The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book One by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book One by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book One

byMary E. Pearson

Hardcover | July 8, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$25.47 online 
$27.99 list price save 9%
Earn 127 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia's life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight-but she doesn't-and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom-to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive-and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets-even as she finds herself falling in love.
The Kiss of Deception is the first book in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles.

Mary E. Pearson is the author of bestselling, award-winning novels for teens. The Miles Between was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox was listed as a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, an IRA Young Adult Choice, NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year...
Title:The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book OneFormat:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 8.41 × 5.71 × 1.49 inPublished:July 8, 2014Publisher:Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0805099239

ISBN - 13:9780805099232


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Love this trilogy. Hooked from the beginning and couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! Best book I've read in a while, and it has a beautiful cover. I was pacing around my room and crying in my bed while reading this book and I loved every second of it!
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I bought this book after my cousin recommended it to me and it was one of her best recommendations in a while. This book had me pacing around my room and crying within minutes, and I absolutely loved it!
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I enjoyed this book and look forward to finishing the series. I just finished book two and on to the third. The character were well written and easy to get on board with.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book I was not sure what to expect with this book, but I was surprised. The characters are interesting and attaching, the plot is well developped. Overall it was a good book!
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AHHH!!! This book! This series! This series was so beautifully written. It showed romance and the main character was so fierce and didn't back down! Lia, the main character, is so passionate and inspiring! Totally recommend this!
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good I thought this book and it's plot was well executed, and the characters were really interesting.
Date published: 2018-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW. I LOVE this book. I'm not even finished it yet, but it's so good. The romance, the mystery. The way the characters are written, and not knowing the identity of the prince or assassin until way later.. just wow. Beautiful wonderful written book with fantastic character development. Cant wait to read the next 2!
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! I'd heard great reviews of this book, and I absolutely love the cover, but's so beautifully written! I read all three novels back-to-back and then actually went back immediately to read the series all over again. It's. That. Good. Now I want to buy everything written by Mary E. Pearson.
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! WOW! Yes it’s a bout about a Princess, but she’s not your typical princess she is bad a$$! And not the annoying kind either. She is a very strong character and she did things and made choices that even I don’t think I could bring myself to do! She really goes as the story progresses. I really liked how the author wrote it, where as the reader we didn’t know as much as we would normally know. As the reader you know there’s an assassin and a prince who ho after her, but when she meets two men in the tavern, you have no idea who is who. I also LOVE the different perspectives. Very well done. Yes, the beginning is heavy on romance. I enjoy romance from time to time, so for me I didn’t mind it. What kept me intrigued was the desire to know the identity of the assassin and the prince. And once I learned that, the book got even better! I can tell from the last half of the book that the next book is going to be very action packed. If you like a strong female protagonist, romance, fantasy, (and heart ache) this is the book for you. I don’t cry that easily for books. But twice I was tearing up. I would highly recommend this book! I can’t wait to crack open book 2!
Date published: 2018-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Overall pretty great In the end, I really enjoyed The Kiss of Deception. It is a really hyped up book, so I had very high expectations. After reading about 25 pages I just wasn’t feeling it, and I put it down. A couple months later I was ready to try again and I pushed through the beginning even though it wasn’t grabbing me. I found that at the beginning it was a bit slow and the characters seemed flat, but I got through a few chapters and it slowly hooked me in. *SPOILERS* The two love interests were extremely fun to read about. I loved the mystery surrounding their identities, and the author succeeded in making them dangerous yet enticing characters. They made my heart flutter a bit, admittedly. The love triangle could be perceived as cliche, as could their frequently referenced muscly manliness, but I didn’t mind these elements in the slightest. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Lia. I admired her courage and loyalty to her friends, but I thought she was very selfish in sabotaging her kingdom’s security by running away. It’s not like she sacrificed her people’s safety for her own wanting of a picture perfect life (even though she is already much more fortunate than most) (eye roll). Nevertheless, she tried to remedy her wrongs toward her kingdom by returning, and after the kidnapping she acted with much cleverness and determination. I also thought the big reveal was kind of lame. It would’ve been much more interesting if Rafe had turned out to be the assassin. It felt kind of cheap that she fell in love with the exact man she was supposed to marry. I’m not mad about it though, because it makes things easier for Lia, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed reading the many chapters that would’ve followed in which Lia would grapple over making a decision between her lover or her kingdom. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and im definitely getting the next one. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suprinsingly fun! This book was amazing. I did not know what I was getting into when I first picked that book, but it turned out that the main character is strong, and her friend is adorable. Sure, there is a love triangle, but it does not linger on. I'm looking forward to read the sequel.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good!! I thought this book was sooo good!! If you like plot twists and a story wonderfully told, pick up this book!!
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid Start to This Series So after an initial slow/overly descriptive beginning, this book was really good! Most days I didn’t want to put it down. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed the audiobook on this one; the narrators were great. If this is your first read, you might want to read the physical copy first. There’s a guessing game of who is who, and the narrators ruined the surprise reveal before most people would have found out. I didn’t mind much since I was right, but it still kind of sucked. Lia was a pretty great character, although some of the things she did kind of made me shake my head at her. She’s smart in some instances, but then throws her brains out the window sometimes too. Like if I was running for my life, I’d be a little more careful about things I said, did, etc. Now onto the boys. I really loved Rafe’s character. There was just something about him that drew me in. That being said, I also enjoyed Kaden a lot too. But if I had to chose, I’d chose Rafe in this instance. He’s definitely going on my book boyfriend list. For secondary characters, I adored Walther, Pauline, and the ladies we got to know in Terravin. The friendships in this book were fantastically written, so major props for that. The last half of the book was good, leaving me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen. And that ending…I want to know ASAP what’s next for our group. I can’t believe I waited this long to read this series, but I intend to catch up on the other books in the next couple of months with the fantastic readalong group. There was one part that had me actually tearing up, but no spoilers as to what happened. The poems and passages at the beginning of some of the chapters were confusing, plus a few other things throughout the book kind of lost me. I know we’ll learn more as the series continues, but I don’t really like being out of the loop and confused. Overall, a solid start to this series!
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favourite i love this book. i read it in no time and highly recommend it for fantasy lovers. read it
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Extremely Dull After attempting to read this book twice - and DNFing it twice - at least I can say I managed to finish it this time, even if I didn't like it. Bit of an understatement, really. I had to drag myself through this book. Lia was one of the worst "heroines" I've read about. She's impulsive; she doesn't think or plan before she does something. She runs away from home on her wedding day, uses a well-known nickname, and works serving tables in a tavern, out in the open, in the next town over. She claims to have left the life of royalty behind, but she continues to look down on the world around her, with an attitude that her own desires should come before everyone else's. Aside from Lia, the other characters in this book are downright pathetic. Puppy-eyed boys fall head over heels in love with Lia the minute they first see her. One is a prince and one is an assassin, but there's practically no differences between them at all. Their chapters are written in such a feminine tone that it's impossible to (A) distinguish them from Lia's perspective, and (B) distinguish them from each other. And Lia's hopelessly "in love" with both of them, so that didn't help. And this "gift" - if I hear her describe it as "the gift" one more time, I am going to scream. If it's such a magical, coveted thing, couldn't the author have come up with a more intriguing, fantastical name for it? She managed to come up with a name for the bearer of said gift - ugh - but even this is rarely used throughout the entire book. It's supposedly a huge deal in this world, but clearly, not a priority when there are handsome men on the premises. I knew when I started this book that there would obviously be a love triangle - the book even has the word "kiss" in the title - but I didn't expect the romance to completely override the world-building and anything that could have potentially made this book unique.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Book I loved this book, this author is a wonderful writer. The way she writes truly brings you into the story and makes you connect with the characters. From the moment I picked up this book I was hooked. I read this book within a matter of days, I could barely put it down.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pleasantly surprised! This book was recommended to me after I was talking about how much I enjoyed Gravelling. I found it to be surprisingly well written and the author caught me off guard a few times with unexpected twists and turns of the plot. I love how the main character is a powerful, well developed female heroine who follows her heart and sticks to her beliefs. I was pleasantly surprised by how immersed I became in the story and the characters.
Date published: 2018-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favorite read of 2017 i am not a fantasy reader. i say this everytime i pick up a high fantasy novel because i just don't like all the world building and the magic rules but THIS BOOK! oh my god, it is seriously making me love this genre. like, i want to read every fantasy novel ever written now. it's hauntingly delicious and captivating and balances the romance to the main plot perfectly. i seriously love this book and it's a new favorite. i don't know what else i can say, just read it because it's pretty awesome!
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is now my favourite author, because of this series! Okay, I'd heard great reviews of this book, and I absolutely love the cover, but's so beautifully written! I read all three novels back-to-back and then actually went back immediately to read the series all over again. It's. That. Good. Now I want to buy everything written by Mary E. Pearson.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I was hooked and got so attached to the characters, especially Kaden omgggg. Highly Recommend!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good I enjoyed the first book. I like Kaden more because there was more character development for him than for Rafe. We Don’t get to know Rafe’s character as much, maybe in the second book. Looking forward to the second book.
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ABSOLUTELY AMAZING I am so happy I read this series! The characters are developed, the writing is organized, and the plot is freaking awesome! Definitely one of my favourite fantasy books!
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fantasy? I expected this book to have more fantasy elements then it did. I also predicted which character would ultimately be revealed as the Prince and which would be the Assassin. I do still plan to pick up the sequel as I've heard the series gets better as it goes on.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great first book to the trilogy This is a great first book to the series - and even though it keeps you guessing throughout it about the characters and their identities, it all adds up and allows for more intrigue and plot development that will appear later in the series.
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing New Trilogy This is a great read! It is written in several voices which allows us to understand the story from a variety of angles. I found the writing to be entertaining and the characters complete. I enjoyed the capable female lead and watching her journey to acceptance and believing in herself.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ohhhhhh yeaaaaa - another series I must read :D I absolutely adored this book! I am super excited to continue reading the trilogy. I've never read Pearson before but I love her writing style and Lia is what I imagine myself to be like in her situation. Oh! the adventure and romance and politics!
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE BEST I loved reading this book so much. I really like the characters, who are all strong in their own way. In this book, sometimes it switches the view for a chapter, and for some books it gets all mixed up but for this one, I really think it did the trick! Although, the first time I read it I mixed up Kaden and Rafe, so I was really confused at around the middle of the book, but I got it afterwards so no harm done. I read this book around 5 times cuz that's how great it is! I definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yes Yes Yes!!! All the Yesses!! I've already ordered the next book and I literally just finished the first one! I bought this book a while ago and it's been sitting on my bookshelf staring at me, waiting for me to choose it, and man am I glad I did. It's your typical "love triangle" story, but there's nothing wrong with that. The characters are written well and there's a twist that I didn't see coming that made me finish the rest of the book even faster because I had to see what happened. The world created by the author is amazing and her writing style is great. Overall I enjoyed this book and if you're into YA/ Teen Fantasy books, I suggest checking this series out.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why Didn't I Read This Sooner? Wow! In the YA/Teen fantasy market, currently the names we hear all the time are Sarah J. Maas, Marissa Meyer, Cassandra Clare, Victoria Schwab and so on. Why don't we hear as much about Mary E Pearson?!?! This book is fantastic. I honestly didn't expect much and was thinking it looked like a your typical fantasy novel but I was completely wrong. It starts out very typical - young royal hates position and doesn't want to have an arranged marriage so she flees. That is about where it stops being stereotypical though. This is a bit of a slow burn because it's the first book in the series and the author takes her time to develop her characters, her world and her magic system. A part in this book literally blew my mind and knock Mary Pearson up to my favorite author's list.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Novel I Read All Year WOW !!!! I enjoyed this book so much. The cover first off is Superb. The writing was wonderful, this novel keeps you in suspense of 2 of the main characters. The plot twists and turns in this novel are just incredible. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone. This is a fantastic series....or at least I really enjoyed the first 2 books with 5 out of 5 stars !
Date published: 2017-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Plot and Characters! Lovely read. Especially loved the trying to figure out who was the assassin and who was the prince.
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so good Amazing, I absolutely loved it
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The runaway princess bride An assassin and a jilted prince walk into a bar where the serving girl is the runaway princess who left the prince at the altar, thereby breaking a treaty that would ally two kingdoms...Mary E. Pearson, however, keeps us in suspense as to which man is which for much of the novel, which adds to the intrigue of the typical romantic triangle. Lia is strong, resilient, and independent in her desire to break free of the strict expectations of her parents in an effort to live for herself. However, she is unafraid to sacrifice herself for her loved ones and unwilling to surrender to the inevitable, making for a thrilling read. Can't wait to finish the series!
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I really liked this book, I thought it was awesome how the author kept the identities of which guy was which hidden. I can't wait to read the second book.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good It's a fast read, cute story. Overall, it's a good book, but nothing overly special
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I enjoyed this story. It kept me guessing til the end.
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing read! Wow. Just finished this book and I don't even know where to start! Overall, I really liked this novel. For me, there were some dry moments during the journey to Venda but the excitement that was to follow at the end was more than enough to make up for it. First, without giving too much away, let me say for the first half of the novel I was duped and I was hardcore FOOLED with some of the characters. I'm not going to say anything more than that because it's hard to without giving anything away. Along with that, I have to say that I really have enjoyed the three main characters (four if Pauline was included). I have to say though with Kaden, I don't know. It's almost a love/hate relationship but more on the hate side. I loved the personalities of each of the characters though and how the author has written them. For instance: Lia. I'm going to go out on a limb and say she may be one of the strongest female characters in any novel that I've ever read. I really love her character. I'm so excited to read the next book in the series! Typically I'm not a fan of books that end in a cliffhanger but this book did it well and had me on the edge of my seat reading until midnight. Definitely recommend this book!
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Good Book! World Building: great /Characters: amazing /Romance: yup /Pace: great /Feels: not really /Able to put down: /Worth the read: yes kept me guessing the whole time
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book and Series I loved this book, i love the fact that you don't know which character is which until the very end (which i did not see coming!) and i love Pearsons writing and characters! Highly recommend
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Read I enjoyed this book so much, I read it whenever I had a spare minute. Totally worth a read.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Kiss Of Deception was the most perfect way to start The Remnant Chronicles. It kept me constantly guessing. #PlumReview
Date published: 2017-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved this book. I initially 'read' it as a book on tape and enjoyed it so much I ended up buying a hard-copy. There is a lot of character development and relationship building which I like in a story.
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 2.75 stars While this book kept me *interested* and I did finish the book, I found it lackluster and didn't see the appeal that many others found. The plot is intriguing, with the anonymity of the assassin and prince. However, I find that many things were not well explained and I couldn't really imagine what the world looked like. For example, there is a lot of emphasis on religion/tradition, and I didn't quite understand the history behind it. Nor the looming war that is always mentioned. Still going to pick up the sequel and see if it is better.
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Kiss of Deception is a horribly mislabeled romance novel with an intriguing mystery that is overemphasized at the expense of the characters, narrative, and plot. The Kiss of Deception is a mislabeled "fantasy" novel with bland characters, little to no plot, and instalove. First of all, labeling his novel fantasy is a disservice to the genre. This novel is a young adult romance with a little mystery sprinkled throughout in a medieval setting. The only aspect of this novel that signals this story could be fantasy is the fact that the main character is a princess being married off to another realm for political purposes. The intention of creating a fantasy novel is present, but never followed through. The little world building that is in the novel isn't found until the near end. At that point, it's heavy-handed, uninspiring, and an excuse for a second novel. The main character, Lia, is bland with little to no personality. Most of the novel is written as her inner monologue, so no strong character traits emerge in her interactions with others. When she does have character moments, they're the stereotypical young adult moments of a strong young woman breaking free of oppression. Kaden and Rafe are even blander. They're chapters are devoid of any information about the characters because of the mystery of who is the assassin and who is the prince. The mystery of this novel is interesting and unique. I was immediately intrigued when I read the synopsis and was only expecting an exciting fantasy novel with a solid mystery. The problem with The Kiss of Deception is, unfortunately, the mystery. The author focuses so much on the mystery that the characters and plot suffer greatly. Lia's narrative suffers the most. Pearson's choice to write certain scenes and encounters as unnecessary mysteries for a few paragraphs makes reading from her perspective tedious and annoying. Why does it need to be a mystery if she's talking to Kaden or Rafe? All she's accomplishing is forcing the reader to reread the beginning of their encounter to thoroughly under the characters. Overall, The Kiss of Deception is a horribly mislabeled romance novel with an intriguing mystery that is overemphasized at the expense of the characters, narrative, and plot.
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! LOVED IT! it is definitely a MUST read!
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved everything about this book. I highly recommend this series
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! ''The Kiss of Deception''by Mary E. Pearson is perfect for both young adult and adults looking for a great fantasy read. First of all, the plot twist! You can either guess it from the beginning or be completly oblivious to it like I was. Then, there is the setting of the story. This world is filled with traditions and folklore. I loved the fact that there were many pages throughout the story with beautiful excerpts taken from sacred text and traditional songs of this world. I guess they were more like hints and clues, unfortunately I was not able to decipher any of those. The book ends with a cliffhanger; I would suggest buying the next book in the series along with this one, because it's really hard to wait to see how the story continues!
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Read Was a bit skeptical in the first few chapters however quickly picked up leading into a great ending! Characters were well developed and enjoyed hearing the different perspectives. On my way to order the sequel right now
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Many Feelings... This book has made me feel so many different emotions; I cried, I laughed, I sobbed, I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I could not put the book down! It kept me reading till the very end. Lia is such a strong and relatable character for me. I loved that she stood for what she believed in and wouldn't be forced into things she didn't want. I fell in love with her character and her love interest and was udderly shocked when that plot twist came! I had to reread it so many times and go back in the book to see how I missed it. When a book can surprise me that much, I fall in love with it.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Enjoyable! he Kiss of Deception gets off to a quick start, with Lia and Pauline fleeing Lia’s wedding day to a foreign prince to secure a political alliance. While this quick start is a sure way to engage readers, it also makes Lia slightly less likeable, as she comes across as a bit spoiled and stuck-up, fleeing what I perceived to be a relatively stereotypical wedding arrangement (for her world and her station). Upon settling down, Lia and Pauline quickly encounter two strangers – Rafe and Kaden. Unbeknownst to the girls, one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Despite to peril of her current situation, Lia quickly finds herself increasingly attracted to the strange men – perhaps seeking a romance of her own choice, rather than an arranged marriage. But Lia’s freedom brings many dangers – men hunt her, her parents have disavowed her, and she has no idea who she can trust. As Lia finds herself falling more deeply in love, she must make an impossible choice, before one of the men in her life makes it for her. The Kiss of Deception is a great adventure, and an even better romance, making even the dreaded love-triangle endearing. Lia, Kaden and Rafe’s plights immediately draw the reader in, as do their morally grey decisions and motivations. The three are easy to relate to, despite the gravity of their situations. In addition, the plot is fast-paced, but easy to follow, hooking and keeping the reader’s attention early on, and hanging onto it with every twist and surprise (5/5).
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT One of my favourite fantasy series!
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not As I Expected I liked the way the author built the world and the characters. I really liked Lia as a character. I loved how strong she was and how she kept her head high in every situation. I'm interested in reading the rest of the series to see how the author builds Rafe and Kaden. Not as much romance as I expected, more of an adventure.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Romantic and Beautifully Written This book has drawn my attention for a while and for the most part, I found it really enjoyable. The world-building is good and the three central characters are well written. Lia is a very strong lead character who has no problem holding her own against bad guys, and Rafe and Kaden are mysterious and interesting with troublesome pasts. There were more than a few scenes that were emotionally charging and demanded attention, and the whole book was written beautifully. The only issues I had were that the twist, while it got me, was confusing at first. I literally had to re-read a couple pages to make sure I hadn't missed a clue. Then again, that might just be me having been thoroughly duped, which isn't a bad thing. The other problem I had was with the pacing. It was slow to start off with, but the last few chapters jolted forward and were kind of all over the place, though the very last chapter definitely has me wanting more of the story. All in all, I can't say this was a flawless story for me, but it definitely held my interest and will have me back for the sequel.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! I absolutely loved this book. This is an amazing story with a huge plot twist! I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries!
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved! The Kiss Of Deception was one of the best fantasy novels I read in 2016. I loved how Lia was a strong, kick butt heroine who was willing to do whatever it took to save herself and her kingdom. I found myself glued to the pages of this amazing story unfolding before me, and I can't recommend this novel enough. I have yet to read the next book in the series, but I'm definitely planning on doing so ASAP.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good These books are amazing everyone needs to read now
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 3.5 stars 3 1/2 stars at this point (may bump it up depending on the rest of the trilogy) I realize that this book has a few issues (mainly that nothing much happened except a lot of riding through forests and deserts) but I still really liked it. I enjoyed the wide range of characters and I enjoyed the setting, and I enjoyed the pace for the most part. It was a quick read for me. I did not understand why the author felt the need to hide who was who (Rafe/Kaden vs. Assassin/Prince). I took a tentative guess, and my guess turned out to be wrong (which I suspect the author wanted) but regardless, it resulted in me not really trusting/investing my emotions in either one of them. Once I realized which one was the prince then I gradually started to like him but the story was 2/3 over by then. Lia has her issues, but she is a 19 year old princess and is bound to make some bad decisions. I don't think it's right to give fewer stars because a character in the story doesn't make the same decisions or choices one thinks they would make in the same situation. I saw growth in her by the end of the book and that's all I can ask for in a good story. I look forward to jumping into the second book in the series and hopefully getting some of my questions answered. My suspicion is that Griz is a spy or something similar who will end up helping Lia in the end. She's also got Eban on her side now I think..we'll see!
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It Was Alright I heard from other people that it is a great book, but it was just okay. Probably will not be reading the rest of the series/
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Good book really enjoyed it bit of twist and turns in it
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! Well written with an interesting story and likeable characters. Twist is a little predictable but def recommend continuing with the series as it only gets better.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from sweet and riveting Great book to read. The series is worth the read
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED This book was everything you could look for in a book. There was the mystery , the love, the friendships, the sacrifices. All in all it was a great book and i recommend do anyone looking for a new book to read!#plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from BETTER THAN I EXPECTED BUT... It was good! The characters were likable and the female protagonist was strong and determined which I loved. The two main guys were swoon worthy. Some points were boring to read and some were exciting. I think the second book is MUCH better but this book and the series is worth it!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from EH It was okay, I felt that this type of story was overused. It was written pretty well though.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Fantasy! I loved this one! It was such a fast paced read and is going to make a fantastic movie! I loved the characters, the plot, the foreshadowing, the language, everything was amazing! 4.5 stars from me! Can't wait to read the next one soon.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay Not the best start to a series but it was alright.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved this! I love this book it was great #plumreviews
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book Wow, this book is amazing! I absolutely loved The Kiss of Deception! I loved the characters, the plot, the twists, the way the story is meticulously built and unfolds, and oh the mystery. In the Kingdom of Morrighan, Princess Arabella (Lia) and her maidservant Pauline, flee on what is supposed to be her wedding day to the Prince of Dalbreck. Lia is opposed to the religiously followed traditions of Morrighan and refuses to live her life as her father dictates. She does not want to be the First Daughter of House of Morrighan, want the "gift", nor does she want to be forced to marry a prince she doesn't know in order to secure a political alliance. Despite the uproar she would leave in her wake, she runs for her life, carrying stolen documents from the Chancellor's secret collection. Lia finds solace in the distant village of Terravin happily working as a barmaid. When she is finally settling into her new life, she is intrigued by the two newest patrons of the bar. Unbeknownst to her, the newcomers are the Prince she left at the altar and an assassin sent to kill her. In this story, there are not one but three main characters the author gives a narrative voice to; Lia, Rafe and Kaden. What makes this so interesting is that the reader is never told who the Prince and the assassin are. And frustrating! Just when I thought that I had figured out who was who, something happens to made me question everything. I loved it! Amid all the deceptions, Lia finds herself falling in love and is on the verge of discovering dangerous secrets that could change her world. This is the type of story that slowly builds and then we are hit with a twist that leaves you wanting more. For me, the romance between the characters is true but isn't the sickening puppy love we often see in YA novels. It was just the right amount to make it seem real and wanting more. I did not feel like there was a love triangle although there are two characters vying for the affections of one. Who is Lia falling for? Is it the Prince or is it the assassin? This novel is a must read!
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just wow Nothing bad to say about this book! Loved this book so much!
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Originally, I was going to give this book four stars, but then I got to the plot twist. I was incredibly shocked, mind blown even. I had to give it five stars. The Kiss of Deception might just have the best plot twist I've read to date. It was phenomenal. I really liked the characters. I liked Lia as she was capable of taking care of herself without having the most extensive knowledge about combat. It was great to see her become stronger due to all the hardships she encounters in the novel. I feel rather conflicted between the prince and the assassin and I have to give props to Pearson for being able to play with my mind as I was reading. It is quite slow-paced in the beginning, but it is totally worth enduring. I think it was a solid start to the series and I'm pumped to find out what happens next to these characters.
Date published: 2016-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good I enjoyed this book very much. Could not put it down. Romance, love mystery all in one combined with suspense gives it lots of up and downs to enjoy.
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this!!! it was captivating and hard to put down! such a good book, I couldn't put it down reading for 4 hrs straight at times
Date published: 2015-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Compelling and Interesting Plot "The Kiss of Deception" is a compelling fantasy adventure that begins when Princess Arabella (Lia) of the House of Morrighan flees her wedding to the Prince of Dalbreck, escaping her father's trackers and starting a new life in Terravin, a small community near the sea. Working as a bar maid Lia becomes entranced with two enigmatic strangers unaware that one is the Prince she abandoned at the altar and the other an assassin from Venda whose mission is to kill her. Mary E. Pearson begins this compelling tale in the Kingdom of Morrighan where Lia's father the King is determined to cement a crucial alliance with the Kingdom of Dalbreck to avert a war with the Kingdom of Venda. In defiance against a duty that has no room for love Lia rebels especially when the Prince refuses her request to "let her inspect him" before the wedding. She flees with her maid Pauline leaving a tenuous political situation behind. This well-developed and gripping plot heats up when marauders begin wreaking havoc in the countryside and tragedy strikes. Settling into a simple lifestyle Lia not only begins falling in love with Raff a mysterious unemployed farmhand, trusts Kaden the seemingly honest and trustworthy trader, but makes a momentous decision that sweeps her up in a storm of dangerous and unexpected events. With every challenge that Lia faces as Raff hunts for her across miles of wasteland, excitement and suspense mount as deception and lies are revealed. Amid the turmoil there are underlying strands of subplots including a prophecy hidden in the pages of two ancient books that Lia stole from the Scholar as well as her "gift" a power that's only begun to emerge and will impact her future. Even the note that spurred Raff to seek his runaway bride keeps coming into play especially after she's captured and he's driven to make a daring rescue plan. The action never stops in this riveting page-turner as events climax in an exciting cliff-hanger that begs for a sequel. Included among the main characters that add power and passion to this captivating drama is seventeen year old Lia the fearless, impulsive and quick-tempered Princess of Morrighan who sets events in motion when she flees her wedding. Defying tradition and wanting love in a marriage, she finds contentment in a simple life where she's not only hardworking but shows resilience and bravery. After falling in love with Raff she never expects that he's actually Prince Jaxon of Dalbreck, a skilled warrior who's determined to find the runaway bride whose note peaked his curiosity and amusement. Contemplative, shrewd and confident, love blossoms when Raff least expects it after losing his heart to the feisty maiden. Similarly Kaden, the brooding Vendan assassin who's haunted by a cruel past has been ordered to kill Lia. He masks his lethal intent behind kindness and consideration, never expecting that he'll be attracted to her. His steadfast loyalty to his country and duty will be tested as he discovers the depth of his feelings for a royal he thought he'd despise. With bold characters and a wealth of description Mary E. Pearson brings the fantasy world to life in " The Kiss of Deception". This is an intriguing story that I couldn't put down until the end. I recommend it to those who like the fantasy genre and look forward to the next chapter in Lia's adventure.
Date published: 2015-07-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from disappointing The Kiss of Deception was one of my most anticipated titles of 2014. I bought it as soon as it came out but unfortunately only got the chance to read it in January of 2015. I ended up buddy reading this and I must say that without the buddy read, it might have taken me ages to get through. It wasn't that it was slow.. per say.. it was just that once you find out who the prince and the assassin are (which I guessed correctly), it got boring. You find out halfway through the book.. and throughout the last half.. nothing significant happens.. and all you're waiting on is the next exciting chapter that the book promised. I was disappointed in the twist (which I don't think was a twist) in regards to who was who.. and I was disappointed in the direction the author took after that was revealed. I think the main protagonist, Lia, is selfish. There i've said it. romanticizing her situation and making her appear sympathetic isn't really going to deter my opinion. I get that she got the short end of the stick.. but an arranged marriage to keep two kingdoms at peace and not begin a war seems like a good enough reason for the sacrifice. It is like saying her happiness is equalled to the deaths of hundreds of people (soldiers, innocents, etc). It just frustrates me that she wasn't even asked to sacrifice her life.. it is an arranged marriage that may lead to love. And since we know one of the two handsome men is the prince… which she thought were both potential partners, I don't think it is far fetched to believe that. This whole plot was built on the selfishness of Lia and if I only rated the book on the character, I would have given it a 1 or 2. I did enjoy the first half of the book.. while I felt there was too little dialogue and we were told everything about the world either through Lia's memories or her just telling the readers. I wish the pacing of the book was more fast paced. However, I did enjoy it overall and I think many people would like the format of the book.
Date published: 2015-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but... Still digesting. I would love to have been able to flip back and forth quickly because there are spots I feel I missed something important and its not as easy to do on an e-copy. There are a few good twists but it was not a thrilling book. It didn't have me up at night wondering what will happen next. It will however make you think a little.
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book to add to your Collection! Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson is the first book in The Remnant Chronicles. It follows a princess on the run from her kingdom to try to escape a life dictated by her father. She doesn't want to be the first daughter of Morrighan, she doesn't want "the gift," and most importantly she doesn't want to marry a prince she has never met before. She wants to be a normal girl, with a normal life and normal duties. She doesn't want the royal responsibility. All she wants to do is find true love. page 19 (3%) - "Runaway bride alert..." Now on the run she must remain hidden with her new identity, or risk being arrested for treason.And little does she know, but the prince she was supposed to marry, and an assassin sent to kill her have both found her. The deceptions that lie ahead will make her question her true duties as princess and the first daughter of Morrighan. The Plot The storyline intrigues me from the moment I read the synopsis. A princess running away on her wedding day, living out a normal life and not knowing that her destiny is bigger than she ever imagined. But what drew me in the most was the mystery. Pearson does not reveal who the prince and who the assassin is. Is Rafe the prince or the assassin, is Kaden the prince or the assassin. The majority of the novel you are left guessing, chapter after chapter. page 71 (14%) - "the prince and the assassin are buddies xD" The plot starts to thicken when you finally do find out, and all the deceptions and lies come to light. If I was in Lia's position I would have no idea what to even make of things. When everyone is lying and deceiving you, who can you really trust? The Writing Pearson has a creative way of writing in the novel that totally capitvated me as a reader. The world she created in The Kiss of Deception is well thought out and well written. She makes you feel like you're apart of Lia's world. You also get more than one point of view in the novel. You get Lia's, Rafe's, and Kaden's. You truly get to feel what goes on through their minds and how complex each one is. And I cannot forget to mention how well written the mystery portion was. Pearson had me guessing who was who to the point of frustration, but a good frustration. At one point I was dying to know who was who that I was tempted to read the synopsis of the next book to find the answers I wanted. It's hard to keep readers guessing and intrigued with this type of storyline, but Pearson hits the mark with it. The Characters Lia, the runaway princess bride. As the main protagonist and heroine of the story, Lia was very well written. She has characteristics that most other princess heroines do not possess. She is brave, courageous and very opinionated. She doesn't want her life to planned by anyone other than herself. She wants to control her own destiny, and I admire that about her. The only fault I have with her is that her true feelings for the boys are not quite as clear as I would hope. She seems to just o back and worth with them. Rafe, assassin or prince? Rafe is the type of character that you tend to root for. Most of the book he pretends to be a farmhand from a small village in Morrighan. As his true intentions aren't revealed until much later it leaves a lot of pages to grow to understand his personality. Not knowing who is really who gives us the unbiased opinion on his character. A lot of readers are usually pro-prince or pro-who ever the other boy in the triangle is. So without knowing you get to base your decisions on personality, actions, and dialogue. Kaden, assassin or prince? Kaden the tough guy, the smooth talker, and sometimes arrogant. He claims to be a pelt trader (or something along those line) that seems to enjoy being on Lia's case. He is the character you love to hate. He decisions are well thought out, and he leads with his heart rather than his body. In a way he embodies both prince and assassin qualities which makes it even more confusing trying to figure out who he really is. page 143 (29%) "Ugh, why can't I figure out who is who??? Frustrating..." The Cover I honestly can say that I love this cover. The font and design of the title, the back silhouette of Lia looking into her future, and the tiny figures of the assassin and Pauline her best friend. The background is also alluring with the hints of green and yellow bringing the whole piece together nicely. A very easy and intriguing YA fantasy that I would recommend to everyone. There is so much more to the story to find out and I can't wait until the second book in the series comes out so I can find out more and have my questions answered!! Pick this book up and let me know what you thought and if you loved it as much as I did!
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love this book! I bought this book just from the synopsis and was very glad I did. Great writing, I was truly deceived and fully immersed, have already pre-ordered the next one!
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It!!! I just completed reading this book and absolutely loved it! What I really like about this story was the twist of characters, all through the first half of the book I had Rafe confused for Kaden and when I finally got to the part where she gets kidnapped I was like "what?....But I thought that was the other guy? What?!" And Of course I went back to reread a couple chapters and I really. Didn't see that coming at all. Can't wait for the next book!!
Date published: 2014-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!! This was a great read, I highly enjoyed it. The princess was a typical princess, the story was well written and I loved not knowing who the prince and who the assassin was until the end. I can not wait to get the next book.
Date published: 2014-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Loved it! I love the fact that you don't know who the prince and the assassin are until the end. It's so good and well written, I couldn't the put the book down until 2 am. I recommend, I love the book :)
Date published: 2014-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this! Princess Lia is to marry a prince of a neighboring country. The night before their wedding, she flees with her handmaiden to a small town by the sea where she becomes a barmaid. All she wants is a simple life, but little does she know two men are after her. Once is her betrothed prince and the other an assassin. What she finds is a budding romance with a man whom she believes is a farm hand. A lovely story about a strong-headed princess who has a very real and modern personality set in a world where countries are at war, and assassins run amok. The pacing was pretty slow in the beginning.. Nothing really happens except a lot of character development between the entire cast, but I didn't necessarily mind it this time. The plot finally moves forward after the middle and I was surprised at how big the world was. As for the characters, I truly enjoyed Lia. She was super head strong and never let anyone else sway her opinions at all. I rather liked her a lot. Even though there is instant romance, it wasn't as sudden as it is in most books. It was rather a whirlwind romance though. And as for the love interests, I liked him too. Though for the entire beginning I thought the one she liked was the other so that confused me so. Luckily I finally came to my senses and got the characters right. There were some pretty cute lines when they start falling in love. I wanted more adventure and fantasy.. Though I'm hoping the next book will have both. Overall, if you're looking for an adventure filled journey, you won't find it until the end. But if you're in it for romance, pick this one up.
Date published: 2014-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Next one please This book was amazing. I could not put it down. I think I may have to reread because it was that good. Every character brought into the book was amazingly written. Please read this book you don't know what you are missing.
Date published: 2014-09-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but... Still digesting. I would love to have been able to flip back and forth quickly because there are spots I feel I missed something important and its not as easy to do on an e-copy. There are a few good twists but it was not a thrilling book. It didn't have me up at night wondering what will happen next. It will however make you think a little.
Date published: 2014-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Swept Away By Books Well this book was basically completely perfect and I am utterly obsessed! The Kiss of Deception has world building that blew my mind. I was sucked into Morrighan, Dalbreck, Venda and Terravin through vivid images and beautifully descriptive writing. One of my absolute favourite things about this book was how wonderful and strong the world building is. If a high fantasy is fully brought to life, it's so simple to imagine what life is like in that setting. I could feel the gritty sand on long journey's, the over bearing heat of a desert wasteland and the soft breezes of an ocean-side paradise. I was thrown for SO many loops in this and I am so happy about that. There was one point where I was freaking out so hard over something that i'm happy I was alone in my house. The twists stay true to the title of this book, as deception abounds and surprises that I did not see coming left me so pleased. I don't know if people will see it coming or not but I certainly didn't and I think the fact that an author can flip everything you think to be true on its head is a true talent. Lia is a brilliant leading lady. She is strong and willful, fiercely loyal but determined to do what she believes is the right thing for her. She grows and makes smart choices, but she's also a young girl and makes mistakes. What I loved about her though is that she owns up to them. The romance was brilliant. I have never wanted a couple to be a couple more than these two and because it is a love triangle-ish, I will leave that vague. The occasionally alternating POV's added an extra layer of knowledge to the plot, except at the same time it totally doesn't because of that twist. It also added a fantastic level of swoon! If you're not a fan of love triangles, don't worry, it's not a big one. The feelings aren't reciprocated on one end and I like that it's not a typical love triangle. The supporting characters were wonderfully fleshed out, and I am can't wait to get to know certain ones a bit more in the second book. The ending has me absolutely salivating for the next book. It was the perfect place to end this one. Mary Pearson left us hanging, but with a thread of hope so strong. I lovedlovedloved The Kiss of Deception and if you're a fan of YA High Fantasy at all, you need to get your hands on this book. It was a wonderful start to what i'm sure is going to be a fantastic trilogy.
Date published: 2014-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Fantasy!! This was an amazing book! I was totally in love with this book, because Lia is a strong female lead. This is the first book I have read by Mary E. Pearson, now that I have read this I will eventually read her other books. The Kiss of Deception had almost everything in a fantasy that I really loved since it had action, romance and sword fighting. There were moments that were shocking, heart-breaking that I did not want to put it down. The writing had a great pace and the romance (I LOVED IT!) Told from different point of views, you get into the heads of Lia, the Assassin, and the Prince. Did not have any idea who is the assassin and the prince until it started to label with their name/the end. This was a great twist and it shocked me! It makes sense for this because when Princess Lia runs away and hides in. Both male leads are trying to find her, while one is sent to kill Lia, the other wants to find out more about who she is since she left him at the alter without an explanation. This made the book made me guess until the end!! The plot hooked me in immediately that I finished the book in two days! Pearson pulls you into her story with this twist and it will also make you fall in love with both male lead characters. Lia is a very independent princess who just wants to live a normal life, she is strong and brave and did what she wanted to do. She wanted to fall in love despite her family and new friends. There is no love triangle in this book. While she is attracted to both, she falls for one and nothing for the other. It had a perfect amount of romance/relationship. Very happy that I read this book because that cover is gorgeous! This is a MUST READ! All the characters were really well developed. Pick this book up in July! Mary E. Pearson is a great writer and I definitely cannot wait to read the second book to this series! If you like Fantasy, lots of character growth and a romance you will love this book!!
Date published: 2014-07-07

Read from the Book

CHAPTER ONE Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.The wind knew. It was the first of June, but cold gusts bit at the hilltop citadelle as fiercely as deepest winter, shaking the windows with curses and winding through drafty halls with warning whispers. There was no escaping what was to come.For good or bad, the hours were closing in. I closed my eyes against the thought, knowing that soon the day would cleave in two, forever creating the before and after of my life, and it would happen in one swift act that I could no more alter than the color of my eyes.I pushed away from the window, fogged with my own breath, and left the endless hills of Morrighan to their own worries. It was time for me to meet my day.The prescribed liturgies passed as they were ordained, the rituals and rites as each had been precisely laid out, all a testament to the greatness of Morrighan and the Remnant from which it was born. I didn’t protest. By this point, numbness had overtaken me, but then midday approached, and my heart galloped again as I faced the last of the steps that kept here from there.I lay naked, facedown on a stone-hard table, my eyes focused on the floor beneath me while strangers scraped my back with dull knives. I remained perfectly still, even though I knew the knives brushing my skin were held with cautious hands. The bearers were well aware that their lives depended on their skill. Perfect stillness helped me hide the humiliation of my nakedness as strange hands touched me.Pauline sat nearby watching, probably with worried eyes. I couldn’t see her, only the slate floor beneath me, my long dark hair tumbling down around my face in a swirling black tunnel that blocked the world out—except for the rhythmic rasp of the blades.The last knife reached lower, scraping the tender hollow of my back just above my buttocks, and I fought the instinct to pull away, but I finally flinched. A collective gasp spread through the room.“Be still!” my aunt Cloris admonished.I felt my mother’s hand on my head, gently caressing my hair. “A few more lines, Arabella. That’s all.”Even though this was offered as comfort, I bristled at the formal name my mother insisted on using, the hand-me-down name that had belonged to so many before me. I wished that at least on this last day in Morrighan, she’d cast formality aside and use the one I favored, the pet name my brothers used, shortening one of my many names to its last three letters. Lia. A simple name that felt truer to who I was.The scraping ended. “It is finished,” the First Artisan declared. The other artisans murmured their agreement.I heard the clatter of a tray being set on the table next to me and whiffed the overpowering scent of rose oil. Feet shuffled around to form a circle—my aunts, mother, Pauline, others who’d been summoned to witness the task—and mumbled prayers were sung. I watched the black robe of the priest brush past me, and his voice rose above the others as he drizzled the hot oil on my back. The artisans rubbed it in, their practiced fingers sealing in the countless traditions of the House of Morrighan, deepening the promises written upon my back, heralding the commitments of today and ensuring all their tomorrows.They can hope, I thought bitterly as my mind jumped out of turn, trying to keep order to the tasks still before me, the ones written only on my heart and not a piece of paper. I barely heard the utterances of the priest, a droning chant that spoke to all of their needs and none of my own.I was only seventeen. Wasn’t I entitled to my own dreams for the future?“And for Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, the fruits of her sacrifice and the blessings of…”He prattled on and on, the endless required blessings and sacraments, his voice rising, filling the room, and then when I thought I could stand no more, his very words pinching off my airways, he stopped, and for a merciful sweet moment, silence rang in my ears. I breathed again, and then the final benediction was given.“For the Kingdoms rose out of the ashes of men and are built on the bones of the lost, and thereunto we shall return if Heaven wills.” He lifted my chin with one hand, and with the thumb of his other hand, he smudged my forehead with ashes.“So shall it be for this First Daughter of the House of Morrighan,” my mother finished, as was the tradition, and she wiped the ashes away with an oil-dipped cloth.I closed my eyes and lowered my head. First Daughter. Both blessing and curse. And if the truth be known, a sham.My mother laid her hand on me again, her palm resting on my shoulder. My skin stung at her touch. Her comfort came too late. The priest offered one last prayer in my mother’s native tongue, a prayer of safekeeping that, oddly, wasn’t tradition, and then she drew her hand away.More oil was poured, and a low, haunting singsong of prayers echoed through the cold stone chamber, the rose scent heavy on the air and in my lungs. I breathed deeply. In spite of myself, I relished this part, the hot oils and warm hands kneading compliance into knots that had been growing inside me for weeks. The velvet warmth soothed the sting of acid from the lemon mixed with dye, and the flowery fragrance momentarily swept me away to a hidden summer garden where no one could find me. If only it were that easy.Again, this step was declared finished, and the artisans stepped back from their handiwork. There was an audible gathering of breath as the final results on my back were viewed.I heard someone shuffle closer. “I daresay he won’t be looking long upon her back with the rest of that view at his disposal.” A titter ran through the room. Aunt Bernette was never one to restrain her words, even with a priest in the room and protocol at stake. My father claimed I got my impulsive tongue from her, though today I’d been warned to control it.Pauline took my arm and helped me to rise. “Your Highness,” she said as she handed me a soft sheet to wrap around myself, sparing what little dignity I had left. We exchanged a quick knowing glance, which bolstered me, and then she guided me to the full-length mirror, giving me a small silver hand mirror, that I might view the results too. I swept my long hair aside and let the sheet fall enough to expose my lower back.The others waited in silence for my response. I resisted drawing in a breath. I wouldn’t give my mother that satisfaction, but I couldn’t deny that my wedding kavah was exquisite. It did indeed leave me in awe. The ugly crest of the Kingdom of Dalbreck had been made startlingly beautiful, the snarling lion tamed on my back, the intricate designs gracefully hemming in his claws, the swirling vines of Morrighan weaving in and out with nimble elegance, spilling in a V down my back until the last delicate tendrils clung and swirled in the gentle hollow of my lower spine. The lion was honored and yet cleverly subdued.My throat tightened, and my eyes stung. It was a kavah I might have loved … might have been proud to wear. I swallowed and imagined the prince when the vows were complete and the wedding cloak lowered, gaping with awe. The lecherous toad. But I gave the artisans their due.“It is perfection. I thank you, and I’ve no doubt the Kingdom of Dalbreck will from this day forward hold the artisans of Morrighan in highest esteem.” My mother smiled at my effort, knowing that these few words from me were hard-won.And with that, everyone was ushered away, the remaining preparations to be shared only with my parents, and Pauline, who would assist me. My mother brought the white silk underdress from the wardrobe, a mere wisp of fabric so thin and fluid it melted across her arms. To me it was a useless formality, for it covered very little, being as transparent and helpful as the endless layers of tradition. The gown came next, the back plunging in the same V so as to frame the kavah honoring the prince’s kingdom and displaying his bride’s new allegiance.My mother tightened the laces in the hidden structure of the dress, pulling it snug so the bodice appeared to effortlessly cling to my waist even without fabric stretching across my back. It was an engineering feat as remarkable as the great bridge of Golgata, maybe more so, and I wondered if the seamstresses had cast a bit of magic into the fabric and threads. It was better to think on these details than what the short hour would bring. My mother turned me ceremoniously to face the mirror.Despite my resentment, I was hypnotized. It was truly the most beautiful gown I had ever seen. Stunningly elegant, the dense Quiassé lace of local lace makers was the only adornment around the dipping neckline. Simplicity. The lace flowed in a V down the bodice to mirror the cut of the back of the dress. I looked like someone else in it, someone older and wiser. Someone with a pure heart that held no secrets. Someone … not like me.I walked away without comment and stared out the window, my mother’s soft sigh following on my heels. In the far distance, I saw the lone red spire of Golgata, its single crumbling ruin all that remained of the once massive bridge that spanned the vast inlet. Soon, it too would be gone, swallowed up like the rest of the great bridge. Even the mysterious engineering magic of the Ancients couldn’t defy the inevitable. Why should I try?My stomach lurched, and I shifted my gaze closer to the bottom of the hill, where wagons lumbered on the road far below the citadelle, heading toward the town square, perhaps laden with fruit, or flowers, or kegs of wine from the Morrighan vineyards. Fine carriages pulled by matching ribboned steeds dotted the lane as well.Maybe in one of those carriages, my oldest brother, Walther, and his young bride, Greta, sat with fingers entwined on their way to my wedding, scarcely able to break their gazes from each other. And maybe my other brothers were already at the square, flashing their smiles at young girls who drew their fancy. I remembered seeing Regan, dreamy-eyed and whispering to the coachman’s daughter just a few days ago in a dark hallway, and Bryn dallied with a new girl each week, unable to settle on just one. Three older brothers I adored, all free to fall in love and marry anyone they chose. The girls free to choose as well. Everyone free, including Pauline, who had a beau who would return to her at month’s end.“How did you do it, Mother?” I asked, still staring at the passing carriages below. “How did you travel all the way from Gastineux to marry a toad you didn’t love?”“Your father is not a toad,” my mother said sternly.I whirled to face her. “A king maybe, but a toad nonetheless. Do you mean to tell me that when you married a stranger twice your age, you didn’t think him a toad?”My mother’s gray eyes rested calmly on me. “No, I did not. It was my destiny and my duty.”A weary sigh broke from my chest. “Because you were a First Daughter.”The subject of First Daughter was one my mother always cleverly steered away from. Today, with only the two of us present and no other distractions, she couldn’t turn away. I watched her stiffen, her chin rising in good royal form. “It’s an honor, Arabella.”“But I don’t have the gift of First Daughter. I’m not a Siarrah. Dalbreck will soon discover I’m not the asset they suppose me to be. This wedding is a sham.”“The gift may come in time,” she answered weakly.I didn’t argue this point. It was known that most First Daughters came into their gift by womanhood, and I had been a woman for four years now. I’d shown no signs of any gift. My mother clung to false hopes. I turned away, looking out the window again.“Even if it doesn’t come,” my mother continued, “the wedding is no sham. This union is about far more than just one asset. The honor and privilege of a First Daughter in a royal bloodline is a gift in itself. It carries history and tradition with it. That’s all that matters.”“Why First Daughter? Can you be sure the gift isn’t passed to a son? Or a Second Daughter?”“It’s happened, but … not to be expected. And not tradition.”And is it tradition to lose your gift too? Those unsaid words hung razor sharp between us, but even I couldn’t wound my mother with them. My father hadn’t consulted with her on matters of state since early in their marriage, but I had heard the stories of before, when her gift was strong and what she said mattered. That is, if any of it was even true. I wasn’t sure anymore.I had little patience for such gibberish. I liked my words and reasoning simple and straightforward. And I was so tired of hearing about tradition that I was certain if the word were spoken aloud one more time, my head would explode. My mother was from another time.I heard her approach and felt her warm arms circle about me. My throat swelled. “My precious daughter,” she whispered against my ear, “whether the gift comes or doesn’t come is of little matter. Don’t worry yourself so. It’s your wedding day.”To a toad. I had caught a glimpse of the King of Dalbreck when he came to draw up the agreement—as if I were a horse given in trade to his son. The king was as decrepit and crooked as an old crone’s arthritic toe—old enough to be my own father’s father. Hunched and slow, he needed assistance up the steps to the Grand Hall. Even if the prince was a fraction of his age, he’d still be a withered, toothless fop. The thought of him touching me, much less—I shivered at the thought of bony old hands caressing my cheek or shriveled sour lips meeting mine. I kept my gaze fixed out the window, but saw nothing beyond the glass. “Why could I not have at least inspected him first?”My mother’s arms dropped from around me. “Inspect a prince? Our relationship with Dalbreck is already tenuous at best. You’d have us insult their kingdom with such a request when Morrighan is hoping to create a crucial alliance?”“I’m not a soldier in Father’s army.”My mother drew closer, brushing my cheek, and whispered, “Yes, my dear. You are.”A chill danced down my spine.She gave me a last squeeze and stepped back. “It’s time. I’ll go retrieve the wedding cloak from the vault,” she said, and left.I crossed the room to my wardrobe and flung open the doors, sliding out the bottom drawer and lifting a green velvet pouch that held a slim jeweled dagger. It had been a gift on my sixteenth birthday from my brothers, a gift I was never allowed to use—at least openly—but the back of my dressing chamber door bore the gouged marks of my secret practice. I snatched a few more belongings, wrapping them in a chemise, and tied it all with ribbon to secure it.Pauline returned from dressing herself, and I handed her the small bundle.“I’ll take care of it,” she said, a jumble of nerves at the last-minute preparations. She left the chamber just as my mother returned with the cloak.“Take care of what?” my mother asked.“I gave her a few more things I want to take with me.”“The belongings you need were sent off in trunks yesterday,” she said as she crossed the room toward my bed.“There were a few we forgot.”She shook her head, reminding me there was precious little room in the carriage and that the journey to Dalbreck was a long one.“I’ll manage,” I answered.She carefully laid the cloak across my bed. It had been steamed and hung in the vault so no fold or wrinkle would tarnish its beauty. I ran my hand along the short velvet nap. The blue was as dark as midnight, and the rubies, tourmalines, and sapphires circling the edges were its stars. The jewels would prove useful. It was tradition that the cloak should be placed on the bride’s shoulders by both her parents, and yet my mother had returned alone.“Where is—” I started to ask, but then I heard an army of footsteps echoing in the hallway. My heart sank lower than it already was. He wasn’t coming alone, even for this. My father entered the chamber flanked by the Lord Viceregent on one side, the Chancellor and the Royal Scholar on the other, and various minions of his cabinet parading on their heels. I knew the Viceregent was only doing his job—he had pulled me aside shortly after the documents were signed and told me that he alone had argued against the marriage—but he was ultimately a rigid man of duty like the rest of them. I especially disliked the Scholar and Chancellor, as they were well aware, but I felt little guilt about it, since I knew the feeling was mutual. My skin crawled whenever I neared them, as though I had just walked through a field of blood-sucking vermin. They, more than anyone, were probably glad to be rid of me.My father approached, kissed both of my cheeks, and stepped back to look at me, finally breathing a hearty sigh. “As beautiful as your mother on our wedding day.”I wondered if the unusual display of emotion was for the benefit of those who looked on. I rarely saw a moment of affection pass between my mother and father, but then in a brief second I watched his eyes shift from me to her and linger there. My mother stared back at him, and I wondered what passed between them. Love? Or regret at love lost and what might have been? The uncertainty alone filled a strange hollow within me, and a hundred questions sprang to my lips, but with the Chancellor and Scholar and the impatient entourage looking on, I was reluctant to ask any of them. Maybe that was my father’s intent.The Timekeeper, a pudgy man with bulging eyes, pulled out his ever-present pocket watch. He and the others ushered my father around as if they were the ones who ruled the kingdom instead of the other way around. “We’re pressed for time, Your Majesty,” he reminded my father.The Viceregent gave me a sympathetic glance but nodded agreement. “We don’t want to keep the royal family of Dalbreck waiting on this momentous occasion. As you well know, Your Majesty, it wouldn’t be well received.”The spell and gaze were broken. My mother and father lifted the cloak and set it about my shoulders, securing the clasp at my neck, and then my father alone raised the hood over my head and again kissed each cheek, but this time with much more reserve, only fulfilling protocol. “You serve the Kingdom of Morrighan well on this day, Arabella.”Lia.He hated the name Jezelia because it had no precedent in the royal lineage, no precedent anywhere, he had argued, but my mother had insisted upon it without explanation. On this point she had remained unyielding. It was probably the last time my father conceded anything to her wishes. I never would have known as much if not for Aunt Bernette, and even she treaded carefully around the subject, still a prickly thorn between my parents.I searched his face. The fleeting tenderness of just a moment past was gone, his thoughts already moving on to matters of state, but I held his gaze, hoping for more. There was nothing. I lifted my chin, standing taller. “Yes, I do serve the kingdom well, as I should, Your Majesty. I am, after all, a soldier in your army.”He frowned and looked quizzically to my mother. Her head shook softly, silently dismissing the matter. My father, always the king first and father second, was satisfied with ignoring my remark, because as always, other matters did press. He turned and walked away with his entourage, saying he’d meet me at the abbey, his duty to me now fulfilled. Duty. That was a word I hated as much as tradition.“Are you ready?” my mother asked when the others had left the room.I nodded. “But I have to attend to a personal need before we leave. I’ll meet you in the lower hall.”“I can—”“Please, Mother—” My voice broke for the first time. “I just need a few minutes.”My mother relented, and I listened to the lonely echo of her footsteps as she retreated down the hallway.“Pauline?” I whispered, swiping at my cheeks.Pauline entered my room through the dressing chamber. We stared at each other, no words necessary, clearly understanding what lay ahead of us, every detail of the day already wrestled with during a long, sleepless night.“There’s still time to change your mind. Are you sure?” Pauline asked, giving me a last chance to back out.Sure? My chest squeezed with pain, a pain so deep and real I wondered if hearts really were capable of breaking. Or was it fear that pierced me? I pressed my hand hard against my chest, trying to soothe the stab I felt there. Maybe this was the point of cleaving. “There’s no turning back. The choice was made for me,” I answered. “From this moment on, this is the destiny that I’ll have to live with, for better or worse.”“I pray the better, my friend,” Pauline said, nodding her understanding. And with that, we hurried down the empty arched hallway toward the back of the citadelle and then down the dark servants’ stairway. We passed no one—everyone was either busy with preparations down at the abbey or waiting at the front of the citadelle for the royal procession to the square.We emerged through a small wooden door with thick black hinges into blinding sunlight, the wind whipping at our dresses and throwing back my hood. I spotted the back fortress gate only used for hunts and discreet departures, already open as ordered. Pauline led me across a muddy paddock to the shady hidden wall of the carriage house where a wide-eyed stable boy waited with two saddled horses. His eyes grew impossibly wider as I approached. “Your Highness, you’re to take a carriage already prepared for you,” he said, choking on his words as they tumbled out. “It’s waiting by the steps at the front of the citadelle. If you—”“The plans have changed,” I said firmly, and I gathered my gown up in great bunches so I could get a foothold in the stirrup. The straw-haired boy’s mouth fell open as he looked at my once pristine gown, the hem already sloshed with mud, now smearing my sleeves and lace bodice and, worse, the Morrighan jeweled wedding cloak. “But—”“Hurry! A hand up!” I snapped, taking the reins from him.He obeyed, helping Pauline in similar fashion.“What shall I tell—”I didn’t hear what else he said, the galloping hooves stampeding out all arguments past and present. With Pauline at my side, in one swift act that could never be undone, an act that ended a thousand dreams but gave birth to one, I bolted for the cover of the forest and never looked back. Copyright © 2014 by Mary E. Pearson

Editorial Reviews

"In The Kiss of Deception, a new realm is masterfully created, featuring court intrigue, feuding nations, breathtaking landscapes, and the gift of sight. Fans of the Game of Thrones series will enjoy the magic and fantasy in this timeless dystopian world." -VOYA"After her strong Jenna Fox series, Pearson adeptly switches gears here from science fiction to fantasy, but her ability to write a romance featuring complex characters and a strong plot remains constant." -The Horn Book"The Kiss of Deception has it all--beautiful writing, heart-pounding suspense, a fiery princess, and an epic romance that'll make you swoon. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year!" -Alyson Noël, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Immortals"The Kiss of Deception is a deeply satisfying, intricately plotted fantasy where no one--no one--is quite what they seem. Full of lush writing and rich, complex characters, readers will quickly become enmeshed in the intricate web of lies that have been woven into the very fabric of the kingdom itself. A thoroughly engrossing read--I couldn't put it down!" -Robin LaFevers, New York Times-bestselling author of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph"This is the kind of story I love--a heart-pounding tale of magic and murder, betrayal and romance set in a richly imagined fantasy landscape." -Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times-bestselling author of the Seven Realms and the Heir Chronicles"*The first in a marvelous new fantasy series that is sure to find an audience with devotees of Suzanne Collins's "The Hunger Games" . . . Romance, adventure, mysticism--this book has it all and it just may be the next YA blockbuster." -School Library Journal, Starred Review"*Pearson offers readers a wonderfully full-bodied story: harrowing, romantic, and full of myth and memory, fate and hope . . . this has the sweep of an epic tale." -Booklist, Starred Review"*Peppered with excerpts from sacred texts and traditional songs, the novel has a formidable heroine at its core, who is as quick with a knife as she is to laugh or cry. Pearson maintains the mystery of Rafe and Kaden's identities, pulling readers through this masterfully crafted story." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"Pearson's first book in her Remnant Chronicles is thrilling. Readers will be hooked from the first page to the last and will find themselves eagerly anticipating the next installment. Pearson pairs a rich and varied plot with a fiery and headstrong heroine." -Romantic Times"Mystery, romance, betrayal, redemption: There's plenty to hook readers in to this installment of Lia's saga and make them impatient for the volumes to come." -Chicago Tribune"Pearson's writing is beautiful, and her ability to twist a plot into knots keeps the reader wanting more." -BookPage"This thick book is fantastical and interesting (with a bit of mystery thrown in!)....There's a lot of mystery that spices up the book. It's not all about the mystery, but it's on the peripheral always, which makes it that much more interesting." -USAToday"Lia herself is a likeable heroine, and the selfishness in her act of leaving a kingdom in shambles for some future love is negated by her obvious naivete about political strategies and romantic relationships . . . Most intriguing are the two love interests, though, partly because of the way Pearson structures their narrating chapters." -BCCB"Rich and exciting . . . a bold ending whets appetites for the next installment." -Kirkus Reviews