I’ve only done a book review one other time and it was for my journalism class. However, it was a really good book called Find Her by Lisa Gardner; a psychological thriller about a girl who survives a year-long kidnapping where she’s been through hell, but has since devoted her time to finding other girls who’ve been kidnapped and soon she herself disappears once again, which begs you to wonder, did she really survive her ordeal? I’ll probably publish my review for it here on my blog for my portfolio.
Anywayys, I was in the library over winter break because we needed wifi, but I thought I’d look around for a few random books to read. I grabbed my favorite book from childhood, Tea with Milk by Allen Say and I looked through the YA for something exciting to read. As I was skimming through the YA section, I reminisced about how much time I used to spend in the library reading books. Don’t you just hate remembering all the free time you used to have to do things or hobbies you used to have that you haven’t picked up in a while?
Needless to say, I was longing to pick up a book again and get lost in a good story. (I know that’s such a cliche.) So as my eyes perused the shelves they landed on just the right book, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. After I got it home, it kinda sat on my desk for a week before I decided to randomly pick it up and start reading it and once I did I could not, not for the life of me put it down.
This book had everything in it; romance, a strong female lead, fantasy, adventure, war, legends, great storytelling, even a little magic. So I was utterly disappointed discovering upon finishing the book that it was only the first of a series of three books called the Remnant chronicles. Disappointed that I would have to wait to find out what happened but also excited for the story to be continuing.
“But remember, child, we may all have our own story and destiny, and sometimes our seemingly bad fortune, but we’re all part of a greater story too. One that transcends the soil, the wind, time… even our own tears. Greater stories will have their way.”
The story begins with Lia, a princess of Morringhan who instead of succumbing to her duties as First Daughter to be married off to a Prince of Dalbreck she’s never met to form an alliance between the two kingdoms, she runs away with her servant and best friend Pauline, to a small village called Terravin to finally live a life free of anyone’s rule or judgment. Unbeknownst to her, the baffled prince goes off to find her as well as a trained assassin from the barbaric Kingdom of Venda, as part of a plot to overthrow all the other Kingdoms and restore Venda to glory. She finds herself caught in a love triangle between two men named Kaden and Rafe who both, despite their original motives have trouble with their feelings for a type of girl neither expected to meet.
” I knew what fireshine could do to a tongue, and I also knew the words I said in my head a hundred times a day against my will when I looked at her.”
The first book intentionally hides the identity of who’s the Prince and who’s the Assassin, which I believe added an air of excitement, and also allows the reader not to be too quick in assuming stereotypes about people because of their title. I myself was very surprised at the identity reveal, mainly because I had no idea their identities were hidden until they were actually revealed, having unknowingly assigned the identities myself in the beginning! I adore love triangles, but I can see your eyes rolling at the thought of #shipping.
Trust me, I think shipping is lame too, but the complexity and development of each character got you rooting for them, not just for whomever to be together, but for them to defeat their challenges and grow as people. And this book is much more than a romance. It’s a tale of fate, destiny, and sacrifice. This series splits the chapter-storytelling by character so you as a reader get to see the perspective from mainly Lia but also Rafe, Kaden, and even Pauline to get a fuller angle on all the in-depth multi-dimensional character developments.
Reading this series, was like watching a movie. It had me on the edge of my seat my mouth watering as the plot unfolded; new mysteries of the Kingdoms being revealed through ancient writings, lovers becoming betrayers, enemies becoming friends and there was that surprise kidnapping. I envisioned the ancient ruins covered in shrubs and vines as she escaped through the forest and hid my eyes as swords sliced flesh and blood splattered amidst war.
Mary is a very talented writer. You know it’s good writing when you’re not sitting there frowning about how something was phrased or rolling your eyes over grammar mistakes. And the storytelling was amazing. I found myself intrigued, in addition to being engulfed in this fantasy world, by the history and traditions of this land. The way she incorporated ancient writings like “The last words of Morrighan” and “The song of Venda” throughout the book was brilliant because at first they made no sense but the true meanings were slowly uncovered as the story progressed. I also appreciate the length of these books; 486, 496, and 678 pages respectively. At first, I thought, “I can’t read all this it’s too long”. But I appreciated the length because sometimes stories can be too rushed or forced, there was a little of that in book three but overall the series had a very good pacing.
There were a lot of memorable characters both major and minor. And Lia is a strong character lead. She’s intelligent, spunky, a leader, inquisitive. She roamed free riding horses and running through the forest with her brothers Prince Walther, Regan, and Bryn but as she grew into a young woman the court decided it was time for her to learn how to be a lady and she is hushed most of the time, but she is a rebel and won’t be tamed anymore. She stands up for herself. She makes a sacrifice having to choose between love and fate. She has a strength that’s uncommon for these types of books. Usually, the girl is a strong warrior like Lady Sif from Thor or Atalanta in Hercules. Her brothers did teach her a little sword fighting but her real strength comes in her leadership, intelligence, and the way she patiently strategized and carries out her plans.
“If you seek to intimidate me,” I said, holding my ground, “I’ll warn you right now that belly-crawling vermin don’t frighten me.”
My favorite character, however, was Kaden. Without spoiling the plot, I really enjoyed his character development, his personality traits like his loyalty his protection over those he cared for. I felt his pain, his wanting for something deeper, for a love as true as the love his mother shown him but stolen away from him. He seemed to at times be two different people. He had a grave yet calming demeanor at times but as you got further along in the story you see a kind and tender spirit. You really get to know the most about him in book two, The Heart of Betrayal, which is why the second book is my favorite in the trilogy. The character development is strong in this book, for Kaden, Lia, and the Komizar, the ruthless ruler of Venda.
Relationships were tossed to the side in book three in favor of duty, military strategy, traitors, and coups, and war and battle. The fight with Malich was exhilarating, the escape from prison was thrilling, the revelation of the “Dragon” was such a shocking betrayal. And Lia went from a girl longing for the simpleness of life in Terravin, and a future with the man she loves, to accepting her duty as the one to defeat the “Dragon”. There’s a hint of feminism in this book, which is great. Why should it be a girl who has to sacrifice and leave her home to marry a stranger? Why had her brothers had freedom to be reckless and play but she be limited? Why is it assumed she can’t lead an army because she’s a female? In the end, Lia was able to make a choice for her own life, using determination, her mind, and her willpower to step into the role she was meant to be, a leader.
I loved all the books. It took me probably five or six days total to read all of them, in between sleep and classes, I couldn’t put them down. I feel like I’ve never been so into a book series so much, or so captivated by a story. The author does a brilliant job writing everything detailed from the cut of a dress, a look in an eye, and describing a conversation with no words and the various settings. The secrets, betrayals, and lies seemed never ending and always left you feeling shocked and confused.
My only qualm is I feel like this story really could have worked with a fourth book. I feel like this is an issue with many trilogies because authors have pressure to tie everything up in the last book. I think a fuller conclusion needed to take place to have more character development and make us believe in certain relationships. Although I believe a fourth book could’ve been added, it’s not absolutely necessary as Mary still did a great job finishing the books.
Discover how the legends of old unfold and link the three Kingdoms in ways never fathomed and watch as Lia rises to her destiny of bringing prophecies to fruition and saving all.
I swear if this series becomes a movie, I will be so proud to say I was one of the original people who actually read the books first 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading my review!