Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Square Fish
Pub Date: July 5, 2016
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape… and even less of being together.
Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.
Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people… and her own destiny.
“The rules of reason build towers that reach past the treetops. The rules of trust build towers that reach past the stars.”
I can’t say much about this book without spoiling the first one for you, so I’m going to keep this vague. I also suggest you avoid reading the synopsis from Goodreads because there might be some spoilers there.
Click here to read my review for The Kiss of Deception (book 1 of The Remnant Chronicles). In that review, I mostly talk about the abundance of tropes and the inevitable love triangle that is the driving force being this story.
This next part is completely spoiler-free but will go over the general premise of book 1.
Lia is a princess who ran away on her wedding day. She is later pursued by the prince she was supposed to marry (in order to secure an alliance between their two kingdoms), an assassin who was hired to kill her (to ensure that the alliance never happens), and various other people who just want her dead because they think she’s a traitor. The fun part of this story is that Lia doesn’t know who the prince is, and who the assassin is, but she has feelings for both of them. And since this is a YA fantasy, of course all the boys are attracted to her. That’s how these stories go.
If you can get over all of the tropes, the first book was actually really enjoyable but lacked proper worldbuilding. It was all very cookie-cutter. I couldn’t imagine the kingdoms or the social hierarchy until I read this second instalment. In that respect, I have to say that this trilogy has improved a lot. We learn a lot more about the world in general, including the history and mythology of the various kingdoms.
I also really liked Lia’s character development. I was worried that she was going to become more and more annoying as time went on but that was hardly the case. She’s come a long way from the oppressed princess she used to be. She is smart and resourceful, and so what if she wants to kiss a few boys to get where she needs to be? Her cunningness was impressive. Really, there’s a reason the first book was called “The Kiss of Deception”. There’s a lot of kissing and a lot of lying, but both make for a good read.
The one thing that really bothered me about this book was how the love triangle essentially became a love square. Whether the characters are only there to develop the plot or not, it’s really annoying to read about several people pining over one person. (*cough* Celaena Sardothien *cough*) Fortunately, Lia only has eyes for one guy. The others are just in her way for the time being.
Plot-wise, some crazy stuff happens in this book. We spend the majority of the story in the kingdom of Venda, where things are very different from what Lia was taught in her kingdom of Morrighan. The ending is pretty intense. I can’t say what happens, but let’s just say that I need to get my hands on the third book as soon as possible. You can’t just leave me hanging like that.
In conclusion, this trilogy has really surprised me so far. It started off slow and I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but here we are. Bring on book 3!