BookPage Teen Top Pick, July 2014
There are all kinds of lies and prevarications in the aptly titled The Kiss of Deception, the new book from award-winning author Mary E. Pearson. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia (or Lia, as she prefers to be called), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, does not want to marry the unseen prince from a neighboring country. Lia—accompanied by her lady’s companion, Pauline—forsakes her parents’ wishes and runs away on her wedding day.
These two young women are clever and resourceful, capable of obscuring their tracks and making a life in a small village many miles from the court intrigue they left behind. But, of course, it is not to last. The prince, miffed and insulted by her rejection, comes looking for her, and a political schemer sends an assassin to kill her. The handsome young men find her at the same time, but neither does anything at first. Lia thinks they are traveling workmen in town for a festival, and they let her think so. Even the reader is not sure which one of the men is the assassin and which is the prince, and the reveal makes for an exciting moment in the story.
The book’s slow build takes off when Lia realizes that what she wants is not as important as her power to help thousands of people. Pearson’s writing is beautiful, and her ability to twist a plot into knots keeps the reader wanting more. It’s going to be frustrating to wait for the sequel!