The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I will find you. In the farthest corner, I will find you.
The intriguing enigma of the assassin’s identity was what persuaded me to finally read The Kiss of Deception. My expectations were sky high because of all the hype, and I was very excited as I delved into this world of romance, mythology, and royal conflict.
I was determined to unveil the secret as soon as possible, constantly highlighting obvious hints with a Mongol #2 pencil as my eyes carefully perused each beautifully written paragraph. I was virtually on a literary high, until the pieces came together in the eleventh chapter.
Suddenly, I felt deflated, my happiness polluted by incessant disappointment. “That’s it?” This question started to resound in my head, and I nearly lost my reading appetite altogether, were it not for the budding romance between Lia and the Prince. At this point, I took on an oblivious attitude towards the Assassin, whose indecision and tempered malevolence started to get on my nerves.
To my utter delight, I found myself shipping Lia and the Prince, and my interest was fortunately rekindled. I was really entertained by how the book shifted the dynamics of traditional romance; the female was the assertive one, while the male was incredulously playing hard to get. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud while taking in Lia’s scenes of epic flirtation. Really, she was one of the biggest and cutest flirts I have encountered in YA literature. Furthermore, her character development was outstanding and realistic, considering all the hardship she had to go through: escaping her arranged marriage, building a new life in Terravin, and then getting kidnapped by a band of barbarians. As for the Prince, I humbly admit that I had a man-crush on him. Although he was also deceiving Lia by hiding his identity, he compensated by showing her complete love and devotion. It was also admirable how he swallowed his pride and pursued Lia although she had unknowingly declared him a cowardly papa’s boy.
I also became invested in Lia’s close friendship with Pauline, her handmaiden. It was touching to see how they effortlessly saw and treated each other as equals, in spite of their different social statuses. They were sisters, bonded by shared dreams, pain, and happiness. It saddened my heart to witness them separated, all because of that insufferable Assassin.
As I drew closer to the final chapters, my rekindled interest evolved into strong fascination when I noticed how the world building was somehow inspired by Biblical history. Whether or not the allusions were deliberate or coincidental, I appreciated how the Morrighan/Vendan myths about the sacred Remnant reminded me of the story of Noah’s Ark. In my eyes, the Ancients symbolized the wicked people post-Creation; the Devastation symbolized the Flood that destroyed them; and the Remnant symbolized Noah and his family (those who were spared because they were pure of heart).
Finally, the epilogue came, and my eyes were quite teary because of a certain character’s demise. Moreover, Lia and the Prince were left stuck in a quandary, so my heart was filled with rage for that delusional Assassin. I ardently hoped that Lia wouldn’t succumb to Stockholm Syndrome and actually reciprocate his inappropriate desires. Then, as if caught in a daze, I put the book down, stared at the ceiling, and thanked God sequels existed.