Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 7th July 2015
Publishers: Henry Holt & Co.
No. Pages: 489
Buy at: BookDepository | Wordery | Amazon
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.
Warning: this review may contain spoilers for book one, The Kiss of Deception, in this series.
Whilst The Kiss of Deception’s plot was lackluster, The Heart of Betrayal has far higher stakes with a more compelling plot.
Lia is no longer a runaway princess looking to make a new life for herself but a prisoner in enemy territory. Vendan is known to execute their enemies immediately and to not to keep prisoners, so Lia’s survival is being held by a thin thread and she must prove useful. This situation certainly allows Lia to grow and I definitely have a new appreciation for her character. I was worried she was going to make reckless mistakes throughout but that wasn’t the case. Whilst there were some choices she made that I found questionable, for the most part I think she weaved her way around the situation well.
I also enjoyed both Rafe and Kaden as characters more in this book now that, without the mystery of their identities, they were allowed to grow. We don’t get to see Rafe nearly as much as I would have liked so I do hope in the third book we get to know about him and his backstory. However, we get to learn a lot more about Kaden. His past was not what I was expecting and it’s definitely allowed me to understand his actions more/have a new appreciation for his character.
The Komizar was also a character I very much enjoyed. He’s complex and I found myself struggling to decide if he was just a ruler who wanted the best for his people or a power-hungry tyrant.
This time round the story focuses a lot more on Lia’s personal journey, and whilst there’s still romance, it definitely takes a backseat. I’m also starting to question if there’s even a love triangle since Lia herself is still adamant about who she likes.
The world building was my favourite part of The Kiss of Deception and so I was extremely happy we got to see more of it in this installment. I really enjoyed seeing the views Lia, and by default we, had on Vendan being flipped on their head as she experienced more of the kingdom for herself. I loved learning about their culture and their take on the kingdoms histories.
Overall, I did enjoy this one a lot more than the first book. However, there’s still something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. If you enjoyed the first book or only thought it was average, I do recommend giving this book a try since it’s definitely leagues better than its predecessor.
After that cliffhanger, I cannot wait to get my hands on the final book (everyone who recommend I buy the third book before I start this trilogy was right and I regret not listening to you all).