The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson Review or Not-as-much-kissing-as-expected

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

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 arrive—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—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

I’m generally bad at being mean about things, especially books. I like to imagine the author writing them and then get sad if I don’t like the writing because my imaginary (and I’m sure the real) author worked so hard to get it out to people!

But that only explains my three star rating for a fairly meh book overall.

It had so much promise: the first daughters with ‘the gift’, the running away from an arranged marriage, the assassin and prince both arriving on her doorstep and her not knowing who is who! That all sounds pretty exciting, and a lot of the things I like reading about when I want a comfort read.

But it wasn’t executed particularly well for me. There were lots of times when things were told and not shown, especially when new chapters started. A lot of ‘I turned up there because this happened and then this did, and so here I am.’ Like, I want to see all of that, to feel the reactions of the characters and to know more about how they handle every situation. To bond, basically.

In saying that, this book somehow also managed to overstay its welcome in certain scenes. It’s not like I want daring sword fights to the death in every chapter, but almost half a book being just ‘I settled into this town and then two guys show up’ was a bit much. I think I was 300 pages in when something really happened to drive the plot forward.

I did however love the main character, Lia was so nice and exactly how I thought a rebelling princess would be. Unfortunately I wanted to see even more of this too. Just a bit more in the palace showing her rebelling in little ways leading up to her wedding day would have really rounded her out I think, and shown the contrast between how she was expected to be and who she wanted to be in the town she escaped to much more.

Only once the plot starts moving forward in the last third did I really get what I wanted to see in her. More fire and emotions and her really coming into her own.

Oh, also, there was one scene that I almost laughed at. *Minor spoilers* here for those trying to avoid them.

There’s a scene where the Prince and his crew are talking about Lia and finding out more about her through the Prince and his description. This, to me, sounded much more like a stereotypical ‘girl chat’ than any conversation I’ve heard before. He goes all mushy all of a sudden, out of character, and then literally goes ‘and the kiss…’ *deep sigh* And his friends go ‘It was that good??’

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had that level of stereotypical girl talk with all of my best friends, even when we’re being especially gossipy! It threw me out of the story a little and seemed jarring in terms of the Prince’s character.

Overall, I still think this book is a good easy read, if you don’t mind ignoring a lot of plot issues and being flexible with your character development, and I might even read the second book in the series in future if I run out of books I can just read for fun and turn my brain off during. (You need those every now and again, to escape daily stresses.) But, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to all of my friends.

P.S. Though look at that gorgeous cover! If anything, it’ll look good on your shelves.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) Review or why space rules!

[[SPOILERS]] If you haven’t read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff then look away now! Or not, I suppose, I’ve made sure not to include any spoilers in my review. It’s up to you!

Gemina is book two of The Illuminae Files series and the blurb is as follows:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

It’s a hard ask for a book to follow Illuminae, especially given how much attention this series has had by book-lovers and bloggers alike. So to be able to live up to the hype, this book easily deserves its five stars from me.

The format is so clever, being documents and messages, that you actually don’t get to see the characters as you usually would. Normally you’d get little body language quirks to get to know someone and see how they feel in a scene and know more of their personality. With messages, all of the character development is in their language and how they speak. It’s so limited but somehow every character has their own voice so well.The drama and intrigue was so exciting, and I think started even faster than in Illuminae, which was nice since the mystery was a little less creepy than the first book so this helped to balance it out.

One minor point, so minor I haven’t removed any fraction of a star for it, was that the ending was a teeny bit rushed for me. Having the drama and explanation of the big issue built up so much and so slowly, the ending then felt a little quick and easy in comparison. But really, this wasn’t as big an issue as it usually is in other books for me, given how overall amazing I thought this book was.Hanna and Nik are also more flawed than Kady and Ezra were in Illuminae, but I think I like them just as much because of that. Anti-heroes are my kryptonite so sue me!

In general, this book and its format are going to be one of my favourites of 2018 and I am on the absolute edge of my seat waiting for Obsidio! (Third in the series) I have no idea how I’ll manage the wait.

Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️