Ever since I read Kiss of Deception, I knew I needed the next one. I had read it late last spring as an eARC, and after finishing it, I knew the wait would be utterly unbearable. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC from the publisher at North Texas Teen Book Festival in Dallas, and when I held it in my hands, my heart sand with excitement! I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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. (Godreads)
My Bookish Thoughts:
Kiss of Deception was like a slow simmer for me, but this one was at a roiling boil 100% of the time. I never knew what was going to happen next. Twists were all over the place, and there was a bit of a mystery that kept you wondering what intentions all the characters had. I feel like this book is actually the strongest out of the two both in character and plot.
As always, Lia is strong and intelligent and is ten steps ahead of everyone when it comes to small rebellious acts. That's one of the things I love most about her! In KoD, you saw how much of a backbone she had, but this book turned into something that was so much stronger than a backbone... it turned into pure strength that was not masked solely by pride.
As with the last book, this installment has a bit of a love triangle still. That's the only thing I could have cared less about. I mean, personally I like Kaden a little bit more than Rafe, but I always go for the ship that eventually sins...and I'm so scared it will sink in the future books. Despite the romance aspect, there's a ton of action and political intrigue that draws you in and captures your attention even more than the romance.
I feel like this book does a much better job in the world building department. I thought KoD was fantastic in this aspect, but Heart of Betrayal stole the cake with this one. It flowed so seamlessly, and I was completely surprised by how beautiful she made a harsh and starving country. The customs and culture of this new setting were astounding and executed very well.
Needless to say, I cannot wait to have a chance at reading the next installment! This series is beautiful and fascinating and enthralling, and anyone who reads it will want more!
If this book were to come with a warning label, it would look a lot like this:
This book will make you gnaw your nails to the quick and pray to the gods of Venda for the survival of the characters you hold most dear.
I gave this book 5+ stars.