The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co on by July 7, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her 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 savages. 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.
Critical Rating: ★★★★★
Entertainment Rating: ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★★
Plot: Slow to Medium Paced | Intriguing | Captivating
Characters: Fleshed Out | NO ONE IS ANNOYING | Complex | Mysterious | Character Development
World Building: Unique | Full Of Culture | Picturesque | Beautifully Described
Writing: First Person (Multiple PoVs) | Poetic | Flawless | Simply Stunning
(SPOILER FREE REVIEW FOR THE HEART OF BETRAYAL! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE KISS OF DECEPTION, THERE MAY BE MINOR SPOILERS HERE :O)
Spoiler Free Review for The Kiss of Deception here
The Heart of Betrayal literally and figuratively captured my heart. After reading and loving The Kiss of Deception a couple months ago, I was both so nervous and excited to get my hands on the sequel. We all know what the dreaded “Second Book Syndrome” is and I had unfortunately experienced that one too many times within the past couple of months. Thankfully, Mary E Pearson unquestionably knew how to magically weave a story and within the first few pages, I was hooked, the worries far away and long gone.
I am going to start off this rather gushy review praising how females and feminism was portrayed within this book. There was such an amazing balance between male and female characters that we usually don’t get in YA. Female friendships, Male friendships, platonic friendships, sibling relationships, family relationships and all that good stuff was clearly prominent in the book from start to finish. It wasn’t just a sweet romance between Lia and her love interest, the people on the sidelines were also just as if not more important and crucial to their lives.
As we are already on the topic of characters, I would like to mention the amazingness of the side characters we get introduced to in The Heart of Betrayal. While I definitely cannot say that all of them were the typically “nice” people, they were all so well fleshed out that I could understand their position and perspective on life. Among my many favourites were Calantha, the Komizar, Aster, and Rafe’s friends. More specifically, Calantha and Aster were such wonderful characters that perfectly captured the female “friendships” within this novel. (I say “friendships” in air quotes as Calantha really wasn’t in the position to be friends with anyone much less Lia’s) They were both complex and realistic, Aster especially made me smile at how adorably sweet she was. Her and Lia seemed like the ideal mother and daughter and that was just too much cuteness for me to handle ❤ Likewise, Rafe’s friends were a hilarious bunch and the lengths they were willing to go through to save Rafe
‘s butt warmed my heart. And now… The best for the last. The Komizar. The Komizar was so morally grey and I absolutely hated to love him. Yes, he was horrible and yes, he was a villain but at the same time, he truly believed that he was doing the best for his people. As the snip bits of his secretive past revealed themselves, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he was actually evil or just born under terrible circumstances. He also reminded me a little of The Darkling from Shadow and Bone and we all know how much I loved The Darkling ❤
“Sometimes winning is not only a matter of knowing the rules, but of making your opponent think he knows them better.”
Likewise to the amazing minor characters, the main trio was just as fabulously fleshed out. Lia once again surprised me with how much love I could have for a fierce, intelligent and brave heroine. Her character development usurped even the one she had in The Kiss of Deception and her ability to manipulate political situations was jaw dropping. (For those of you who read it, how epic was the card game? :O) As most of my favourite leading ladies are, she accepts her strengths and weaknesses and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Though rightfully nervous when neck to neck with big, loaded guys with arms the size of her legs, she isn’t one to back down. Instead, she makes the most sarcastic, cynical remarks that blow up right in their faces. You go girl!
“I am a player seated at the table alongside everyone else, and from this day forward, I will play my own hand as I see fit. Do you understand me? Because the consequences could be ugly if someone thought otherwise.”
Now for the prince of Dalbreck. Rafe made me swoon one too many times in The Heart of Betrayal. After his deceptions in the first novel, I was feeling a little wary about his true character but alas, he is still the perfect man that I want to steal. Rafe’s character continued to grow deeper and his background mysterious, completely shattering any misconceptions about the typical “snobby royalty” stereotype. He was just so dauntless and his loyalty and love for Lia made me want to cuddle into a ball and cry.
“But the fact is, I came for you, Lia, no matter who or what you are, and I don’t care what mistakes I made or what mistakes you made. I’d make every single one again, if that was the only way to be with you.”
Unlike most YA love triangles, I also really liked Kaden as the other male protagonist. While I will always be Team Rafe, Kaden’s early life made me tear up and I just felt so bad for the unfairness of it all. I do have some speculations about what might happen to him in The Beauty of Darkness (the third and final book) and I am dying to see if any of them turn out to be true.
As for the romance, Lia thankfully makes it very clear who she prefers out of the two men. Her opinion doesn’t change once throughout this sequel and though she is afraid, she listens to her heart. All of this amazingness resulted in the prevention of a cliche love triangle and I sincerely thank Pearson from what might have been the cause of lower rating. I don’t want to say who she chooses (though most of you may already know) but let me just tell you that it’s DANG ADORABLE ❤
Now the world building and writing. Seriously, what can Pearson NOT do? I was so worried about switching locations from Morrighen to Venda but now I realize what a huge mistake that was. As much as I loved the safety of Morrighen, the world of Venda was just so interesting. The irony of the barbarians living a much more developed and technology reliant life than the royalty definitely caught me by sheer surprise. And oh man! The ancient tales of the powers of First Daughters as well as the religious texts were so well developed and cleverly thought through. Each word that was written on the page was necessary and added so much to the already rich world, culture, and characters. Basically all I am trying to say is that though it is a slower paced fantasy, The Heart of Betrayal captures your soul leaving you breathless and wanting more.
Although this is definitely a five star book, I usually without fail have something that I want to see being improved. Whether it is the world, the characters, or the plot, there has to be a missing piece, no matter how small for each and every story. Well, guess what? I had absolutely NO complaints about this book whatsoever. Actually… Wait! I do! I NEED THE THIRD BOOK RIGHT NOWWWW!!!! PLEASE ??? *Puppy eyes*
If you somehow couldn’t decipher my rambles thus far, YES, I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone. Even if The Kiss of Deception was somehow not your thing, trust me and give The Heart of Betrayal a try. It was in my opinion, as close as you could get to perfection and you will for sure have a new set of characters to root for and adore.
“We’ve had a terrible start- it doesn’t mean we can’t have a better ending.”
Have you read The Heart of Betrayal or are you planning to? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks for reading lovelies xoxo,