July 15, 2015

Review: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Publication date: Jul. 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy
Source: Received ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (greads.com)

The good
The Heart of Betrayal did exactly what I hoped it would — turn my lukewarm feelings towards the series to something more along the lines of O M G. In retrospect, a major part of the reason why some of the jaw-dropping moments in The Kiss of Deception were lost on me was because I didn’t even realize there was supposed to be a twist. The true identities of Rafe and Kaden? I knew exactly who they were from the beginning and I thought we were supposed to (and the whole time I was grumbling internally as to why the chapters weren’t properly labeled with each person’s POV — the joke was on me!). If I were to re-read now,  I know I would appreciate it much more. Especially because the way Lia’s character evolves, particularly towards the end, is the fierce woman we are reunited with here. It’s like she tapped into some inner well of strength, pragmatism and resourcefulness and just lets it all out. For the first time, I felt 100% Team Lia and that’s exactly how you want to feel about the heroine in a fantasy series.

The book picks up almost immediately where we left off last. Lia and Rafe are captured and being led into Vendan territory by Kaden, the assassin. There she meets the Komizar, the man who ordered Kaden to kill her, and who rules over Vendan’s people. He’s cold and calculating and while at first he’s more focused on humiliating Lia, his interest changes in a way no one foresees. Which only spurs Lia and Rafe’s need to escape.

Lia is definitely at the center of this story but it can’t be denied that Rafe and Kaden are closely tied to her current predicament and the author addresses the different relationships extremely well. (If you know me, you can only guess what I was fearing the entire time.) Rate and Lia are dealing with the aftermath of their feelings for another and the lies under which their relationship began. And you know, trying to avoid being killed while they’re at it. I’m glad that author touched upon these things without letting it overwhelm the overall story. But what was super clear to me is their passion for one another (you know I ship them!). Then Lia’s tenuous truce with Kaden lets us get to know him in a way that gives his role as Assassin more layers. I never rooted for him romantically but I felt for him and the crossroads he was at. What would prevail? His loyalty to the Komizar or his love for Lia? The balance between the high stakes, romance, Lia's need to do right by her loved ones and get revenge, plot and characters was cleverly done.

(Super minor) Reservations
The book started off really strong and for the most part, I think the pacing was on point but their time as captives (where they couldn’t do much but just pretend to assimilate) did start to drag just a little bit towards the middle. Once it picked up again though, it was full speed ahead with a cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more.

Do I recommend?
I do! I was very impressed with this sequel and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final book.

1 comment:

  1. I do love it when a sequel is more impressive than its predecessor, and I definitely thought that was the case with The Heart of Betrayal. I was sucked into the story immediately, eager to know more of the plot and back story and totally rooting for Lia to succeed. I can't wait for the third one!

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