This is a review for The Remnant Chronicles trilogy as it currently stands, with only the first two books released. Both of these reviews are spoiler free!
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR) on July 8, 2014
A princess must find her place in a reborn world. View Spoiler »
She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.
Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. « Hide Spoiler
THE KISS OF DECEPTION is exactly what it appears to be: a fun, romance-heavy YA fantasy novel. If you’re looking for a deftly constructed, elaborate fantasy world, then you should probably look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a light read about a princess on the run, then this one may be for you.
Princess Lia escapes the palace and her arranged marriage to live her own life, and along the way she discovers countless secrets about her kingdom, her culture, and herself. She’s always believed that “the gift,” a type of clairvoyance possessed by the first daughters of Morrighan was little more than a legend. But maybe her power isn’t some made-up story after all…Those of you expecting lots of fantasy world building and an exploration of Lia’s powers will be disappointed. THE KISS OF DECEPTION is much more about Lia coming into her own rather than coming into her powers.
The fun part of this book is trying to guess who’s who – is Rafe the assassin? Is Kaden? Mary E. Pearson plants a bunch of red herrings and kept me guessing right up until the reveal. Before this reveal, the plot is somewhat meandering, but afterwards things begin to pick up very quickly.
Lia undergoes considerable character growth throughout the book, which is good because I felt she was bit too petulant and spoiled when the story began. But she’s not afraid to work hard and her job as a serving maid in a local tavern gives her some perspective about how the common people live in Morrighan. But of course, a princess can’t stay hidden for long, and Lia’s destiny won’t be ignored…
While this book didn’t blow my mind, I flew through it. Definitely a page-turner, I’d recommend THE KISS OF DECEPTION to those looking for a “fantasy-lite” beach read.
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #2)
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR) on July 7, 2015
View Spoiler »Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.
Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny. « Hide Spoiler
THE HEART OF BETRAYAL picks up immediately after the events of THE KISS OF DECEPTION, with Lia in a pretty sticky situation. Trapped in enemy territory, one wrong move could mean her death. But Lia has become more cunning than her enemies suspect, and she’s not about to go down without a fight.
Mary E. Pearson does a much better job with world building this time around, fleshing out the “barbarian” country of Venda and giving a face to its people. Raised to believe that all Vendans are savage and uncultured, Lia must confront the convenient lies she’s been fed in order to fuel the centuries-long war between her kingdom Morrighan and Venda. I loved reading about the various clans of Venda, and hearing their version of the Remnant stories (the dominant religion) gave a lot of insight into the Vendan people. The gift also plays a larger role in THE HEART OF BETRAYAL, as Lia learns to embrace her visions and attempts to interpret their meaning – before it’s too late.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the love triangle, which continues to play a crucial role. Lia has such convoluted relationships with both Rafe and Kaden – they’ve both lied to her and betrayed her, but she can’t help feeling something for them. While it appears that Lia has made her choice, I will be shocked and disappointed if she ends up with the guy she’s favouring now. I was totally on board with her choice in the first book, but now I have shamelessly jumped ship. But only time will tell what will become of Lia’s kingdom, her gift, and her heart.
This series continues to be a great “palette cleanser” option, something gripping and uncomplicated to read between heavier or more substantial books. While they’re certainly not an example of the best YA fantasy has to offer, The Remnant Chronicles are exactly as advertised: full of intrigue, kisses, and betrayal. And sometimes that’s all I want from a book!
What are your favourite “palate cleanser” or beach read titles? Do you like reading about feisty princesses as much as I do? Have you read THE REMNANT CHRONICLES? Inquiring minds want to know!