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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
As with many books that build new fantasy worlds, this one has a map enclosed to help readers get their bearings and includes different kingdoms with various customs and religious beliefs. Readers can compare what's on the map with real places, as well as think about what's the same and different in real religions they know about; for example, the "finding stillness" aspect of the Morrighan religion resembles some Buddhist practices.
Shows the difficulty of weighing staying true to oneself against duty and responsibility to others. There's also much about what we learn about ourselves and the world around us in stillness.
Positive Role Models
Lia is strong, outspoken, and independent and doesn't act like a typical princess. She's willing to take a job in a tavern and inn to live life on her own terms. She slowly becomes aware of her larger purpose and accepts her duty to her country.
Violence & Scariness
Lia is kidnapped, is sexually assaulted (with a forced kiss and some groping), gets fingers broken in a fight, and is held at knife-point by an assassin until the assassin is killed by an arrow. There's one sad death seen from a distance, followed by a mass burial of 30 soldiers killed with arrows and swords, plus another sad death of a lame horse that Lia puts out of its misery. Talk of another sad death -- in an ambush, a pregnant woman gets an arrow through the throat. Talk of more battles with killing, assassinations, raiders, and a hanging Lia watched when she was 12. A man gets stitches in his face after a skirmish. Lia hears a story of her aunt, who committed suicide after her son was executed for treason.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing and groping and flirting with men in the tavern. Lia remembers kissing the village boys when she was young. There's some innuendo, especially related to getting girls pregnant.
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Pretty infrequent: "blazing balls," "whore," "bitch" a few times, "hell," "bastards," "ass," and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lia and Pauline, 17, work at a tavern and serve plenty of beer but are told not to sample, until the tavern owner makes her blackberry wine. Then they all drink together. At a camp, men drink to excess, and one falls over drunk in front of Lia and says things he can't remember.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Kiss of Deception is the first book in the Remnant Chronicles romantic fantasy series by the author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. A princess runs away from her wedding and goes into hiding, but of course she's followed, and plenty of danger ensues. There's an assassination attempt, a kidnapping, a sexual assault (a forced kiss and some groping) and some sad deaths. Lia witnesses one and digs the graves of many killed by arrows and swords. Also expect some drinking by 17-year-olds and older men drinking to excess. The sexual content is pretty mild for a mature teen read -- only kisses and a bit of groping -- and the strong language ("whore," "bitch," "hell," "bastards," "ass," "damn") is pretty infrequent as well. Lia, the princess in hiding, finds her outspokenness often gets her into trouble, but her insistence on living life on her own terms will resonate with teen readers.
Is It Any Good?
Once an author in this genre sets up the against-all-odds romance, the pages fly until it's resolved; that part of THE KISS OF DECEPTION is refreshingly straightforward and enjoyable. But in the first half the author plays with her readers, trying to get them to figure out who's who: Is Kaden the prince or the assassin? What about Rafe? Guessing wrong, or not even knowing you've been lead astray, can be a bit unsettling and confusing -- but not as confusing as the religious text sprinkled throughout. It seems to point to knowledge that Princess Lia has of her destiny -- kind of -- but many pages will go by before the idea comes up again. Readers really needed a prologue to get grounded. All confusion will be forgiven, however, at the cliff-hanger ending; it promises a very exciting start to the sequel.
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