. Both of them have secrets, but neither of them seems eager to share those secrets. Since escaping a marriage of state, Lia has spent a lot of time thinking about what it would mean to marry for love. As the two young men begin competing for her attention, Lia wonders whether she could fall in love with one of them.
She also finds out that someone has sent an assassin her way. Lia ignores the information at first, but soon other events occur that convince her otherwise. She wants to forget her role as princess and First Daughter, but incidents drag her into the conflict between her father’s kingdom and the kingdom of the man she would have married. Life no longer seems so simple.
Author Mary E. Pearson begins The Kiss of Deception with a slow pace. The story takes time to gather speed, but once it does she will have readers strapped in and eager for the next turn. Her greatest accomplishment comes in a neat literary trick that she employs partway through the book. Readers will get to that point and want to start the book over right away to read it with greater understanding of what has occurred in the story thus far.
Pearson gives readers all of the good, old-fashioned elements of a fairy tale while transforming them into something relevant to today’s world. This first book in the Remnant Chronicles will receive a sequel next year, and given the fantastic end to The Kiss of Deception readers will do well to look for the next book. I highly recommend The Kiss of Deception to all readers of YA fiction.