New to You (16): Morgan Reviews The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Morgan from The Bookish Beagle. She will be reviewing a long time favorite of mine, The Kiss of Deception! I know Morgan loves a good fantasy so  this was a perfect option for her. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (16): Morgan Reviews The Kiss of Deception by Mary PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on June 2, 2015
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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 escapes 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.

The Kiss of Deception is one of those books that had Morgan written so clearly on it that I preordered it back in 2014…. and promptly read it this year, at Andi’s urging. Darn those pesky TBR piles! Luckily it was worth the wait and I’m eager to continue the series. Mary Pearson’s writing style is detailed and engaging- I was afraid of getting bogged down in worldbuilding but she does it so well that it was easy to keep reading. The opening scene with Lia’s wedding kavah (such a beautiful sounding tradition akin to henna) sets everything up perfectly. And I always love getting glimpses of fictional history and hidden stories.
Lia is a character I loved rooting for; a lot of her actions could definitely be seen as selfish but she knows what she wants and she doesn’t go out of her way to be cruel. I was surprised that there were POV chapters from the assassin as well as the prince, but it really added to the mystery of their identities while also allowing a glimpse into their psyche. Reading a scene from all three POVs was so neat! It’s so fascinating to see what the different characters pick up on. Of course I had a ship in this triangle and if you thought it was the one where they constantly argued you’d be right haha. I didn’t love the references to barbarians and savages- it feels racially charged even if it wasn’t meant that way- but there is plenty of action, magic, intrigue, and romance to go around in The Kiss of Deception. The reveals and twists pile up quickly in the last act and it absolutely leaves you wanting more!
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Thanks Morgan for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you enjoyed you introduction to The Remnant Chronicles.

Have you read anything by Mary Pearson?

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Blog Tour: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

As a huge fan of Mary Pearson and her Remnant Chronicles series I was so excited to be asked to join the blog tour for Dance of Thieves (seriously ask someone. I emailed back a nonsensical email in about 30 seconds). I was given the opportunity to ask Mary a question and let me tell you this is harder than you think. I had so much I wanted to ask her about this world she created and how she managed to expand it and make me love it even more. But I finally decided on a question and I’m really happy I asked what I did.

Before we get to that though, let me share a little about the book with you. Also if you haven’t read The Remnant Chronicles, you don’t *have* to read them before reading Dance of Thieves. But as I have told anyone that has asked me, I highly recommend you do because 1) they are FANTASTIC and 2) you will be spoiled on stuff that happens in that series. So I recommend taking the time to read the other three.

Okay, on to a little about Dance of Thieves:

Blog Tour: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. PearsonDance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on August 7, 2018
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A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

Question

Andi: Kazi, from Dance of Thieves, is an amazingly strong female character. She is mysterious and can be cunning when it comes to getting what she wants, much like Lia, from The Remnant Chronicles. But what I loved most about Kazi was her likeability behind it all. How do you balance keeping the character true to herself but making sure your readers can see what is behind the mask? 

Answer

Mary Pearson: I think most everything always goes back to motivations. Why does a character do what she does? I tried to lay that groundwork—those “behind the mask” moments—so even when Kazi is stealing something as simple as oranges, we understand why she is doing it, from both her present circumstance and her past one.  I think understanding that motivation allows us to root for her.

Most of the time, even when Kazi is doing something questionable, she is grasping for some kind of justice, to tip the balance of power just a bit, and I think justice is something we can all root for.

I’m glad you found her lovable. I have a huge soft spot for her and what she’s been able to accomplish in spite of her horrific beginnings. She is a very different kind of hero from Lia.  Lia had to give everything up to achieve her goals, but Kazi never had anything to begin with—not even a home or family.  Instead, Kazi was a survivor, and learned to make use of what she had—her drive, her hunger, and her ingenuity—and she turns those things into a powerful force to help herself and others. And she learns to tell a good riddle too ; )

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About Mary E. Pearson

Mary E. Pearson is the NYT bestselling and award-winning author of eleven YA novels and one novella. Her works include the completed trilogy, The Remnant Chronicles, which in a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly called “masterfully crafted.” Her favorite activities as a child were climbing tall trees imagining she was a hero in some fantastical world, or running along fence tops and roofs pretending she was a spy with a bagful of amazing gadgets. She was rarely herself. Amazingly, she never broke a bone until she caught a basketball in gym class. Catching real balls was not her forte. These days she continues to live in make-believe worlds she creates in her books. Her latest 2-book series, Dance of Thieves, allows her do all kinds of dangerous things without breaking any bones. So far.

Have you read any of Mary’s amazing books? (spoiler alert…DO IT!)

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Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. PearsonThe Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on August 2nd 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Truth…when I finished The Beauty of Darkness I kept tapping (I was reading on my iPad) for more pages. I was looking for more words; I was looking for the story to continue and sadly it was over. That’s the problem with the final book in a series, when it’s done it’s done and you’re left wanting more. Especially if it a series finale as good as Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness.

This is probably the hardest book to review. It was so good and Mary did an amazing job connecting all three and that is where the problem is. All three books are so connected with tiny details and stories that it is hard to point out just what I loved most in BoD. I mean the first book, The Kiss of Deception, is built entirely on the audience not knowing which boy is which in Lia’s life. It’s hard because I can’t say which boy is my favorite and I can’t say what impact each have on Lia without giving it all away.

I guess what I can talk about was how Mary made me an emotional mess reading. Some of the story just gutted me and made me cry. It was so hard to read which is a testament to Pearson’s story telling. She really used everything she gave you in the first two books and interwove them into a final story in the life of these beloved characters. I was on the end of my seat, I was scared, I was sad, I was happy, I was swooning. I felt a plethora of emotions (Mary can attest to this because I was DMing her these feelings) and in the end I still want more. I want more of the side characters and I want more of the main characters and I just want more of all of their lives after everything that went down did.

This is probably the vaguest review I have ever written but it is truly for your benefit. Nothing in these books should be given away as it all unfolds beautifully and it is something you should enjoy while reading. If you haven’t started the series I insist you do and if you have then definitely finish it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on July 7th 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

I didn’t know what to expect from book two of The Remnant Chronicles. I mean The Kiss of Deception was a pretty epic book for me and the ending had me dying to see where it would go. But it also had me terrified. I mean a book with Heart AND Betrayal in the title can lead to NO WHERE GOOD! But also, I needed to know so I had to read it. Verdict…it was excellent! The end killed me, but really strong second book.

The Heart of Betrayal picks up where The Kiss of Deception left off. To be honest I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it may give some stuff away. Basically Lia and Rafe are being held in Venda thanks to Kaden. They are all they have and must depend on each other for survival and safety but they also must rely on deception if they want to live. Both Lia and Rafe, and even Kaden, play dangerous games of lies and half-truths in order to live. But while this is all going on Lia is also trying to figure out her life and the two men in it that lied to her. With all of their secrets out in the open, well almost all, Lia has no idea what is right and what is wrong anymore and if she should trust people or her gut or even her own gift and destiny.

I liked Lia a lot in this story. In The Kiss of Deception she was very much still a young girl that didn’t really understand the way of the world. Her eyes were open to a lot but she still didn’t see it. Not until she was in Venda and was fighting to stay alive anyway she could. For me she grew-up in The Heart of Betrayal. Her eyes were opened to things she was shielded from and saw people and things for what they were. It was refreshing to see this side of her.

I really enjoyed Lia’s relationships with both Kaden and Rafe. There are a lot of feelings and emotions on both ends. She feels certain things for each of these men that have become important to her, but she never really questions what those feelings are. She knows in her heart of heart where she belongs and with who but she has to allow herself to see that even though it is clear from the beginning in my opinion. This really helped in making Lia a great character.

Truthfully, I thought the Komizar was a total creeper. He reminded me of the guy in Slumdog Millionaire that Latika lived with and totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. But he was interesting and I was not able to really figure him out. I almost wished for more of him just so I could see other sides that were hinted at. And his relationship with Kaden was definitely one to be examined. Komizar was probably one of the most complex characters in the book by far.

All in all I enjoyed The Heart of Betrayal. I didn’t love it like I loved The Kiss of Deception, but it was a solid book that moved the story along and that makes we want to know where else Pearson will be taking us. The end was ACTION PACKED and left me dying for book 3. And it left me with a lot of questions. All I can say for sure is that book 3 will be a doozy!

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Review: The Kiss of Deception – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Kiss of Deception – Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on July 8th 2014
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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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.

Review

I had put off reading The Kiss of Deception for a long time. I bought it after I heard a lot of rave reviews but I was scared to read it because of all of those reviews. But finally I went for it. Honestly I had no idea what I was in for. I knew what the book was about, but I thought Lia was the deception part of the story. Man was I ever wrong. This book was so much more than Lia hiding from the life she didn’t want. Basically it was pretty much AMAZING!

The Kiss of Deception is the story of Lia, a Princess to the Kingdom of Morrighan. Lia lives in a world that is filled with tradition, and one of those traditions is an arranged marriage. Forced to marry a prince she has never met before Lia decides she has only one option, to run. Taking off with her friend they start a new life for themselves. But when two new strangers arrive Lia is drawn to them and doesn’t know why. She also doesn’t know that one is the prince she was supposed to marry and an assassin sent to kill her. When Lia starts to get close to one she learns of things happening in the kingdom and decides she must return home and be the princess she was raised to be. Only things aren’t as easy as they seem. And when Lia is taken prisoner Lia must figure out how to fix her world that is falling apart and not to lose the man she is falling in love with.

I’ve said this over and over again, but The Kiss of Deception is an extremely clever book. When I first started reading it I was confused and wondering if, as a reader, I would get to know who was the prince and who was the assassin. But as the book continued and it was never made clear until it was time to be made clear, I realized the beauty in that writing tactic. By doing that Pearson made me part of the story. She made me as clueless as Lia. Sure I was able to make a guess based off the small amount of information I had, but I knew when Lia knew and I LOVED that. It made the book fresh and interesting and intense.

There was also the fact that the two guys, Rafe and Kaden, were so completely different. I mean one is a prince and one is an assassin. Yet Pearson wrote them in a way that made them interchangeable even with those differences. I had a feeling who was who, but as I read I would question my gut and ask really who was which one. It kept me on my toes and I appreciate that in a book.

The plot was also really well thought out and done. I loved Lia’s story and how she wanted to be able to love her own life but how she understood duty. She wanted a voice and had to runaway to find it, but it didn’t make it any better for her. She knew in her heart what her place was, she just needed to come to terms with it.

The Kiss of Deception was a twisty, turny book of deceit and secrets that sucked me in from the beginning. I loved all the characters and the plot twists. I loved the story of Lia, Rafe and Kaden and I loved how everything unfolded. The end left me wanting more and it will made you wanting the same. A definite must read.

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