Author: Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: Let me down, Fantasy-pr-everything-untoward
HEY YOU! YOU! IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO WRITE A NOVEL, HERE ARE HINTS IN THIS REVIEW AS TO HOW TO CATER TO ME!!! 😀
I am guilty of loving too many tropes and expecting books to actually deliver them in a realistic, or at the very least, enjoyable fashion. The Kiss of Deception was a story I’d been anticipating for it appeared to contain a number of them, as well as frames I always seek out, no matter how much I’m warned away from them. Sadly, due to its overwhelming, disappointing drama, which I usually love because drama!, and lack of substance/action/acceptable character development, the one book I’d been anticipating like few others, courtesy of my wonder and reminiscences of my love at/for The Adoration of Jenna Fox failed to satisfy one any even one count or expectation.
To begin with, I’ve always wanted to read a story of a princess who runs away from marriage, nobility, heads held high and vulnerable prides that musn’t be poked to work the work of an ordinary city person, preferably a bar wench or waitress. [Confession: At the fear or thumbing my nose at the expensive education my parents are providing me with, I want to be a waitress or bar wench for a truly temporary. Someday.] Done and done. So much happiness I had, because one of my dreams came true. However, when I say I want such a story, I also want continuation, story to develop, things to happen, miracles to still be found and dragons to be domesticated or befriended or slain, whatever the protagonist’s and dragon’s preferences.
Going in the opposite direction, nothing of import actually happens in the first 70% or so of The Kiss of Deception, even Lia’s character doesn’t develop while she’s waylaying handsy soldiers, scrubbing floors and serving ciders. Hell, not enough attention is even paid to how she’s adjusting psychologically, mentally to these changes; how the new-found liberties have freed her. In passing, Lia mentions how she can’t peel onions or flirt or whatever properly, but she’s learning. Time that should’ve been spent on her was written about the two romantic interests. Which brings me to…
Assassin romance. I have no regrets. I LOVE it when assassins, actual assassins, fall in love with their victim, IF it’s done right(The Assassin’s Curse anyone? WHY couldn’t it have been longer? Why did we have the second book which couldn’t compare?). I guess because it’s kind of a corollary of Foe Yay, the trope to end all other tropes for me. [It’s funny because Confession: I also really love best friend romance. I guess I just like romance in general.] Yet in the long stretch while when fuck-all happens, the assassin’s feels weren’t conveyed nor developed. Later on, however, I think there was some progression and I shipped it because assassin and tortured soul and loyalty and crap, you know? I’m kind of like YA heroines in that sense. KIND OF. (Don’t kick me out! We can totally work on this!)
Another of my types? Dark-haired guys. Guess what? If there’s a choice, I’ll ALWAYS go with the brunette/raven-haired, unless their personality is not to my taste. ALSO, of the two guys, one is blond and the other is- you know it! It’s always the case.
I actually shipped the romance with the prince(because there was nothing else to think about in the book and that should tell you a lot because it is almost 500 pages) until a twist I didn’t see coming, although there were hints. (view spoiler)
Lia, as a character, was engaging in the beginning but soon enough, with romance in the picture, her voice degenerated and lost any kind of cadence or personality that had made her unique. Moreover, the way I saw it, she was asking too much of life too fucking soon. I’d expect someone who’s just found her wings to learn to flap them, stumble and take breaks, not cross oceans to migrate already! Just a few days after she breaks free, she starts pining for love. That annoyed me to no end, but whatever, to each her own and all that jazz. But then, after three conversations that, in summation, couldn’t have taken more than thirty minutes, she’s making remarks about one of the guys as such:
I dismissed that possibility, because Rafe was quite articulate when he wanted to be, and contemplative, as though a great weight pressed on him. The things that matter. He had a tender side too, which he tried to hide. What weakness had made him share it with me?
Moving on, there is too much romantic drama that most likely won’t sustain the interests of readers with better things to do than I. All there is to it: him being hot and cold and moody. There were a few other incidents that took place, but they were far in between and short-lived.
This could have been a boring slice-of-life novel almost had it not been for the characters’ respective backgrounds and histories considering how everything was put aside. The full scope of the series, the beginning of a plot that spans over novels is introduced too late in the story, after we are dragged through winter and summer, deserts and festivals and mourning periods. This is also when Lia’s character changes, though only on the surface, IMHO.
However, these new snippets of information were enough to instigate anticipation for the next book in me- one song, in especial- as soon as I finished the story. Yet now, a little over a day after, I’m not sure because besides a slight curiosity that ennui begets, I can’t think of any other emotion, reaction or feeling The Kiss of Deception evoked in me.
Yet three stars. BECAUSE. Mary E. Pearson writes like nobody’s business. Her prose is marvelous and she’s a natural storyteller, despite everything. Her words can flow like a ballad or a narrative, and manage to complement the other. The world building was an element I liked surprisingly, considering it’s not the most creative nor that well-built as Lia is a sheltered royal, a princess moreover. What hooked me was the lack of meaningless descriptions that halt the imagination rather than boosting it. At least for me. I HATE descriptions(and I’m not even talking about info-dumps) of temples and structures and crap from afar. I’d rather my character touch it or use it, or someone else use it, otherwise meaningless; the setting it written while it’s actually in play.
Third factor for last star: my change of ships. This could be due to my fickleness, or actually be a ramification of poor character build-up of the two guys- poor enough that their voices intermingle once shit happens and attention moves- but I’m attributing it to the author’s dexterity at manipulating the hearts of her characters and readers.
Eh. Not my most brilliant review(and thank goodness for you because it’s also not the most boring(you’re probably wondering how boring can I be?(your imagination is limited, in that case))) but I hope it’ll do, and help you in deciding whether you want to read it or not. I wanted to include lots of funny gif’s and jokes because my own boring reviews bore me as well, BUT! I’m FINALLY giving in to sister and memes all around pressure, FINALLY watching Game Of Thrones so pardon me, yeah? 😀
Or I’ll have to use my other-worldly persuasive powers.
[A little tidbit: don’t insult Jon Snow in front of me. Three episodes in and I’m crazy for the guy who knows nothing.]