The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception

by Mary E. Pearson

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: July 8th 2014
by Henry Holt and Co.




The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arriveβ€”and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets, even as she feels herself falling in love.


Kiss of Deception is yet another example of a book being ruined by a superficial and underdeveloped love triangle.

It really is a shame because, in all regards except for the romance, The Kiss of Deception is a relatively decent and enjoyable read otherwise.

Princess Lea is to be betrothed to a complete stranger, so she does what any normal girl would do: she runs away. Hiding in disguise in a nearby kingdom, she soon finds herself attracted to two handsome villagers. Little does she know that one of those villagers is an assassin sent to kill her, and the other is a prince.

The story drags throughout because there really is no plot. 75% of the story follows Lea hiding undercover in this village, pretending to be a servant; debating over which boy she likes more. There are no action sequences or significant events that happen in the story, and after a while you really can’t help but feel a bit bored.

Lea herself was a bit of a mediocre protagonist. There’s nothing completely different about her or anything that helps set her apart from other YA fantasy protagonists like Celaena or Alina, and she seemed a bit typical to me. I never felt a true connection with her as a character, and I found it a bit hard to sympathize with her because of that.

I can tolerate love triangles when they are done well (The Hunger Games or Snow Like Ashes come to mind almost immediately), but the love triangle in Kiss of Deception felt so artificial and contrived and I found it hard to invest myself in the romance because of that.

All in all, if more happened in the story and if the love triangle was less of a primary focus, Kiss of Deception could have been an extremely strong book. Unfortunately, those two main flaws kept me from enjoying it as much as I wish I could have. However, for some reason, I still have the urge to read the sequel. Go figure.


58 thoughts on “The Kiss of Deception

  1. It’s such a shame that a love triangle ruined this book! I have this on my tbr list, but I’m a bit sick of love triangles lately so I probably won’t be getting to it anytime soon…

  2. Awww I’m so sad to see you didn’t enjoy this one! I can see how the love triangle would annoy you. Lia really comes into her own in book 2, and book 2 has more action and plot building. Sorry you didn’t like it πŸ™ It is a bit slow, but I just loooove the writing and the world-building.

  3. Mannn I really can’t see myself enjoying this book, despite the awesome things I’ve heard about the fantasy world and Heart of Betrayal! The whole way the love triangle is approached here is totally against the types of books I usually enjoy. Lovely review zoe <3

  4. Aww, I am so sorry that this one didn’t work out for you! I kind of loved it, but I do understand why people don’t! Logically, I feel like I shouldn’t love it, but I can’t help but! If you do end up reading Heart of Betrayal, it’s much more action-oriented and less focused on romance, if that helps πŸ™‚ Great review though, and my fingers are crossed that you’ll love whichever book you read next!

    1. I was wondering if book 2 was better and whether or not I should read it, so thanks for the insight Shannon. πŸ™‚ And I guess I can understand why you’d like it a bit.

    1. It seems everyone has different opinions about this. Sorry to hear it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea either Ellie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though!

  5. NOOOO THE CURSE OF THE LOVE TRIANGLE STRIKES AGAIN. I’m surprised there are no thrilling chase scenes considering that Lea is running away :/ It’s sad to hear that Lea is a typical heroine too, it really wouldn’t have hurt to throw in a teensy twist in her character like she may be a tough giant but she likes hugging puppies & children. Literally anything to set her apart.

    1. It really is a shame because the concept really was pretty creative. πŸ™ And yes – anything to set Lea apart would have been welcome.

  6. Oh, boy, another love triangle… I don’t usually care about them, but you’re right: The have to be done well. Well, I don’t think I will ever read this. I know I shouldn’t judge the book like this, but just the name gets me dubious because it sounds… like a romance. Geat review all the same.

  7. I would happily bury basically every love triangle ever in the ground and NEVER THINK ABOUT THEM AGAIN. *collapses on the floor groaning* Okay, I do like a FEW, but seriously, it seems like the most common love-plot-device and gah, it basically 90% of the time turns me off the book. I still kind of want to read this one because I see it mentioned so much, BUT I HAVE LIKE 2% INTEREST AND I THINK I’LL END UP NOT LOVING IT. Because. I trust you. πŸ˜‰

    1. I mean, the original love triangles like Katniss, Peeta and Gale, were decent; but now they seem to just be there for no purpose whatsoever. I’m okay with love triangles, but they need to move the plot along, you know?

  8. Agh, no, I liked this book! But I really do agree that the love triangle was a pain to read. Can we just inform all authors to NEVER do love triangles ever again? They are usually not done well. And, yes! There IS NOT PLOT. It’s entertaining and the ending was great, but that boring section in the town put me to sleep. Great review, Zoe!

    1. I completely agree. If there was more plot, then the love triangle might not have bothered me as much; but it was so focused on the romance that it was hard to ignore. 😐 I’m glad you liked it though Erin!

  9. Grr, I know how you feel about wanting to read the sequel even though you didn’t like the first book. But yeah, Kiss of Deception sounds like a bit of a downer. It’s a shame, because there are so many great opportunities with that storyline–you know, ways the author could explore the meaning of love and what it means to know someone and…I don’t know. Just, deep stuff. I mean, it sounds like it could be really interesting if only it had a bit more too it. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    1. It really is a shame, because the concept is great, and like you said, there are so many ways the author could have taken it, but yeah, it was just so flat execution wise. πŸ™ Thank you Liz!

  10. Ooh I’ve read so many different opinions of this book, that I don’t know what to think! I’m not a fan of a plotless book, with a heroine that is just there trying to decide about who to love when there are bigger stakes at hand. Ugh, those characters really annoy me. Thanks for the honest review Zoe! xx

    1. Yeah, I hear you Joy. πŸ™ There have been so many different opinions about this I don’t know if anyone knows what to think anymore. It’s one of those books you just have to read and see for yourself what you think. Thank you for the lovely comment!

  11. I have like zero interest in reading this book, to be honest. The entire love-triangle thing turns me off, and it sounds like a bore. There IS a part of me that’s curious about it, though. Maybe I’ll just pick it up for kicks.

    1. I hear you – that’s how I felt when I saw reviews before I eventually picked it up. I think you just have to read it when you’re in the right mood, you know?

  12. Hahahhaha. I actually liked Kiss of Deception, but I didn’t like how similar the two love interests were (seeing as we had to guess who is who, so I guess I don’t blame the author). I’m mainly looking forward to the second book because I want to know what happens next plot wise. Romance wise….eh. I do like Rafe? But just a little.

    1. I guess I can see how the love triangle might have been intriguing Val – it just didn’t work for me personally unfortunately.

  13. Shaaaaaaaaaaaaame. πŸ™ I think I’d feel differently depending on whether I like the romance, considering it’s basically the main focus, haha. Buuut, at least you feel like you want to read the sequel, even though you’ll probably regret that decision. πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s definitely a matter of whether or not you click with the romance Kirsty-Marie. (And LOL…I’m probably going to regret the decision, but whatever).

  14. I loved this book. I can totally understand about the love triangle, and tbh it doesn’t get better in the next book. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I know love triangles are a big turn off for some people.

  15. I remember thinking this one sounds good, but the love triangle put me off – I’m glad I didn’t rush to read it now! It’s such a pretty cover though, and the world sounds interesting… oh well. I wonder if you will like the sequel more though- perhaps it will make this book more worthwhile!

  16. I also really didn’t care for this book. I agree, this is not the way to do a love triangle! Lia is quite average and the time she spends at the inn was enough to bore me to tears. While there were some interesting peeks at intriguing plot lines beyond the romance, they felt like haphazard details thrown in to give the book something of a fantasy feel. (Extremely disappointing.) The ending was stronger, but I finished feeling little faith in the author, so I think I’ll be avoiding the sequel. Great analysis!

    1. So glad I’m not the only one who felt that way Lina! It felt there was no actual plot, and that the only “plot” was the romance itself, which gave it such a slow feel to it, you know? Hopefully the sequel is better.

    1. I haven’t read The Adoration of Jenna Fox yet, but is sounds really good. I’ll have to read it and see how it compares and get back to you on that.

  17. This is one of those books where I have seen so many mixed reviews. Some people love it – but some feel like nothing much happens except for the love triangle like you. I don’t know what I am going to do with this one :/

    1. There have definitely been some incredibly mixes reviews Olivia. I think it just depends on how you feel when it comes to the romance. I’d suggest giving it a try and seeing what you think from there.

  18. I really dislike badly executed love triangles. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There are only a handful of books that got it done right, and I applaud them for it. Too bad this book didn’t even you a proper plot. Ugh. That just sucks.

  19. That’s really disappointing! I hate when most of the plot is “who do I love more??” Not to mention that the MC is just hiding out WHILE doing that…ugh. I already have a copy so I might as well read it anyways. I don’t think you’re alone in how you feel about Kiss of Deception either. I think a lot of the hype failed to deliver. Those covers are always so misleading!

  20. This really could have been epic, apart from the fact she’s hiding in a village and NOT DOING ANYTHING. Gosh, however must this poor lass fill in her days? I don’t mind a well written love triangle, but it sounds like a game Russian roulette and her pinging between them both. With a bland storyline, at least create an incredible romance. I’m surprised you were able to finish this one Zoe, hopefully the next book improves and something ACTUALLY happens. Looking forward to that review, as I have a feeling it might be scathing πŸ˜€ Incredible review as always <3

    1. I don’t know about you Kelly, but I’d be pretty darn bored if all I did all day was think about which guy is cuter, you know? 😐 Ha…thank you!

  21. Great review! I’ve heard of this book, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. It sounds like the story had a lot of potential, but it’s too bad the love triangle takes center stage. Sometimes that’s just not the best for a book. Although, I still like the cover for some reason.

  22. When I first heard about this book (when it came out) I had zero interest but this year, with the second book being released I started hearing great things again I gained a little interest but love triangles are not for me. In book supposed to have action I don’t mind a little romance (I’ll probably end up shipping hahah) but I definitely don’t like when it’s the main focus.

    1. *whispers* I just finished the second book (don’t ask why I read it, I honestly have no idea myself) and thought it was much better than this one. The love triangle’s still there, but it’s more in the background so it didn’t bother me quite as much. Thank you!

  23. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. I didn’t either. The pointless love triangle completely ruined the story for me, and made me sure that I wasn’t going to bother with the rest of the series. Love triangles are tolerable when they are done well, I just wish they were done well more often.

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