A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.
Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love (goodreads).
When you're a princess and life hands you lemons, you GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE. Princess Lia decides to take her life in her own hands and flees from an arranged marriage to the prince of a neighboring kingdom. What she doesn't know is that the jilted prince and an assassin have followed her.
Plot: The Kiss of Deception is, naturally, about deception which is all in good fun. I spent the majority of the book guessing which male character was the assassin and which was the prince (and I'll admit-I guessed wrong). As the first in a series, Pearson's concern is to establish the world, characters and to introduce the series' overall conflict. The first half of the novel was slow and seemed to drag on quite a bit; thankfully, the novel picked up speed once identities were revealed (and people started dying).
Characters: The main character, Princess Lia, is a very strong female lead. I liked her, I liked her a lot. She was caring and she was strong. Actually, I liked all of the characters except the two male leads. The Assassin and The Prince were such cookie cutter characters that I couldn't even picture what they looked like. Within pages of meeting Princess Lia, both characters fall madly in love with her, and she in turn fell madly in love with one of the mystery men after a handful of conversations. YAWN. I found one of the male character's a lot more interesting than the other because he was more prevalent in the novel and so the reader was able to learn more about him as a character and not just a love-struck man.
Setting: In High Fantasy novels, the one thing that you absolutely cannot mess up is the world building. At first I wasn't really impressed by Pearson's world because the story took place mostly in one setting. It was only when the characters ventured out that I was able to learn more about the world and its history. There are random bits of text from the culture's holy scripture but I couldn't connect any of those readings with what I knew about the characters and world so they seemed a bit pointless to me.
Short n Sweet With all the hype of this novel, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I found the world to be interesting and the female characters to be strong and really likable. The book fell short in my expectations with it's let's-fall-in-love-within-the-first-fifty-pages, but redeemed itself in the last half of the novel when the focus wasn't love, but shed more light on politics and secrets. I would read the sequel, but mostly out of curiosity.