Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#Wednesday Review - The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: The Remnant Chronicles # 2
Format: Hardcover, 470 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's 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 barbarians. Now that she lives amongst 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.

The Heart of Betrayal is the second installment in The Remnant Chronicles by author Mary E. Pearson. Betrayal picks up pretty much where The Kiss of Deception left off. After being dragged across an entire continent by Kaden and his ilk, Lia and Prince "Rafe" Rafferty arrive in Venda as prisoners. Kaden has kept Lia (aka Jezelia aka Princess Arabella of Morrighan) alive by claiming that she has the gift. Readers get their first look now only at the harsh conditions of Vendan, but also at their leader called the Komizar who ends up having more than a keen interest in Lia's so called gift.

I really struggled with writing this review, which is why it took me 6 days to get to it. I think Pearson definitely raised her game to the highest levels this time out. I am not hesitant in saying that THIS book was even more clever, more intense, and more entertaining that Kiss was. While the ever annoying triangle of love was present, we do get a better understanding of each of the characters while adding some interesting background to Lia's "gift" that is actually real. We also get several POV's switches which includes not only Lia, Rafe, and Kaden, but Pauline who was left behind by Lia, and now has her own challenges to deal with. 

I found the entire gift story very appealing and want to know where Pearson is heading with it. Readers now know that Lia's isn't just a special snow flake. She's the real deal. She actually has some talents including the ability to see into the future. I also felt as though Lia's relationship with Rafe was better expanded especially since he's gone all native in order to protect her. It's hard for me to deal with triangles, but if they are done correctly, and without malice towards either character, then I can bite my tongue and get over myself. I do think that both men love Lia in their own way. I do believe that I will stand by my assessment that Rafe is the better candidate for Lia, but Kaden's surprise announcement to Lia about their future, raises some doubts in my mind.

I definitely feel for Lia though. She's done the best that she could under difficult choices and still makes some mistakes. In fact, I absolutely agree now with her decision to flee her kingdom and seek her own future while also getting a bit of a backbone to her. Then again, she has watched as a loved ones were brutally murdered, and now her entire kingdom is blaming her for what happened. One might start asking themselves why anyone would want to go back to that environment unless it was to pay back her detractors and betrayers. I loved that the people of Vendan felt a connection to Lia. I loved that they came out to hear her story telling. I dare say that she was a bright light in an otherwise dark, dreary, and dangerous city.

One of my favorite characters in this book was Aster. I adored her, and her relationship with Lia. I absolutely felt heartbroken thanks to the Komizar's actions. Komizar is a character who is definitely a brilliant strategist and leader. He rules with an iron fist, but his people bear the brunt of his agenda which reminds me of some Middle East and African Henchmen who ride around in the lap of luxury, while their people are starving to death. Komizar has some interesting people surrounding him which just creep me out. I am definitely eager to see what Pearson does after leaving readers with a major cliffhanger.

I sound like a broken record at times, but I do recommend that you read Kiss of Deception before this book. I love when authors summarize the events that happened in previous books, but in this case, you would do yourself a favor by re-reading, or waiting until the entire trilogy is out in print. As for me, I make notes while reading books. Helps me remember key events and characters. I can also go back to said notes before proceeding with the next book. As a reader of 300 plus books a year, I just don't have time to re-read anything. Maybe when I'm sitting in a nursing home by myself, I'll re-read the books I enjoyed the best. 

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