Review: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E Pearson

Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E Pearson
Publisher/Year: Square Fish 8/2/16
Length:   300 Pages
Series:  The Remnant Chronicles

Overview

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 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.

My Thoughts

So, to be completely honest, i’ve totally forgotten all about this series since i had received the first installment via Netgalley.  When i looked back at what i thought of the series then, i have to say that i was willing to give book 2 a chance.  My issue though is that i really had no idea what was going on since i couldn’t quite remember all the details but at least the gist of the story came back to me.

So here we are, with Lia finding herself in the hands of the leaders of Venda, with Rafe along with her being captured.  What i needed a second to remember though is that Rafe is the prince that Lia was supposed to marry – and whom she fled from because she hadn’t known him before her wedding day and didn’t want to be married off to someone that she didn’t know.  Interesting enough that they find that they have a true attraction to each other, but a shame that they are now in the situation that they are in right now.

So we find them in the hands of the ‘enemy’ – one who killed Lia’s brother so she’s even more enraged.  All she wants is to find a way to keep Rafe safe, and keep his secret identity safe.  Kaden proves to be a huge help, yet he has alliances with the Komizar (the leader of Venda) and that makes things all that more complicated.

So the journey in this second installment is one of survival – how will Lia, Rafe and Kaden survive all that’s going on.  What’s the final hope for Lia – in the sense of will she get home and if she gets home, what will she find there since her family thinks that she’s a traitor because of running away along with them hearing news of where she is now.

The Komizar also proves to be an interesting person.  The way that Venda is run, to become the ruler, you have to kill the standing ruler and that’s what he has done already.  He’s feared by everyone, yet there are bits of the story that we learn that make you wonder if there actually is a nice guy in there.  You start to warm to him at some moments, but when he forces Lia to do things that she is truly against, spinning his story instead of her own, and then forcing her to marry him – well you know that things are going to go downhill.

The other side bit of this story is that we see a plan being hatched – Rafe has 4 of his guards on their way to save them both, and while that seems like a lost cause since we know that Venda has hundreds of thousands of soldiers being trained to take over the land, we can hope that maybe they are skilled enough and sneaky enough to be successful.  Their identities are only known to each other and Rafe – at times Lia is still in the dark.

There are a few things that are really interesting to me about this story – there’s the ‘sense’ – the magic that Lia seems to possess that few have and many are afraid of, yet she doesn’t seem to have full control over her visions.  there’s also the fact that the ‘Song of Venda’ and all of their folk lore talk about sisters and a girl named Jezelia who will be able to bring down Venda’s horrible ruling body and make them flourish once again.

So we’re seeing a lot of foreshadowing on what will be coming, and we can only hope that Lia survives whatever the Komizar has in store for her so that she can bring down their kingdom, some how get back to her family, and be with Rafe all in the end.  There are flipping alliances throughout this story which make things confusing.  Characters that we think are on one side turn out to be on the other and there are supporting characters that prove to be incredibly valuable that you want to be as invested in them as you are Lia, Rafe and Kaden even.

So on that note – i hope you guys take a read and enjoy.  I’ve got the final book in the series to get to one of these days and i hope that it brings the story to the conclusion that it deserves.  Enjoy!

ARC Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

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Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author:  Mary E. Pearson
Publisher/Year:  Henry Holt and Co 7/8/14
Length:  339 Pages
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1

Overview

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

My thoughts

I wasn’t sure what i was getting myself into with this story – just that it sounded interesting and very different from what i’ve been reading lately.  I’ve been a sucker for books like this before, YA but a bit of fantasy – and if you remember the Graceling series – this is kind of where i was going.

So in this story – we are united and introduced to our leading lady Lia – on the day of her arranged marriage – one that she’s not overly excited about.  She’s getting the traditional Henna tattoo on her back and sorting through things in her head about what’s to come.  If she’s going to be stuck in this marriage to someone she’s never met or if there’s something different out there for her.

Turns out  that she’s decided that she wants more – and she flees – with her aide and they run for a village far far away that Pauline her aide was born in.  They spend several weeks there, working and hiding out – all while they get to know the folks in the village – along with 2 strangers that have arrived – separately but seemed linked in a way.  These 2 become our leading men – Kaden and Rafe – one that’s an assassin that’s been sent to kill Lia and one that’s the prince that she fled from.

What i liked about this book is the style of writing – i’m sure it was intention but each chapter is from someone different’s POV and you’re never entirely sure who is who until the latter 1/2 of the book.  We get names at the headers of some, and then titles like Prince or Assassin on others.  I kept trying to work through things in my mind to resolve which was which.

The undertone of this story is that there’s a history that first daughters are gifted in the sense that they can see visions or hear things that was made to save civilization after all was destroyed.  there’s a fierce war going on between where The princess and prince came from and where the assassin came from – all because of things that we don’t yet know, but we do know that the gift that Lia is supposed to have is feared.

Throughout this story – she thinks that she doesn’t have the gift – and it’s not until she meets some nomads who tell her otherwise, and she realizes that her tattoo isn’t coming off and that there’s more to it than she believed.  She’s also managed to translate some texts that she stole from home that seem to be very valuable that she begins to think that there’s more to her life than what she knows.

The other bit to this story is what’s not necessarily the point – but what i got out of it anyway.  we get a coming of age story – of a princess who’s lived the life that her family expects – yet she chooses for herself the path that she wants and gains her own strength.  That’s something that we get a lot in stories like this – in the YA genre – but it’s still important none the less.  the other bit is that we see a lot of internal conflict of our leading men – they know what’s right and wrong – but is love or loyalty more important?

That’s kind of where we are left off at the end of this first installment.  no one is safe – and you don’t know yet who’s able to protect whom and who even wants to.  I like that we see a happy reunion of sorts – but i don’t know if it will be short lived or if someone will come to their rescue.

So i guess it means now that i’ll have to wait until 2015 to read the next installment unless our friends at Netgalley bestow the 2nd ARC to me as well.  enjoy!