Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes Actions Don't Speak Louder Than Words

"You are strong,
Stronger than your pain,
Stronger than your grief,
Stronger than them."
--Mary E. Pearson, The Heart of Betrayal

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 480
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: The Kiss of Deception
Goodreads Description

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

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.

Like…I just…I don’t even know where to start with this review. If you haven’t been here before you might not remember last year when I FLIPPED SHIT over all the amazing that is The Kiss of Deception. That’s okay. Thanks for being here now. Anyways, words cannot describe my excitement when Heart of Betrayal showed up in my mailbox. I almost immediately re-read KoD and dove right in…you guys…YOU GUYS!!!! You know how people always talk about second book slumps and how nothing happens and it’s just a tie between the first and last book? Yeah, no no no NOT the case here! This book is everything a second book should be. I can’t even imagine breaking this down in an eloquent fashion so I’m breaking it down by the main things I loved about it and why you will, too.

It Stands On It’s Own

What do I mean by this? I mean it has it’s own storyline, character arcs, new characters, new plot, everything (!!!) all while building on what we know about our characters and the story from the first book. It isn’t just a spill over and watered down plot to kill time until we get to the conclusion. There is and up and down kadence (see what I did there?) to the story that not only keeps you on your toes and keeps you wondering where the story is going and what secrets will come out but there are quiet moments, too. Moments that help build on the already complex characters that Mary has created. There is so much going on in terms of plot and character motivation and subterfuge that you just never know who you can trust and who will be standing on your side when shit hits the fan…because you know shit is going to hit the fan.

It Has the Sense of Destiny…

This is what I love most of all. I love books that have a purpose, a drive, a sense of urgency, but most of all, a sense that everything is happening for a reason and you serve a greater purpose. While I am all for independence and free will and making your own choices, I don’t think it has to be one or the other. There is something so beautiful to me in a soul-deep kind of way that your choices are bringing you to a greater purpose…a destiny…a reckoning. I love this. And it’s not like Lia is some wallflower loser who just lets things happen to her and goes along with it. She actively goes after what she needs and wants to better her position.

It Has One of THE Most Badass Heroines Ever

I have a massive girl crush on Lia and I am not afraid to say it. Bitch. Is. Fierce. She has my heart hurting one moment and laughing out loud the next moment. She is cunning and I love that. She is not somebody to fuck with and people underestimating her is my most favorite part. There is one scene in particular that had me rolling in laughter because she is such a badass and then the next moment wanting to pick up a sword for her because she explains her motivation and deep, deep hurt. She is a constant contradiction of her actions vs what she’s really feeling inside. She doesn’t give up…ever. She’s smart as a freaking whip and misses nothing. Her ferocity and willingness to sacrifice everything she has for the ones she loves (le sigh) is nothing short of breathtaking. I just love love love her!

It Takes You Away

The setting of Heart of Betrayal whisks you away into the heart of Venda (see what I did there?). I felt completely absorbed in the story and the setting and I could see it right in front of me. Lia’s dresses, the stark Sanctum, the wintery landscape. All of it. The desolation of Lia’s confinement was also something that I could not only see but actually feel. The writing sweeps you away not only to the brutal world of Venda but right into the heart of Lia’s emotions. You feel right along with her and you are right there with her with every revelation, every betrayal, every moment of deception. It takes its toll and you feel it, too. The absolute deprivation of everything she holds dear with no hope of getting out is palpable and heart-breaking.

It Gives You The Feels

So if you’ve read the first book (WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THE FIRST BOOK YET?!) you know where our characters end up. With that said, two characters who feel deeply for one another have to fake their feelings as to not have the other used against them. Because of this, we get very few moments, all stolen, where they can be themselves with one another and show their true feelings. You guys…while the moments are few, they are so deeply romantic and intense I could feel it in my chest. Even when they’re not together and they talk about the other, it had my heart just bursting with love. And there is no triangle, in my humble opinion. I cannot tell you enough how much I love the confidence with which Lia speaks of who she truly loves YET AT THE SAME TIME acknowledges that another character has feelings for her and that she cares about him…but not in the same way. I just…I love this. This is the truth. The realistic complexity of human emotions. Pearson handles this with grace and eloquence and brings these characters intricate emotions to a head more than once but does it with empathy and compassion. I can’t say enough how much this book made me feel.

This doesn’t even begin to cover it because there is just SO MUCH amazing in this book. It doesn’t disappoint and I am foaming at the mouth for the third book, The Shredder of Souls because I know that is what it will do to me.

If you love amazing heroines, beautiful writing, and a plot that doesn’t quit…this one’s for you.

1 comment:

  1. YES. YES. YES. I freaking LOVED The Heart of Betrayal! It is a most excellent sequel, and seriously kept me on my toes while I was reading it. I loved Lia, loved this story and cannot wait to see what happens next.


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