Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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

“There are no rules in survival.”

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

Published by Henry Holt
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Pages: 470

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:  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.

Teisha's Review

I have to admit that The Kiss of Deception wasn't my favorite. I found that it was good, but not great. The plot was intriguing, especially in the beginning, but by the end the story was lacking. I didn't like the attempt at a love triangle; it felt cliché and forced. However, the last chapter was really great and left readers with quite a few questions.  Those questions were what motivated me to pick up The Heart of Betrayal.

The Heart of Betrayal was quite an improvement.  I absolutely loved it!  That love triangle that I wasn't quite feeling before?  It has me hooked now.  Because the question still remains: who will Lia choose?  But, of course, that's not the main problem of the story.  The Heart of Betrayal is filled with secrets, politics, and romance.  Oh, it's so good.

Here are the five reasons why I gave The Heart of Betrayal 5 out of 5 stars:

★ Lia, The Kidnapped Princess

Readers get to see Lia's character develop quite a bit in The Heart of Betrayal.  I find that I like her character a lot more than I did in the first installment of The Remnant Chronicles.  She is strong, and brave, and incredibly determined.  I love that she is trying to serve a bigger purpose and isn't always worried about her own well-being.  She constantly puts others before herself and makes sacrifices in order to do what is right.  I think that she has come a long way from being the royal who ran away so that she could live a life free of obligation.

★ Kaden, The Assasin

So, when I read The Kiss of Deception, I was a little iffy about Kaden.  We learned that he was the Assasin whose job was to kill Lia.  And then he kidnaped her when she was so happy in Terravin.  Therefore, by the end of the first book he had easily become Enemy #1 for me.

But oh, how things have changed.  We learn so much about Kaden in The Heart of Betrayal.  We get his backstory, we get to see him at home, in his element, interacting with his people.  And, we get to see his relationship with Lia grow.  Personally, I really like Kaden.  I think that he and Lia have a lot more chemistry than she and Rafe do.  Kadia (yes, I just made that up) is end game for me.

★ Venda, The Barbarian Lands

The entire story of The Heart of Betrayal takes place in Venda.  When Lia first arrives, she thinks that the people are strange barbarians, and the place is not very comely (see the front cover of  the book for reference).  But, Lia soon finds that Venda is actually really beautiful in its own way, especially when it comes to the people who live there.  After the oldest tribe in Venda accepts her, she begins to make friends and starts to learn to appreciate Venda's culture.

Vendan culture is very rooted in tradition.  And the people are brave and hopeful in the midst of terrible living conditions.  I really loved this world which was a stark contrast to the happy, carefree world of Terravin.

★ New Characters

Three of my favorite characters in The Heart of Betrayal are all new to the story, all Vendan.  First, there is the Komizar.  He has that whole Darkling (Shadow and Bone) vibe going--he's a villain you love to hate.  He can be cruel and power hungry, but you can tell that he truly does care about the good of his people.  We learn a bit about his backstory, which makes his evil motivations understandable and his character easier to empathize with.  All the best villains have backstories.  Preferably tragic backstories.

Then there is Calantha who is awesome and badass.  I can't tell much about her character without spoiling things, but I really hope to see more of her in the next installment.  Also, I hope that she and Lia become friends.

And finally, there is Aster.  Aster kind of reminds me of Elide from Queen of Shadows.  She is one of the young servants in the Komizar's Sanctum who helps Lia in any way she can.  She feeds her information, gives her supplies, etc.  But, she is also incredibly sweet and she looks up to Lia a lot.  Their relationship is absolutely adorable.
Pearson's new characters and her thorough character exploration are definitely what made this story stand out for me.

★ Twisted, Cliffhanger Ending

Emotional.  Action-packed.  Surprising.  The final scenes of The Heart of Betrayal were all of the things you want in a fantastic ending.  Even more importantly, it left readers wanting more.  The last line of the book, "Hold on for me", is such a tease.  There are still so many unanswered questions.  There's still that question of 'Who will Lia choose'?  But, readers are also forced to ask questions about Lia's gift and about the ancient history of Venda and Morrighan.  What will Lia's next move be? What is going to happen to Venda?  Will Lia ever make it back to Morrighan?  So much to consider!


Overall, The Heart of Betrayal was really great.  The pacing was faster, the characters were more developed, and I loved the setting of Venda.  I can't wait for The Beauty of Darknessthe third installment of The Remnant Chronicles, to his shelves next year.  These books are getting better and better, and I'm sure that the final installment won't disappoint.  

Don't Forget to Say Your Remembrances

  1. Have you read The Heart of Betrayal or The Kiss of Deception?  Share your thoughts!
  2. All aboard!  Which ship are you taking?  Kaden's or Rafe's?  

Hope to talk to you soon!

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