Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal 
The Remnant Chronicles #2

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance



Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her 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 savages. Now that she lives among 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.

My Thoughts: I will confess, the first book in this series (The Kiss of Deception) sat on my shelf for a whole year collecting dust before I finally picked it up.  In retrospect, I am kicking myself for this.  This book series is SO good.

SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read the first book (Kiss of Deception) turn back now!

Lia is now a prisoner in Venda, a country ruled by savages and a brutal Komizar.  A country that never takes prisoners.  Unless, of course, the Assassin of the country fell in love with you and he could spin it that you are a useful prisoner of war, given that you are a Princess and a First Daughter of Morrighan (something pretty important in this series).  Couple that with Rafe, who followed after Lia to save her and became a prisoner himself, and this book was filled with awesomeness.

I will say, if you haven't read the first book yet you should.  I am seriously in love with this series.  This book, The Heart of Betrayal, plays a lot into political intrigue and cunning whereas the previous book focused more on the love triangle between Lia, Kaden and Rafe a bit more with the political stuff more on the back burner.  It was definitely a shift, but I loved it.

Lia is a tough, runaway princess who knows her own mind and isn't afraid to voice her opinion.  This, usually, leads to her getting into trouble.  Regardless, I love how brave she is.  She didn't want an arranged marriage, so she fled.  When she is captured by the enemy and forced into their kingdom as a prisoner, she adapts and uses the situation.  I love Lia, seriously.  She is smart and loving and doesn't walk around the world with shutters over her eyes.

I also love both Kaden and Rafe - the two main boy characters.  Kaden and Rafe couldn't be from more different backgrounds, but each have their own charms.  Kaden, the assassin who has unwavering loyalty to his Komizar and Rafe, the Crown Prince of Dalbreck.  They are both trying to keep Lia alive and safe.  Kaden thinks that she is safest with him, in Venda and that he can protect her from everyone there looking to spill her blood.  Rafe, meanwhile, is trying his damnedest to get them out of there.

The villain in this one, the Komizar, had me torn and I both loved and hated that.  Pearson did a great job at painting a villain with multiple levels.  How, when the Komizar was young he was good-hearted and how over the years absolute power corrupts absolutely.  You could understand why people who had known him for years had pledged their loyalty to him.  You could also see how much he had changed and how some of them were blind to it.

**Spoiler Alert ended.  Safe from here on out.

I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting the next book, The Beauty of Darkness, due out on August 2016.  It is definitely on my list of books to pre-order.  The Heart of Betrayal ends with a pretty major cliffhanger that has me thirsting for more.  I can't wait to pick up the story of Lia, Kaden and Rafe again.  I love this world, I love these characters and being without them until August is going to be difficult.

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