Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson


Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. 
Pages: 486
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Goodreads

I really, really, really didn't like this book. I feel like there have been a million reviews for The Kiss of Deception lately and I'm so bleurgh about the book overall so I'm going for the bullet points.

Here we go, seven reasons I did not like The Kiss of Deception:

1. LOVE TRIANGLE. This one was especially insufferable. Lia gets to choose between an aimlessly moody prince with a bland personality and a wishy washy assassin who isn't assassiny enough to be cool but is way too assissiny for Lia to actually consider as a romantic partner (unless she's lost her mind, which, well, more on that later). Both choices are awful and shouldn't even be on the table for consideration, yet Lia somehow manages to fall for both of them. Can you hear me face-palming?

2. Lia is not very bright. You know how sometimes authors make their characters do unrealistically stupid things in order to advance the plot? Yeah, The Kiss of Deception is kind of the opposite of that. The plot is incredibly unrealistic in order to accommodate Lia's blinding stupidity. So, Lia's decision to run away from home (that would be, her ROYAL home), shirk her duties (which would be entering into a political alliance through marriage) and play barmaid in a tavern a few towns over? Yeah, no one will look for her, or find her!

SPOILER (except her brother, who finds her pretty fast...and lets her stay there because, um, royal responsibility is for suckers so enjoy shlepping drinks and crushing on the locals?)

3. Three quarters of the (very long) book is spent doing absolutely nothing. Also, incredibly uneven plotting. Where was the editor?

4. Total cliffhanger ending. Don't think I can be manipulated into reading book 2 by dangling all those loose ends in my face. I don't care enough about anything in this book to bother reading the next one, cliffhanger or no cliffhanger.

5. Lia destroyed a priceless historical heirloom. As a lover of history, antiques, and all such things I literally gasped when Lia casually discarded this object in a scene that I think was supposed to make her seem "free spirited" but just made her seem childish.

6. The world building was seriously lacking. Sporadic allusions to political disputes (with no substance), impending war (with no legit cause), and the existence of some kind of magic stuff all set in a generic Medieval-ish village does not constitute proper world building. Inserting vague story excerpts randomly throughout the narrative also does not constitute world building. Even if it's written in italics.

7. Look, I'm totally cool with unreliable narrators, but they have to be done right. When done right, they can completely make a book. There's so much wrong with the way it was done in The Kiss of Deception. It was obvious, but less because there were clues and more because it was handled in an awkward, clunky way. Absolutely nothing changed once it was revealed so I don't really see what the point of it was to begin with.

Bottom line

Awful. Disappointing. Almost enough to make me swear off this author if she hadn't also written the fantastic The Adoration of Jenna Fox.


Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

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13 comments:

  1. That is disappointing to hear. Especially with such a interesting cover cover. I have a weird think about flowers and interesting weather on covers. This hit both buttons but love triangles and bland world building are pure evil.

    -Rebecca

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    Replies
    1. I agree, the cover is pretty. I really like the font design and the moody sky. But, alas, I agree with you on the pure evil.

      Delete
  2. I agree with basically everything you've said. I thought this was an almost bafflingly bad book (though I haven't read the author's other work and can't compare it to that). I've been surprised by seeing generally positive reviews of it because everything you point out is right: the love triangle is ridiculous, Lia is really stupid (despite the author's attempts to convince us otherwise), and the world building is haphazard. I won't be reading the sequel either. All the cliffhanger did was annoy me that I finished such a poorly written book and didn't even get a feeling of completion for my efforts.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! Bafflingly bad! What a perfect way to describe it, especially in light of Jenna Fox. I guess readers who like the love triangle pretty dress books would like this one too, which is good for them at least!

      Totally agree with you about the cliffhanger too. It made me frustrated that I finished the book, not excited to read the next one.

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  3. Yep, pretty much agreed with you about all of these points, except I think I gave this one a slightly better rating. Lol, I might have been in a generous mood ;)

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  4. Oh noes! I really wanted to read this one with all the comparison to "Graceling" that's been mentioned in reviews. I had such high hopes of this one. I do plan on reading it still, but I'll have to lower my expectations.

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    Replies
    1. I wasn't a huge fan of Graceling, but I liked it a whole lot more than this book. I don't really see the comparisons though.

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  5. Totally agree! This book was meh all around.

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    Replies
    1. yup, definitely not your kind of book.

      Delete
  6. Haha- I really enjoyed this one. Some of the things that really bothered you, didn't bug me at all. I wasn't super impressed with the Prince or the Assassin, but that's mostly because I couldn't figure out who was who. I also didn't mind the love triangle (and I absolutely hate love triangles). I dunno, I am looking forward to the sequel. Maybe it's because I don't really a lot of fantasy (I don't particularly like high fantasy), maybe that's why this one didn't grate on my nerves so much.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh boy. I had sort of had the impression from Goodreads updates that you didn't think this one wasn't all that, but I didn't know how truly you disliked it! I thought I might like this one because I know quite a few people who really dug it, but I was able to follow you from point to point here and I agree with everything you said - I would dislike those things too!

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  8. I totally agree with you. I really didn't like the book either. And I tried so hard to like it. I guess it was just one of those books for me.

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