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 assasin 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.
I can easily say that The Kiss of Deception is one of my favorite reads so far this year. I loved the characters, the story, the continual action, and yes…the romance. Once I started this book I couldn’t force myself to put it down. It made me feel happy, sad, angry, and probably a million other things but don’t take my word for it…go read this as soon as you can. I will spoiler tag this to prevent giving anything away…but if you don’t like spoilers, continue at your own risk.
As the story progresses, we are introduced to other characters. There is the Prince and the Assassin (they also have chapters referencing them as Kaden and Rafe). Now here is where Pearson hooked me even more. As a reader, you are never told who is who and I was continually guessing if Rafe was the prince or the assassin and if Kaden was the prince or the assassin. Just when I thought I had it figured out, one of the characters would make me think the opposite of what I had settled on. Additionally, Lia is introduced to these characters at the exact same time and neither of them reveals who they really are to her even though they both know exactly who she is despite her trying to keep it a secret.
As the story progresses, we find out that due to Lia fleeing her wedding day, things have gotten a bit worse between Dalbreck and Morrighan. On top of that, the Barbarians of Venda have been threatening the kingdoms and creating problems. Little does everyone realize just how much Venda has been preparing themselves to go up against the kingdoms. They have built armies and have been destroying land and bridges to keep the soldiers occupied.
While living in Terravin and working at the Inn as a maid, she begins to forge a friendship with both Rafe and Kaden. It is obvious she is drawn more to Rafe than Kaden but while that is true, she comes to trust both of them. Of course, just as things are starting to fall into place and she is happy, Lia finds out that something horrible has happened to her brother, his wife, and their unborn child, Lia decides she needs to go back to her father and ask for forgiveness as well as see if there is any way to avoid any further danger.
When Lia and Pauline begin to make the trek back to Morrighan, they are intercepted and this is the point where it becomes clear which character is the assassin and which one is the prince….I kind of don’t want to say it – so I won’t. Just know that while it is now clear who is who from here on, it doesn’t make things easier. Lia knows exactly who the assassin is because he and his band of barbarians take her away but she still doesn’t know that the other character is the prince. She still believes him to be a farmer and as she is taken away, she regrets that she may never see him again.
As Lia and the barbarians travel across the country, it is clear that the assassin is conflicted. He clearly has feelings for Lia and has lied to the group because telling them that Lia has the gift is the only way he can save her. If they didn’t believe him, they would expect her death and that is something he couldn’t go through with.
I loved how Pearson built this story out. By keeping it a mystery as to who was who in this story, I felt just as betrayed by the assassin when I found out who it was. Ok…maybe not as betrayed but I really liked both of these guys – even though I knew one of them was supposed to kill her. They both helped Lia and even seemed very normal while helping out at the Inn.
By the end of this story, my heart hurt so much for Lia. She was kidnapped, believed she wouldn’t see the man she cares about, had to watch people she loves die, and so much more. Through it all she stayed true to who she was and I loved her for that. (hide spoiler)]
I also loved how Pearson built up this world. She has a lovely way of describing everything around the characters and pulled me right into the story this way.
Please note, I have only touched on a few of the things going on in this book – there is so much more that I haven’t even talked about here just because I don’t want to give anything away AND I don’t want to ramble on and on. Trust me when I say that you should definitely pick this one up as soon as you possibly can. I will be waiting anxiously for book two to come out because Pearson has hooked me into this and I need (Yes…need) to know what happens next for these characters.
Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the early copy.