The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson This book was confusing to me. I thought through more than half of the book that Rafe was the assassin and Kaden was the prince. Then Kaden waylaid Lia on her way to fix her selfish mistake, and I was forced to switch around who I thought was who. This was mostly the author's fault because, I was listening to a recording of it so I can't go back and look, but I don't think that the boys' names were mentioned in the chapters from their points of view until after they met Lia, which would help to account for my confusion. In spite of that poor choice on the author's part, I did like Lia. She was selfish and annoying and frustrating, but because she wasn't a perfect princess, a perfect character, she seemed real. I hate what happened to Walther and his family, but I liked the way Lia's grief was written. It felt genuine. I disliked her decision to lie to Pauline about Mikael, but I thought that was a very realistic decision.

I liked Rafe. Mostly. During the time I mistook him for the assassin instead of the prince I wasn't very fond of him, but I liked the prince before I knew his name, and I liked Rafe after I figured out who he was. I like that he didn't want an arranged marriage any more than Lia. I liked that he didn't intend to force her to marry him. I liked that he earned her love (mostly, he would have earned it more completely if he had told her the truth). I liked that, in spite of his rivalry with Kaden, he was willing to work with him to protect Lia.

I liked Kaden too, though not as much as Rafe. The same as Rafe, though, while I thought Kaden was the prince and Rafe the assassin I preferred Kaden, but before learning their names I'd perfered the prince, and after figuring out who was who I did prefer Rafe. Kaden was unique though. Goodness knows I don't understand how Kaden started to care about Lia quickly enough to not kill her, she wasn't exactly the sweet-as-pie, impossible-not-to-love person that one would expect an assassin to be unable to do his job for, but since he did start to care for her, I did like his fights with himself, and how he protected her. The only problem is that he shouldn't have been in love with her. Why do so many authors insist on spoon-feeding us love triangles? We're tired of those, they rarely work, and they make it harder to read the book because we're so busy trying to decide which paring we prefer. I would have enjoyed to book more if Kaden had began to care about her as a friend, or as a brother, but it just bogs down the story to have him be 'in love' with her. Especially since, in my mind, if you love someone you do whatever you can to protect them. This may be an issue whether we have Kaden loving her as a brother or a lover however, even though, by stopping her and bringing her back to is city was, in theory, protecting her from bodily harm, his preventing her from warning her brother, and so many other things did her great emotional harm, so, unlike Rafe, I don't buy that he truly loves her in any way. He cares about her certainly, but he doesn't love her.

Pauline was bland. I keep forgetting her name. She has the potential to develop into an interesting character, but at the moment she is just the stereotypical best friend, supporting the main character in all her boy-problems, and any other stupid decision she might make. I expect, with Pauline heading back to speak to Lia's father, she'll probably run smack-dab into her jerk of a lover who she believes to be dead. I hope not, not because that wouldn't add a dimension to her character, and to her and Lia's relationship, but because that's what I expect, and I sincerely hope the author surprises me in the next book.

I am having character name trouble. Odd, that's not normally a problem I have... Anyway, the other tavern girl, the one who wasn't a princess or her maid, and wasn't Birdy, the tavern's owner, was very interesting. The fact that she (most probably) has a daughter means that she has a lot to protect, the fact that she was/is a spy means that she is a strong character with a lot of potential. The fact that she is going with Pauline to try and get help for Lia makes me think she knows people with influence in Lia's royal court, it makes me think may she'll have to reacquaint herself with her daughter's father. I wish that this character were in the story more. She was very interesting.

Birdy wasn't a major character, which is annoying because it felt like she should have been, but the book degenerated into a boy-gets-girl story so quickly that the part that Birdy could have played was downplayed to the point that, beyond being the girls' employer, the only important part she played in the story was talking to Lia so that Rafe could overhear her low opinion of the prince (who was the same person as Rafe).

Lia's family is unknown. We hear about how much her parents, especially her father, have hurt her, but after she runs away they aren't important. We meet Walther, and he has an important part, but even he wasn't in the book as much as he could have been. We don't grieve for Walther and his wife and unborn child so much as we feel Lia grieving for them, but we didn't even meet his wife. I can see why this was skipped. The book was long enough as it was, but maybe if we had met her we would have been more upset when we learned of her fate. We don't meet any of Lia's other brothers. I hope they become more important in the next book.

As I mentioned before, Lia is annoying. I get to like her, eventually, after Kaden is dragging her to his home to serve his people, but before that she was a selfish, spoiled, whiney brat who was willing to sacrifice a peace, and the lives that would be saved through peace, in order to have her own happy ending. Do I blame her? Not entirely, but you would think she would have considered the consequences of her flight, not just for herself and Pauline, but for the rest of her kingdom--the rest of the world--as well.

I like books about arranged marriages, however, as of yet, almost every one ends like this. Either the girl gets out of the arranged marriage, while still preserving peace, or she runs away, or she falls in love with her fiancé and ends up being happy to marry him. I'm guessing this will be the third kind. The only book I've read where the woman actually married her arranged fiancé without falling in love with him was Elisa from [b: Girl of Fire and Thorns|10429092|The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)|Rae Carson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1323448113s/10429092.jpg|13282366], and even she avoided dealing with the majority of the pain that would come from being forced into a loveless marriage.

I plan on reading the next book, but I hope that it will be more unique.