I received this book for free from 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
Also by this author: The Kiss of Deception
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Also in this series: The Kiss of Deception
Published by Henry Holt and Company (BYR) on July 7th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar's interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia's deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.
Last year I was beyond desperate for the sequel to Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss Of Deception. Desperate to the point of contemplating learning some hacking skills so that I could maybe hack into the Macmillan mainframe and read it. You see, these are things that people like me seriously think about and fantasize about when we are beyond the moon in need of finding out what happens next. Luckily I did not have to work that hard and learn how to become a hacker because Macmillan is staffed with wonderful publicists who happened to hook me up with The Heart Of Betrayal, book two of the Remnant Chronicles and the continuation of Lia’s story. FYI, beyond this are some spoilers for The Kiss of Deception head’s up. Friends, compadres, companions, I LOVED The Heart Of Betrayal. OMG. Like, I didn’t quite eat it up as fast as The Kiss Of Deception, but trust, it was one of those cannot put down read in a span of hours despite being thicker than half the books on my shelf type of reads.
The Heart Of Betrayal mostly takes place in Venda — as Lia is imprisoned there by the Komizar. Granted, she’s with Kaden, the assassin from the last book who has a total crush on Lia, and FYI typing that makes me feel like I’m 12. Anyways, so Lia could totally be having the worst imprisonment ever, only she is a tough little bird and so, she learns to speak some more Vendan and she begins to actually win the people of Venda over. This is to the dismay of the Komizar, FYI. So, okay, anyways, there’s also POV chapters from Rafe <3 <3 <3 and Kaden. And also Pauline’s point of view! This is in addition to Lia’s point of view. There’s no love triangle, sorry rejected bro. Really, this book is all about how Lia lives through her captivity, how she’s truly a queen in all senses of the word, and how badly Rafe wants to rescue her from the clutches of Venda. Also, it’s a story of denial — yes — denial of KISSING, because you know, there’s an image to be maintained for Lia and Rafe and Kaden, in order for all three to live and not piss off the Komizar.
Frankly, Lia continues to be the star of the show and the whole entire reason you need to read Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles. I mean, sure the side characters and other point of view characters are great and take this book to the next level. Yet, Lia is the driving force and there’s a reason. Instead of being down on herself and all oh woe is me and then all, oh no the Vendans are total barbarians and I refuse to be open minded, Lia takes her terrible situation and decides to learn about the Vendan people. She wins their hearts because she stays humble. She doesn’t act prissy or like she’s better than them. She gets to know the struggles of the people — namely that they are hungry and cut off from resources. I loved this. I loved that Lia succeeds not by pouting but by empathizing. Sure, she has to fake her gift because that’s why the Komizar is keeping her alive, but eventually that gift does come. Eventually she’s able to glimpse the future, however, while she’s faking it and being used as a tool, she’s doing what she can to survive. I am forever and always a total Lia stan.
I was going to do separate paragraphs on Rafe and Kaden, however, feeling kind of lazy. You all know how that goes, I think. Anyways, so Rafe is awesome as per usual. He’s the prince of Dalbreck and he has this grand scheme to free Lia. His scheme involves only a few people instead of an army and it’s kind of on an Ocean’s 11 level. Essentially that means his plan is one of the most engaging things about this book. I found myself really looking forward to Rafe’s chapters. And let’s just say I totally ship Rafe and Lia. Now, as for Kaden, he’s the Komizar’s right hand man, yet he’s fallen for Lia against his best wishes. So, he protects her while she’s in Venda as much as he can. If he gets way too protective, the Komizar could simply kill her just to maintain control over Kaden. Tangled webs being weaved, my friends, tangled webs.
OH and there’s Pauline too. She’s a boss bish, that’s all you need to know, boss bish and goes above and beyond my expectations of her.
This book, The Heart Of Betrayal, should get an A+ in world building. It expands upon the world created in The Kiss Of Deception. Instead of Venda being a far away idea and almost like an off the page imagined thought, Venda becomes startlingly real. As I keep hammering out, we get to realize that these people aren’t really barbarians, bad or evil, they are just hungry. They just have a different way of life than Lia and Rafe. Yes, the traditions and culture are different and it’s kind of a more male dominated culture. Still, a fascinating book.
Really, the TL;DR version of this whole review of The Heart Of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson is “change your life, read this series” and “OMG WHERE IS THE THIRD BOOK NEED IT NOW.”