A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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