ARC Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

21569527 The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)

 Mary E. Pearson

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

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.

~Review~

I absolutely adore this series.  I actually won a copy of The Kiss of Deception through a Fierce Reads giveaway last year, but passed the whole lot on to my local high school before reading any of them.  Crazy, I know! So when I saw Kiss of Deception at my library, I snatched it up. It was not at all like I thought it would be…..it was SO MUCH BETTER!

Imagine my excitement when the darling Britt @ Please Feed the Bookworm sent me a copy of The Heart of Betrayal!  It looked a little something like this:

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(By the way, if you guys don’t follow Britt, YOU SHOULD! She’s awesome and funny, with a wee bit of sass!)

So this book……

Mary E. Pearson did a stellar job at building the tension throughout the whole book.  Even when you thought, ok, maybe now these characters will catch a break–NOPE!  SO much was going on behind the scenes, and NO ONE is who you think on the surface. This book was like a ninja.  Pearson expertly weaves this story so that you’re reading along, unsuspecting, and then BAM, sneak attack! And the tension and anticipation just continue to build until you are left with one of the most STUNNING endings I’ve ever read.

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(Me after reading THAT ending)

What I liked

The Worldbuilding:

In The Heart of Betrayal, we are introduced to Venda and learn the history of both the land and the woman for which it is named.  Pearson paints such a cold, ruthless picture of this forgotten Kingdom.  For the most part, this is a land of cruel, hardened people in an even crueler, hardened landscape, exploited by the their rulers.  But Pearson tucks in small pieces of humanity among such a dreary backdrop that, if you’re like me, has you quietly rooting for these people to succeed.

The Characters:

In The Heart of Betrayal you get more of all the characters you loved in The Kiss of Deception and then some. Pearson takes us deeper into what makes Kaden tick. We get to meet the Komizar, who is deliciously complex, and a host of other Vendan characters.  We also get more of Jeb, Tavish, Orrin, and Sven which I loved.  If I was ever in trouble, I’d want those guys to have my back!

What I didn’t like

That the story ended.  That I have to wait another whole year for the last book.

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I urge you all to read this series!!  I’d love to hear what you thought about The Heart of Betrayal, drop me a line!

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824  A Court of Thorns and Roses

  Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like        creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land  she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal,  but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a  fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the  beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the  faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world  —forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy  and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

 

~Review~

This was a hard review for me to write, because I really, really wanted to like this book.  And why shouldn’t I?  Gorgeous cover? Check. Interesting premise? Check.  Hype? SO MUCH HYPE!  But the sad fact is that I just didn’t.

I enjoy a good fairy tale retelling, so I was excited by the prospect of reading a twist on Beauty and the Beast.   I felt the book started out great, and I was drawn to Feyre’s strength and conviction to keep her family alive, even if they were worthless in helping themselves.  I respect that.  I thought that all of the characters were well written, and I liked how the author pulled from different mythologies to create the Fae lands.

Where it started falling apart for me was when Lucien cussed for the first time.  Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but for me it was jolting and immersion breaking.  My first thoughts were, wait– a High Fae cusses just like a human?  Where’s the imagination and creativity in that?  I’m not opposed to a High Fae cursing, but when the author takes such great lengths to show us how set apart the Faerie world is from the Human world, it just didn’t feel authentic.

But my biggest problem with this book is that it is masquerading as a YA book when in fact, it is NA.  And maybe I should have known better, but I purchased this book in the YA section at Target, and have seen it only displayed in YA sections in every other bookstore I’ve been to.  I feel this is a gross misrepresentation on the part of both the publisher and the booksellers.  Because of this, I was wholly unprepared for the graphic nature of the “love” scenes.  Though, be warned, the graphic descriptions are not just isolated to the “love” scenes between Feyre and Tamlin.  They are pretty much every time Feyre looks or thinks about Tamlin– girl’s got a dirty mind! Then again, maybe I’m just a prude.

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And can we talk about that scene where after months of separation, Feyre and Tamlin steal minutes alone together in a closet? Instead of using the time to bolster each other’s spirits and reinforce the belief that their love was stronger than all that they were facing, they went at it like animals.  Crass.

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This is the first Sarah J. Maas book that I’ve read, so I can’t compare ACOTAR to her other works.  It’s clear that she’s a great writer, but perhaps I should have started with her Throne of Glass series.  Or, I should have done more research on this book’s actual genre.   Overall, even with the rich descriptions and the likable, well fleshed-out characters, I was disappointed.