The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

At times confusing fantasy-romance has fab princess heroine.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

Pretty infrequent: "blazing balls," "whore," "bitch" a few times, "hell," "bastards," "ass," and "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
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.

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.

What's the story?

In the kingdom of Morrighan it's Princess Lia's wedding day, but not if she can help it. She and her attendant Pauline make a quick escape just before she marries a prince she's never met, and they head south, using tracking skills Lia learned from her brother to lose all the soldiers sent after her. But it's not only the king's soldiers who are looking. Her betrothed from the Kingdom of Dalbreck and an assassin from the kingdom of Venda are way more determined to find her. When they do, it's in the fishing town of Terravin. She's working at an inn and tavern, trying to make a new life for herself. Both the prince and the assassin decide to stay in the inn incognito and keep a close eye on her, and inevitably both become smitten. But it's not long before both the prince and the assassin will be called to duty for their kingdoms, especially as Vendan troops start stirring up trouble on the nearby borders.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Many readers will admit that they read romances at a completely different speed than any other genre. Once the author 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Lia's struggle to be independent at the beginning of the book. How does her struggle change? What does she decide is most important to her?

  • The author gets tricky at the beginning of the book, not telling you who is the assassin and who is the prince. Did you guess right? When? What clues did she give about whom was whom?

  • Will you keep reading this series? Why, or why not? What do you think happens after the big cliff-hanger ending?

Book details

Author:Mary E. Pearson
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
Publication date:July 8, 2014
Number of pages:496
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 1 was written by

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