I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7th 2015
Source: the publisher
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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.
I loved The Kiss of Deception so much – it was one of my favorite books of 2014 – so I was really nervous to start The Heart of Betrayal, worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations or would have Second Book Syndrome. It picks up right where The Kiss of Deception ended, plunging the reader right back into this amazing world. Despite the slow pacing in the middle of the book, this was an overall enjoyable read.
Lia is filled with sass and fire. Despite everything that happened to her, she remained strong and fierce. She’s determined to play the game and deceive the Komizar, ensuring Rafe’s safety and their freedom in the process. She played the game so well, I almost started to ship her and the Komizar! Though she falls apart a few time and she has some unlikable moments, she has a lot of growth in this book. And that evil cliffhanger…!!!! I NEED book three, like, now!
When I reviewed The Kiss of Deception, it was hard to talk about Rafe and Kaden, since their identities were a mystery (as far as which was the prince and which was the assassin). If you read that review, though, you know that this back-and-forth guessing game left me confused and frustrated and actually distracted me from the overall story. Going into The Heart of Betrayal, I had a lot of trouble remembering which guy I liked from book one and why because of the left-over confusion. So, because I couldn’t remember anything about my feelings for them from book one, I had to rely solely on how I felt about Kaden and Rafe based on their behavior in The Heart of Betrayal.
I’m pretty sure I liked Rafe more and shipped him with Lia in The Kiss of Deception, but to be honest, his chapters in The Heart of Betrayal bored me. And at times, I really shipped Lia with Kaden more. But they both had their moments of bad behavior and I almost got to a point where I didn’t ship Lia with EITHER of them. By the end of the book, I think I was back on Team Rafe – and I say “think” because I’m still not sure how I feel about certain things.
I struggled with my feelings for the Komizar, as well. At times, I couldn’t stand him and at times, I really liked him. I kept waiting for him to open up to Lia and soften towards her. I guess, in hindsight, that may have been a bit predictable and I’m almost glad it didn’t happen. He was the villain and that’s how it should be. The ending was INSANE, though. I kind of expected what happened to happen, but it still came as a huge WHOA moment. But since we didn’t get “final confirmation” on what happened, it still feels very open ended and like anything could happen next. I have a LOT of theories…
Some of my favorite characters – as was the case in book one, as well – were Pauline and Gwyneth. They’re hilarious together and I really want to see more of them! I actually really liked Calantha, even when she was being evil and manipulative. There was something about her character that intrigued me. The revelation of who she is was pretty epic. I also really liked Aster and my heart broke for her at the end. Finally, I really liked Griz and Eben, though it took me a while to remember who they were from book one.
And that leads me to the parts that were confusing… I barely remembered anything about the “ancient” characters from book one, so whenever they came up, it slowed me down while I tried very hard to remember. I think a “Who’s Who from Book One” character guide would have been helpful. And maybe a short page or two on the “History of Morrighan, Venda and Dalbreck.” I couldn’t remember who Gaudrel was from “The Last Testaments of Gaudrel” and it took me a long time to remember the history of Morrighan and Venda.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, the ending was an EPIC INSANE CLIFFHANGER OF INSANELY EPIC PROPORTIONS. I can’t even wrap my head around it and I finished reading it like a week ago! The ending almost makes up for the slow pacing and confusion in the middle of the book. I’m very excited for the third book and can’t wait to get my hands on it to see what happens next!!!