Positives: strong female lead and a gorgeous cover
Negatives: love triangle and a PROPHECY
Princess Arabella, who prefers to be called by Lia (the shortening of Jezelia, one of her middle names, and this is Important to the plot), is about to be married to a prince she has never met. The book opens with the complicated creation of a wedding kavah, a kind of temporary tattoo, on her back. It is an intricate depiction of her kingdom, Morrighan, joined with Dalbreck, the kingdom of her intended. It will be splendidly displayed by the low-cut back of her wedding dress at the ceremony.
But Lia and her attendant Pauline have made other plans. They escape by horseback to Pauline’s childhood home of Terravin, where they take employment as serving wenches in the inn. Lia shows spunk, handling the crude comments of the soldiers who enjoy the inn’s brew. Then Rafe and Kaden, two handsome young strangers, arrive. One of the older servers guesses they are a fisherman and a trader. But unknown to Lia and her friends, they are the prince she left at the altar and an assassin sent to kill her.
I enjoyed The Kiss of Deception. It is well written and the plot is easy to follow. The world building is solid and the alien words not too cumbersome. The main character is strong and determined. The two handsome strangers have some depth. But there are some pretty unbelievable plot twists, and the characters do some stupid things. I found the fight and make up scene between Lia and the young man she is most attracted to a bit cringe worthy.
The author keeps secret which young man is the prince and which is the assassin, and that annoyed me. I am certain I would have enjoyed the book more if I’d known earlier. I finally went online to find out (ironically, by reading the description of the second book in the series) long before the author revealed the secret.
The Kiss of Deception cannot stand alone. It is definitely a first book, and I liked it enough that I will read the second book. If you enjoy YA fantasy with strong female characters and don’t mind love triangles, I recommend The Kiss of Deception.