The Kiss of Deception
Mary E. Pearson
(The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Published July 8th, 2014
Goodreads: Show Review
Plot at a Glance:
Lia, Princess and First Daughter of the house of Morrighan must flee her own kingdom. It is her wedding day and in the face of an arranged, loveless marriage Lia makes the decision to abandon all she knows in favor of a chance. A chance to make a life for herself, and a chance at real love. She is pursued across the realm by bounty hunters, sent to retrieve her and the documents she took with her as she absconded from her duties.
As the Kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbreck try and deal with the political fallout caused by her decision, Lia engages herself in small town life, settling in the town of Terravin, where no one knows her name. Unaware that the two handsome and mysterious strangers she meets have both been looking for her, Lia finds herself caught up in a dangerous game where the kiss she longs for might end up spelling her doom.
Forewarning by Bentley: This review got surprisingly passionate for me and is half a review of the book itself, and half a review of the culture on Goodreads that promotes “liking” reviews that are actually devoid of any sort of true critical examination of the content of books. Keep that in mind and please, try not to hold it against me.
This book is a triumph of its genre!
Okay, that may be overstating things only slightly (there were a couple of tiny things I took issue with) but I think it fair to overlook those small things in this case. Especially considering how unfair, reactionary and very nearly malicious I think some of the top-rated reviews for this book here on Goodreads are.
Warning: strong opinions incoming!
I want to start out here by apologizing for what’s to come. I was a bit heated while I wrote it and tried to go back after a time and pare it down a bit so as not to offend.
It’s just that I was so surprised when I finished this book and rushed to Goodreads to look through the reviews from the community only to find a spate of top-rated one star reviews awaiting me and every other person who ever looks this book up.
This is NOT a one-star book.
To imply that it is when you have thousands of people who look to you for guidance should be criminal, or at the very least, frowned highly upon by the community at large and the people that actually did read this book.
I have to wonder as to the state of mind of that particular reviewer when they read it and reviewed it. Were they in a reading slump? Are they fans of the fantasy genre? Were they looking outside of their own personal feelings about love-triangles or female main characters as they read? Were they critically examining the structure of the prose when they determined that the book was only worthy of one star??
Were they considering the damage they do when they have a large following and rate a book that is well written but did not meet their own
personal preferences expectations only one star?
When I think of the thousands of readers out there that would otherwise have loved this book, but were turned off of it by these reviews, my heart literally aches. This is how we end up with 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight people!
This is how we get books devoid of emotion and heart. Books that are poorly written and full of smirking love interests with smoldering eyes that have weak-ass main characters flopping back and forth between their convictions and their love of boys. Books that we have read a thousand times before and will read again.
It’s one thing to DNF a book and make that clear within a concise review as to why the book just didn’t work for you. It’s another thing entirely to deliver a scathing and extremely long review about said book to your thousands of followers and then point out at the very bottom in an offhanded manner that you didn’t actually finish reading it after you’ve finished humiliating a person who took time and energy to write it.
I’m not saying that we can’t all have opinions, or that this book is perfect, but to overlook ALL of the many positives within it and potentially turn off everyone who sees your review in the future is so unfair to the author, the genre and the readers who follow you. when there are WAY WORSE written books out there.
Yes, there’s a love triangle in it but if we’re being honest about it: It is extremely understated and this is also one of the rare cases in which a love triangle actually WORKS! Those of you who know me, also know that I am the biggest opponent of love triangles in YA fiction. My last review actually railed against them completely. That being said, even I could bear the one here because it works so well within this story. Not to mention that it is almost fully resolved by the very end due to Lia’s character arc.
And yes, Lia starts off in the cliche fantasy princess role, but lets also not overlook the fact that she experiences a ton of growth. The character at the end of the book is entirely changed from the naive and idealistic teen she starts out as, and that’s the point. The whole novel is proliferated by the thematic idea that events larger than ourselves destroy who think we are and change us into someone new. She had to start where she did or her arc wouldn’t have worked.
But sure, lets rail against this book and give it one star because it has a princess in it.
Also, the prose in this book is incredibly beautiful. Pearson has such a command of language. Every word is included for a reason. It’s flowery, but never to the point of becoming purple prose. Instead, each word works together to create a rich and beautiful world that I fell in love with. This is one of my favorite fantasy world I’ve read in recent months.
I see some of the reviews complaining that the book wasn’t magical enough for fantasy, all the while overlooking the fact that Pearson, with her striking command of language and insidiously delivered worldbuilding talents was the true magician here.
The one thing I wanted more of in this book was more of a backstory for some of the ancillary characters around the 3 main characters, but I’m willing to overlook my own personal preferences in order to give this book a score that’s a tad more realistic, if we’re being honest.