Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 

Pages: 470
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Reviews for book 1 & book 3
Checlie's Review

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her 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 savages. Now that she lives among 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.

A little over a week ago I posted my review of The Kiss of Deception. I lamented waiting so long to begin the series then. Now I'm regretting my decision to start when I did. Why? Because now I have to wait until AUGUST to read the next one!! Definitely one of my worst decisions ever. (But not really.)

The Heart of Betrayal picks up literally where the first book left off, as Lia and Rafe are being taken into the kingdom of Venda. I wasn't 100% sure how much I would enjoy a book that was entirely about Lia being a prisoner in a castle, but holy crap was it amazing! Where The Kiss of Deception was a lot of following Lia around in her (mostly) normal life as a tavern maid, The Heart of Betrayal is pretty much non-stop action. It's honestly a little awe-inspiring to think that Mary E. Pearson actually made a bunch of people being holed up in a castle exciting... but believe it!

The characters in The Remnant Chronicles are really what pushed it over into amazing territory for me. In book two of this series, Lia and Rafe are united in the desire to get out of their predicament in Venda, but they are somewhat divided on how to accomplish it. Lia is pretty much out for vengeance, while Rafe wants to keep both of them in one piece and get out together. I adored Lia so much in this book, even more so than I did in The Kiss of Deception! Initially she has a single focus: revenge. The longer she's in Venda though, the more she discovers common ground with many of its inhabitants. Throughout this book, Lia is also coming to terms with her gift and trying, sometimes in vain, to understand it.

Of course, Kaden and Rafe are both still very present in The Heart of Betrayal, still hating each other. The love triangle that seemed all but gone by the end of the first book is confusingly still somewhat present in this one. Kind of. For me, there was always a sense of not being quite sure what Lia was really feeling towards Kaden, in particular. Over the course of the events of this book, Lia realizes the Kaden may not be quite as terrible a person as she thought and they might be more alike than she'd realized. Even with those feelings though, Lia never loses her commitment to Rafe. I guess I'm making it seem kind of confusing, and it sometimes is, but it's a situation that really makes sense within the confines of this series, so please don't let it stop you! Love is confusing!!

Speaking of confusing, oh my god, the Komizar. I did not know what to think about him for most of this book. He started out as a despicable villain, but became more human as things progressed. Honestly, I was even kind of rooting for him at one point. He's the kind of villain I love to have in a book! I also really enjoyed the children and most of the other Vendans we get to know in this book. Basically all of the characters, even the bad ones, were amazing!

The story also continued to get more and more incredible throughout this book. The unique mythology I talked about in the review of The Kiss of Deception, is explored even more in this one. Mary E. Pearson has done a wonderful job of creating a beautifully intricate fantasy world that had me completely sucked in and wanting to know more! I enjoyed every second of the new discoveries that were made alongside Lia and Rafe. Although there was a slow build-up to the ending and I kind of knew what was coming, it was still exciting and abrupt and left me speechless and staring at the ceiling, wondering how in the heck I'm supposed to make it another six months until the next one shows up in my mailbox!

The Heart of Betrayal is what all middle books should be - freaking amazing! I don't know why it is that so many middle books in trilogies seem so long, drawn out, and boring, but this book is not that. There is never a dull moment, even when there isn't any actual action going on. I literally do not have a single bad thing to say about it. I am basically going to lose my mind waiting on The Beauty of Darkness to come out in August, but that shouldn't keep you from going out and getting the first two in this series! You definitely should not miss this one!