Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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.

Rating: 2,5/5 Stars

“We looked at each other, and he sent me a message with his eyes. It only lasted a brief second, but it was a full, knowing look that said everything I had felt and imagined about us was true.”



Truth is I tried reading this book a while ago, but DNFed it at around 30%. Recently I read the author’s other book “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” and really liked it, so I decided to give this one a second chance. The first time I tried this I had several issues with The Kiss Of Deception:

1.The main character was dumb and gullible and starry-eyed.

2.Her best friend was dumb, and gullible, and starry eyed.

3.The two love interests were dumb, and gullible, and starry-eyed.

4.Basically, everyone was dumb.

5.Everybody loved Lia for no reason (see point above).

6.The romance came out of nowhere (see point above).

Now, after I’ve read it a second time I can tell you that all of those previous assessments I’d made before are still valid, but the writing style is beautiful and I enjoyed the few fantasy elements, so I‘m curious to read how the story will continue.

Lately I’ve had a lot of problems writing reviews. I want them to be elaborate and coherent while presenting good arguments for my opinions. However, whenever I try to do that they always come out forced and awkward, and it’s hard for me to write them so I’ve decided I’m just gonna quit and write whatever the hell I want, however I want it.

(Ahhh, the simpler times in The 100… does anybody else miss this?)

I think the key with this book is simply give up on the idea that this is a fantasy (it’s a romance set in a fantasy), that the romance will make sense or be well developed, that the characters will be well rounded and not dumbasses who follow their hearts and not common sense, and that you won’t want to strangle them (you will, trust me, you will).

Because if there’s something that The Kiss of Deception excels as, is at clichés and you need to get over them in order to enjoy the story. For me this was particularly hard since clichés are usually like kryptonite to me; they weaken my spirits and my will to go on reading.


-The Special Girl Who Just Wants To Be Normal:


This is probably one of my most hated tropes, simply because it makes no sense. I’m not expert, but I’m sure that like 99.9999% of the people reading this are not lost princesses or carriers of amazing magical powers. So I can’t understand, for the life of me, why we would all like to watch a character complain about something we’d kill for and give up everything cool in order to be A FUCKING WAITRESS.

READING IS ESCAPISM! You can’t give me a fantasy world where anything could happen, and have the main character be a dumbass willing to sacrifice everything to become a waitress and master the art of bed making.

Truth was, I didn’t even understand what Lia wanted to get from this. Yes, she wanted to escape the arranged marriage and the stifling life at court… which for Lia it meant grownups grounding her for acting like a spoiled child… which she was. But of course we’ll be subjected to her whining on how she’s so much better and capable than all the grownups there and that’s why no one can stand her!

I’m serious here, this is not a joke she actually told several stories in which she declared she’d corrected her own teachers while they were in class, and OF COURSE they couldn’t have that so they got mad at her and poor, poor Lia led the horrible life of being smarter, prettier and more powerful than anyone else in the castle *wipes away single tear*

But as soon as she escapes we see that she actually has no plan. It’s not as if she ran away in search of her dream or whatever. Pauline, her best friend and maid, takes her to her aunt’s? Grandma’s? tavern, and Lia decides she’s going to be a waitress and live her life being super normal! Like, it comes out of the blue and for some reason Lia is like “OMG waitressing is like #lifegoals !!!111!!!!!” but I didn’t understand why pouring cider or making her own bed made her believe she was leading a “normal life” or why that would be exciting?

-The She’s Not Like Other Girls stuff:

Do you feel that? Creeping on your skin and curdling your blood? That’s the feeling I get everytime this plot device is used and BOY was it strong in this one. Not only do I dislike it because it’s terribly offensive to all women (every woman is shit compared to the MC) but because it’s terribly lazy.

Look, I get it. Authors want readers to sympathize with their main characters, otherwise the story would have no future! When narrating, they want us to feel what the MC feels, to grieve when she’s in pain, to swoon when she’s in love, and for all of that to happen we need to make a connection with them. When it comes to main characters, the author needs to make them stand out, show the reader why this is THEIR story and no one else’s.

This is why this plot device is so fucking lazy.

Instead of creating a well-developed character (with this I don’t mean perfect, I mean someone who is flawed but compelling to read. Perfect characters are boring because such thing does not exist in real life) they make all other females look like shit so that, in comparison, the main character is not so bad.

Because when you think about it, Lia was spoiled, selfish, dumb, reckless, and even mean. BUT the characters kept comparing Lia to other court women and saying how they were all privileged, sensitive and shallow. They liked wearing pretty dresses and gossip, but because Lia wore pants, worked as a waitress and made some idle treats, she was fucking AMAZING.

“She’s nothing like the ladies of court,” I said. “She doesn’t fuss about clothing. Most of the time, if she wasn’t working in the tavern, she wore trousers. Ones with holes in them.”
“Trousers?” Jeb said in disbelief.

“The whole camp fell silent watching her. Unlike me, none of them had ever seen nobility before, much less a princess. She wasn’t the delicate fleshy royal of their imagination.”

The entire book made a fuss about how especial Lia was because she wasn’t like other royal girls who liked clothing or “feminine” stuff, especially Lia herself. She tried so hard to prove to everybody (including herself) that she wasn’t the spoiled brat everybody said she was, that she ended up proving the exact opposite.

She was a spoiled, selfish royal.

You can say all you want about those “other royal girls” but in the face of war, you can bet your ass they would all follow duty and marry to secure an alliance, even if there wasn’t love. Lia? She’s so selfish she runs away, breaks what little peace was between the Kingdoms and starts a MOTHERFUCKING WAR. And worst part is, she doesn’t even care.

Despite her claims at being smarter and more capable than anybody at the castle, Lia never bothered to learn about her Kingdom, the alliances they were trying to gain or the troubles outside their borders. Hell, she thinks the “barbarians” who have been attacking both Kingdoms for hundreds of years are nothing but a handful of smelly men running around in drags and that present no threat whatsoever, when in fact they’re a motherfucking force of nature.

The book tries to make it look like Lia is special because she defies the norms! She wants to be free! She doesn’t want to be a pawn! But the way the story is carried through, we see a quite selfish character who stomps and cries every time she doesn’t get her way. She doesn’t sound like a feminist icon or an admirable character, she reminds the reader of Paris Hilton. Or Ricardo Fort for those readers who are from Argentina *winks*

-The Insta Love That Will Make You Want to Stab Stab Stab

Yes, it’s no secret that this series carries some heavy insta-love. And it’s also no secret that I’m not a fan of that.

Long story short, the Prince goes in search of Lia because… ehhh… he… I guess he wanted to see the girl who ran away from the arranged marriage because he “wasn’t brave enough to do the same”? Because he really didn’t want to get married, so I’m still trying to wrap my head around why the heck he went after Lia… besides for the love story to begin, of course. 

Or maybe he was just crazy?


Then comes the assassin, who was sent to slice Lia’s throat so she couldn’t carry the alliance through and the “barbarians” would have a chance to win this war. But instead of, you know, KILLING HER the moment he saw her. He thought it was “interesting” that she was working as a bartender since no other royal would do the same (it’s not that fucking special dudes, chill) and so he decided he wouldn’t kill her right away! He would just wait until… emmm… ehhh…. Ahhh… he was in love with her and would be unable to kill her, prompting the love triangle and angst.

Because he’s that much of a fucking moron.

Both guys see Lia and are instantly smitten with her, they help her carry bags, talk about the weather and do all sort of shits they shouldn’t do when there’s a FRICKEN WAR GOING ON AND MORE IMPORTANT SHIT SHOULD BE DISCUSSED!

Plus, I still don’t understand why both fell for her other than she was a waitress and “Oh so special”. I mean, what about the rest of us who have been/are waitresses? *bangs fist against table* Where are our Princes and Assassins with their undying love????????

Also, it’s clear from the beginning that Lia likes one guy over the other. And when I say clear I mean not at all, but after a random talk about the wheatear, her best friend goes “Oh so you like the other guy” with no fucking indication of how she came to that conclusion or why it was relevant to just pop up with that topic after a regular conversation with a guest of the inn… but good for me, because otherwise I’d have had no idea of which guy Lia liked the most, even though I read from her POV.

“He bid his good-byes, and I watched him ride away on a horse as black as night, a strong wildish beast, even its breaths fearsome, as though a dragon lurked in its lineage. It was a beast that could splinter a stall and would never be mistaken for a broodmare. I smiled at the thought, wondering at the way Rafe had goaded him. They were an odd pair of friends.

When he was well out of sight, Pauline said, “So it’s Rafe.”

-The Incorrect Use of Body Part To Convey Convoluted Messages as Proof of True Love:


That was a long-ass title, but it was totally worth it. It was, don’t fight me. There’s no better proof of this than the sentence at the beginning of this review, I’m going to bring it back for you:

“We looked at each other, and he sent me a message with his eyes. It only lasted a brief second, but it was a full, knowing look that said everything I had felt and imagined about us was true.”

Just-look at this for a second. Not only is this a guy that Lia’s only spoken with in a handful of occasion over the course of… what, two weeks? And not only were most of those conversations about niceties and small talk, but in justone small look she’s absolutely sure that the guy is in love with her… at least that’s what I think, since I have no idea of what she felt and imagined was going on between them since SHE SAYS NOTHING EVEN THOUGH IT’S HER POV.

I don’t think I really need to explain more about this, right? It pretty much explains itself.

I know you guys must be wondering why, if I ranted so much do I plan to continue with the story? Well because fantasy guys! The story has a lot of promise, it just needs to let go of the tropes and lay down the romance a bit, and it could be AMAZING.

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