For the few readers who are paying attention, I took The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer from the list. I will not review the Chronicles since I have not read all the books. (I only read Fairest and half of Cinder). While I do look forward to Winter on November 10th, it’s not fair to give an assessment on a set of books I haven’t entirely read. I am impressed with the writer’s detail and the futuristic fairy tale twist. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into the storyline arc. Instead, I only like two books from the chronicles. It’s not the fault of the books, but purely the fault of my personal preference.
I was going to wait to write a review on this book. Yet, it was fast-tracked to the top of the review list since the second book (The Heart of Betrayal) is out on July 7th.
I’m not ashamed to admit this book caught my interest at the mention of a Prince and an Assassin chasing the same girl. Like any other woman, I have a thing for dangerous and cocky male characters. Too bad their real life counterparts mostly suck. Seriously, ladies, stay away from the bad boys because they’ll likely remain bad. A reformed bad boy is like winning the lottery. I digress.
The Kiss of Deception introduces Princess Lia on the morning of her advantageously arranged marriage. Lia is unwilling to be a pawn in her parents’ aspirations no matter how much they love her, and escapes the palace with the help of her best friend.
As the Princess escapes with her freedom, her disappearance causes a problem for her kingdom. Meanwhile, Lia’s intended Prince was indifferent to the marriage and certainly did not desire to marry a reluctant Princess. He was infinitely curious about a Princess who did not want to marry him. The Prince decides to hunt down Lia to assuage his curiosity.
Concurrently, a far away supposedly barbaric kingdom sends an assassin to track and kill Lia while she’s away from the safety of the palace.
Both men find Lia posing as a tavern wench in a little coastal town. Neither expected to fall in love with her.
I read this book after my thorough disgust with The Selection Series and I’m happy I did. A strong female character that’s not afraid to take matters into her own hands was refreshing from submissive females with a weak spurt of defiance.
While Lia doesn’t begin the story understanding her potential (she thinks she’s useless as a person because she didn’t inherit the family’s matriarchal powers), that doesn’t stop her from taking what she wants. Plus, she’s actually learning throughout the story. Not making the same mistakes and driving her male counterparts crazy.
Not to say the Prince and the Assassin aren’t presented with their own problems regarding Lia. The problems don’t come directly from her. (Yes, I’m still feeling the effects of the utter disappointing female lead from The Selection Series).
The overall story keeps a good pace and is not overly predictable. It’s easy to sympathize with both male characters. They seem to be an equal to Lia. Not because of her rank, but because of her personality. For me, this is highly important because I don’t want to end a book thinking, “She could do better than that guy” – or “those guys” depending on what book in the series you’re reading.
Although, I do hope the Assassin character develops in a positive way. I realize it’s difficult to chuck societal programming and it might take time for him to completely open his mind and eyes. Lia, however, is already discovering the misconceptions concerning the “barbarians” and other things.
Sometimes a reader comes across an extraordinary first book that gives them a good vibe about the entire series. Unfortunately, The Kiss of Deception is not that book. Since a first book in a series is generally an introduction, it’s normal to be indecisive about keeping the book on my hallowed bookshelf. I’ve decided to wait and read the second book before making a permanent judgement call. So far, I’ll say it’s a good start and I’m already pre-ordered The Heart of Betrayal.
Splintered Series by A. G. Howard
So far, I’ve given reviews on series starter books that hold promise, but lacks that “this is getting good” feeling people normally get from second series books. I’ve given you a series that I hated to the point of throwing the whole collection out the window. My readers might wonder, “Are there any books she actually loved?”
First, I’m hard to please. Second, I like buying entire finished series because I hate waiting. (I’m also discovering that I hate waiting for the next season of a good TV show too). Third, most first books always show promise, but some series lose my interest during the second book.
Lucky for me the Splintered Series just published the third book when it caught my attention. I could get my fix without waiting for the next installment.
The series is based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I respect the classics but Victorian Literature bores me. The imagination that went into the story impresses me. Unfortunately, I find the writing style stagnant. I digress.
Alyssa Gardner is an interesting goth teen with a unique artistic talent and has the ability to converse with flowers and insects. She is a direct descendant of the cursed Alice Liddell. Alyssa believes she is destined to go insane like her poor mother living in a mental hospital. Yet, she shows strength and courage in holding everything together.
Nothing is as it seems and Alyssa’s life is not her own. When she unwittingly travels to under-land leaving behind her secret crush named Jeb, she discovers that the stories are true and her family’s not exactly cursed. Plus, she wanders right into the clutches of Morpheus, a mysterious character with moth wings.
Through the series, Alyssa must save under-land and decide if she’ll stay in that strange world or go back to her original world.
I loved Alyssa. She was strong throughout the series with brief instances of self-pity. Considering the situation she was in, I’m not above granting a little pity party as long as it doesn’t last for more than a few pages. Otherwise she would seem too whinny.
I had mixed feelings concerning the two love interests. Jeb, the human crush and best friend, was lack luster. Perhaps contrasting him against a grand and mysterious character like Morpheus made Jeb pale in comparison. Though, Howard tried to make up for Jeb’s short comings later in the series, I felt like it was too little too late. Furthermore, he seemed like just another human who let power go to his head.
There was nothing objectionable about Jeb’s personality. He didn’t seem like Alyssa’s equal in the natural world or under-land. Definitely a male character where I had to say, “She could do better.” Conversely, Morpheus was perfect. In the start of the series, his personality managed to overpower Alyssa, but she quickly rose to the challenge he presented and matched him. She only grew stronger as the storyline progressed.
I feel like Alyssa was with Jeb because of a sense of duty. Although, I am quite pleased with how Howard ended the series.
The Splintered Series is excellent. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to wait for book installments since I fell in love with the first book so hard, that I finished the whole series in three days. I highly recommend it to people who are fascinated with the world of Alice in Wonderland and those who frequently shop at Hot Topic. I can honestly say that this is the first time I was looking forward to reading the series companion novel, Untamed.
Future Book Reviews
***Will not be reviewed in this order.
- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
- Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
- Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
- Goddess Test Series by Aimee Carter
- Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Want to see what I’m currently reading or curious about past book reviews?
Go to my Reading Common Sense page.