Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: July 7, 2015

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.

If you haven't read the first book, I beg you to stop reading.  In fact, I hope you didn't even read the book synopsis.  The Kiss of Deception was one of the first reviews I posted on this blog (found here before I figured out how to review books).  I fell in love with The Remnant Chronicles right from the start.  The Heart of Betrayal was easily my most anticipated read this year.  And Pearson did not disappoint.

So I'll cut to the chase.  Did I love this book as much as the first one?  Not quite.  Did I still love it?  Yes.

And here's why:
The world building is phenomenal and the writing is beautiful.  Venda... It's such an interesting place.  There are secrets everywhere and things aren't necessarily as they always seemed.  And I liked that Venda certainly had some aspects of Russian culture.  From the Komizar to calling friends comrades.  Even trying to distribute food and wealth evenly (but fully failing because people are biased) seemed slightly reminiscent of an old socialist Russia.

There are things that aren't stated outright, but they happen.  And the reader is left to figure it out.  I feel like if I reread these books I would glean a whole bunch of new information I hadn't seen before.

The characters... Oh my goodness the characters.  I love most of them to pieces.  Kaden earned a particularly special place in my heart when we learned more about his backstory and how he became the Assassin.  Rafe spent much of the book as a prisoner, but it was interesting seeing him interact with all of the Vendans, pretending to be the prince's emissary, pretending he had no regard for Lia.  He is truly a wonderful actor.  Lia is still the strong and feisty heroine she was in The Kiss of Deception.  And we see he scheme even more in this installment.  The Komizar, I'm not sure how I feel about him.  He was an interesting and complex character, but altogether an ass.

In this book I would say my least favorite was Pauline.  So I was really grateful that her chapters were kept to a minimum (there were four I think).  She was weak in the first book and she's weak in the second book, not seeing past what's right in front of her and not seeing past her own feelings.  But every time I came upon a Rafe or Kaden chapter I got really excited.

Overall, the only issue that I took with The Heart of Betrayal, the only thing that made me love this book slightly less than the first, was the plot.  Over the course of 470 pages not much really happened.  They arrived in Venda as prisoners.  Some minor things in the middle, then the end of the book.  Sure, there were lots of revelations about this person betraying that kingdom and all sorts of political intrigue and some growth of Lia's gift.  But it still felt like not much happened.  The slow plot was definitely saved by Pearson's gorgeous writing.  Of course, the ending was full of action and left off at such a wonderful cliffhanger, just as evil as did The Kiss of Deception.  I am now anxiously awaiting the next book to be available for pre-order.

And now some spoilers so look away if you haven't read:
My thoughts on the end... hmmm... I don't think Kaden is dead.  I think we'll see him in the next book, probably come back and kill his father.  I also don't think Lia will die from her injuries since hers is the main voice in the story.  I hope that Sven and the others can get to Rafe, or that they can get to someone and tell them the truth of what happened with Lia being a prisoner and all.  But that wouldn't make a good story for the next part would it?
It's okay to look now!!

My opinion overall?
Overall, I loved this book.  I would recommend it if you loved the first one and aren't afraid of love triangles that are actually done well.

No comments:

Post a Comment