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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles #2
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publication.Date:July 7, 2015
Pages:470 (hardcover)
Published By:  Henry Holt and Co.
Website:Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayl on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

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.


"What if you hadn't found Princess Arabella at all? What if you'd only found me, a tavern maid name Lia?"

"Then I wouldn't be here right now. I'd be in Tarravin kissing the most infuriating girl I ever laid my eyes on, and not even two kingdoms could tear me away." He stepped closer and hesitantly cradled my face in his hands. "But the fact is, I came for you, Lia, no matter who or what you are, and I don't care what mistakes I made or what mistakes you made. I'd make every single one again, if that was the only way to be with you."
He took my hand and slowly kissed my knuckles one at a time, just as he'd done back in Terravin, but now I thought, This is Prince Jackson Tyrus Rafferty kissing my hand, and I realized it mattered not one whit to me. He was still the person I had fallen in love with, crown prince or farmer. He was Rafe, and I was Lia, and everything else that we were to other people didn't matter to us. I didn't need to fall in love with him again. I had never fallen out.
I closed my eyes, hating myself. I found no satisfaction in the fact that I had become as accomplished at deception as Kaden. All I tasted was my carefully calculated lie.
And then he explained.

His first words froze me; the next ones left me numb. Word by word. I watched his mouth move, admired the careful precision of each syllable, traveled the line of his lips, his facial hair so neatly tirmmed across his jaw, the curl of his dark locks against the white of his shirt, his skin clear and warm. I traced the line of a small vein on his neck, listened to the careful pacing of his voice, magnetic, powerful, watched the flickering light play across his forehead. So much to draw my mind away as he laid out detail after detail, but it wasn't enough to block it out completely. Word by word. It was the last thing I expected to roll from his tongue. A turn I hadn't seen coming.

Oh, Mary Pearson. You talented lady, you. I had fully intended on asking for The Heart of Betrayal for a Christmas gift, but there was no part of me that could wait. The ending from The Kiss of Deception kept playing over and over in my head and there was no way I could go on having not read The Heart of Betrayal. Super dramatic, I know, but that's how much I love this series.

The Heart of Betrayal picks up right where The Kiss of Deception left off. Rafe and Lia are now prisoners of Venda, something Venda doesn't ever do, and they quickly need to figure out now only how to survive but how to escape. Thanks to Kaden, the Komizar decides to spare Lia's life in an effort to bring hope to his people and Rafe's because of reasons (aka a spoiler).

One of the things I love about The Heart of Betrayal that we don't see in The Kiss of Deception is a strategic plot. Yes, I love The Kiss of Deception, but this novel is so much better. We see Lia come more into her own and years of being a princess and playing with her brothers payoff. She is cunning and clever, turning the situation to her advantage, even when things seem bleakest. She's brave and refuses to appear meek and mild to the Komizar. There were times when I (along with Kaden and Rafe) was begging her to be quiet, but that's not Lia's nature. She knows when to show her hand and she knows when to play it close to her chest.

There were times I was worried a love triangle was forming, but Lia stays true to her heart. Which is, in my mind, the smart move because while Kaden is a nice guy, Rafe is perfect. He is as equally cunning as Lia and holds his own rather well. Honestly, they're perfect for each other and I'm mad at both of them for their actions (and inactions) that take place prior to The Kiss of Deception. This could have all been avoided! But then we'd miss out on this great story, so . . .

Anyway. If I could give The Heart of Betrayal more than 5 stars, I would. Mary's writing is on superb and her ability to write so flawlessly from multiple point of views is impressive. Her details are strong, her dialogue witty, and her characters realistic. August is a long, long ways away and while I'll be sorry to see this series end I cannot wait to read The Beauty of Darkness!

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