Sunday, November 22, 2015

[Review] The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt
Format: Hardcover, 470 pages
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.

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My thoughts:

This is the sequel to The Kiss of Deception and I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed it more than the first book. This book picks up right where the previous one left off and it's set entirely on Venda, the enemy territory.

Lia has been taken captive and now she's being held prisoner by the Komizar. Rafe, in an attempt to save her, makes up a story about being an emissary for the prince of Dalbrech looking for an alliance with Venda and gets himself taken into Venda too. Kaden is falling for Lia and having trouble deciding where his loyalties lie, with the girl of his dreams or with the man who saved his life. Essentially and put simply: everything is a big fat mess for our characters.

Venda is such a captivating place and here the writing was excellent at painting a picture for me. I could see it so clearly with all its colors and different kinds of people. It was really well done in my opinion. The funny thing is that I went into it expecting to hate it as much as Lia, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be such a mesmerizing location.

Against all odds, Lia starts making a few friends and allies in Venda and with their help plus a whole lot of determination on her part, she's becoming a force to be reckoned with. She's starting to grasp the meaning of her gift, which just adds to her resourcefulness. In this book, we see her make use of all her talents, especially the ones that help her make others believe she's playing by the rules, when in reality, she's making up a completely different game as she goes along.

The problem with Venda is that you have the good kind of people and the awful kind of people like in any place, but here, the bad are the ones that provide for all the rest, so that makes the good people do terrible things in order to survive. Enter here the whole political drama! There's a shit-ton of political intrigue in this book and I finally got to understand what the hell was going on with the war between Venda and Morrighan, and Dalbrech by extension.  Thankfully, in this book, we get a lot of backstories for the Komizar, Kaden, and Venda as a country of sorts, which helps round up the whole story as a whole a lot better. 

The so-called love triangle is more like a love square (?) now that the Komizar has taken a particular interest in Lia and wants her for himself, so he can add to his already considerable power. We knew from the first book that Lia's heart belongs to Rafe, but in this one, Lia's life depends on her being able to convince everyone that she loves Kaden and holds no interest for Rafe, because the assassin is the only one who can do anything big enough to help her situation. And in all that convincing she does, I actually started to doubt her, either she's very good at deceiving others or she's very good at deceiving herself. You'll have to judge for yourself!

Overall, I think this was a great second installment, it helped me to understand the complexity of the world and it gave me a lot more perspective on its characters while building up the action and letting every piece fall into place and setting up for the next book to be explosive. I'm really excited about this series' finale!



About the author
Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

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