Full disclosure: I judge books. Not just their text, but their cover and title. I’m not ashamed, everyone does it. And it helps narrow down what I want to read next.
So normally I’m hesitant to read a book with the word “kiss” in the title when it doesn’t have glowing reviews. I know it’s closed minded, but scientific studies have shown that I tend not to like books with that specific word. I’m just horrifyingly unromantic.
So when I was sent an advance copy of Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception, I was wary. I believed that, because that dreaded word was part of the title, it would be a romance-heavy plot (which tend to make me break out in hives).
I was happy to be wrong.
Well, not entirely wrong. Romance is still a major plot aspect. But it’s interwoven with political intrigue, so that it’s not just another love triangle.
Let me explain.
Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception is the story of Princess Lia, First Daughter of her kingdom and thus prized for the ability to foretell the future that she is supposed to have. On the morning of her arranged marriage to the prince of a neighboring kingdom she runs, hiding in a tiny village far from her castle and working as a barmaid. When two mysterious men stop into town and show interest in her, Lia is drawn to them. Little does she know, one is her jilted groom and the other an assassin sent to kill her.
So it’s like a sexy fantasy game of cat and mouse…
Okay, that came out much worse than I intended.
What Intrigued Me: In the same way I shield away from the word “kiss”, I tend to avoid plots with love triangles. They just don’t appeal to me. But I liked the idea of a girl not knowing who the guys she was attracted to were. I mean, not only is she falling for the arranged groom she ran from (fun), but also the man sent to kill her (even more fun).
What Hooked Me: The world building. Lia’s kingdom is very ornate with an interesting royal court and honor code. I couldn’t help but like the rules she was forced to play by.
What Made Me Fall In Love:The format. Which sounds like a pretentious-ass reason to love a book. But the setup makes it so much fun to read.
While the majority of the story is told from Lia’s POV, chapters alternate between her, the prince, and the assassin. The problem is, no names are used in either of the boys’ chapters, so you can’t determine which boy is which at first. So, while it gives you more insight than Lia (since she’s unaware that someone is trying to kill her), the reader still has a mystery to solve.
And, unlike romance, I love a mystery.
The Kiss of Deception is out July 8 from Henry Holt & Co. Check out its Amazon page or pick it up at your local bookstore! You never know who you might meet in the stacks…