The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception is a fluffy read for those who like their heroines energetic, if a bit self obsessed. It feels like a concept book – one where the author decided to write a story based upon everyone lying about who they are – and are not. As such, the story and characters are flat and the story doesn’t feel fleshed out beyond that concept.  At heart, it’s a girl who runs from responsibility, lies to everyone, and vacillates between two boys in an insta-love triangle.

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Story: Princess Lia abruptly decides to run away right before an arranged marriage ceremony to a prince of a neighboring kingdom. The wedding was to strengthen both kingdoms against invasion and save her people. With a maid as companion, she runs to the maid’s village and takes a job as a waitress at an inn.  The prince she was to marry and an assassin also chase her and end up at the village.  Each lies about their identity though the boys know that Lia is the princess. They get to know each other until the assassin boy decides he will kidnap her and the prince will follow them.

I had a hard time with the believability of the story. For one, the prince, her brother, and an assassin can all track her just fine but no one else in the kingdom thinks to look at the maid’s village despite the fact that the princess only left with the maid?  And if you are trying to lay low, why take the most high profile position at any place – the inn waitress. The worldbuilding is odd – a post apocalyptic future where people remember e readers but no one has any technology at all. It’s a medieval future where plastic has been eradicated? It just doesn’t make sense.

The characters are hard to like as well.  All the deceptions really underlie shallows and selfish reasoning.  How to like a girl willing to get so many killed just because she doesn’t want the responsibility of an arranged marriage?  Or the prince and assassin who spend days and days getting to know her instead of doing either of their duties? It all felt like a poorly plotted CW TV show with excessive drama over nothing.

This does skew young and really is about the romance rather than the plot. The gimmick is that we don’t know which is the prince and which is the assassin.  As Lia begins to gravitate to one of the boys, we’re left guessing which she chose. But honestly, I didn’t wish her on anyone or really care which of the boys she chose.  Absolutely no one took anything seriously in the book and the self centered characters exacerbated the situation.

I’m sure there are many who will like this based solely upon it being a romance.  For me, I need more in a story.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, romance, YA. Bookmark the permalink.

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