Book Review: The Kiss of Deception

“Booktokers” reignite interest in YA fantasy novel


Danica Shanahan

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson is once again popular thanks to TikTok reviews

Danica Shanahan, Staff Writer

The young adult fantasy novel The Kiss of Deception by New York Times bestselling author Mary E. Pearson has once again gained popularity because of readers on the app TikTok, also known as “booktokers”. The book was originally published in 2014 and is the first book in a three-part series called “The Remnant Chronicles”.

The story is told from a multi-point perspective, but mainly focuses on the main character Lia, also known as Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia. It takes place in the fictional country of Cam Lanteux, specifically in the Kingdom of Morrighan.

Lia is the first daughter of Morrighan, meaning that she is supposed to have a magical power called “The Gift”. Even though she doesn’t possess the power she is still set to be a part of an arranged marriage to the prince of another kingdom in Cam Lanteux, Dalbreck. On her wedding day, Lia and her friend Pauline decide to flee Morrighan, so Lia doesn’t have to marry a stuffy old prince whom she’s never met. Lia and Pauline set up fake signs that would lead anyone who came searching for them to believe that they traveled North and then ultimately decide to travel South to a small waterside town, Terravin, to go stay with Pauline’s aunt.

Pauline’s aunt, Berdi, owns and runs and inn and tavern. She says Lia and Pauline are welcome to stay in a cottage outside the inn and help out. After a little while Berdi finally trusts the girls enough to let them work in the tavern. Lia’s first night in the tavern, two young men walk in. What Lia doesn’t know is that both the men know she is Princess Arabella and that one of them is the prince she was supposed to be married to, and the other is an assassin who was sent to kill her. Lia is their waitress and talks to them, they introduce themselves as Kaden, and Rafe. The book’s multi-point perspective is now told from the perspectives of Lia, Kaden, Rafe, The Prince, and The Assassin. This way the reader cannot tell whether which one of the two roles Kaden and Rafe fit into and has to guess based on how they act.

I am still in shock.

— Danica Shanahan

Rafe and Kaden both stay at the tavern and have many run-ins with Lia. The two have never met before but tension grows between them as they both begin to fall for Lia.

The book is 486 pages, which is pretty average for a young adult fantasy book. At about page 300, when assassin captures Lia, she and the reader figure out his identity. I am still in shock with how well the author wrote so that the reader pretty much can’t figure out Rafe and Kaden’s roles until she flat out tells you. I incorrectly guessed who which one was, but it was still an amazing read!

Overall, I loved this book, there honestly isn’t anything to nit-pick at about it. It was a well written young adult fantasy novel with an original plot and characters who grow and develop with the story. So much more happens in the last 186 pages, but you’ll need to go read the book to find out what happens!