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Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 470 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release date: July 7th, 2015

Series:  The Remnant Chronicles #2

Source: 

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

I really enjoyed the transformations of our three main characters in this second story as we have unraveled who is who, assassin vs. prince, and seen how that plays into their relationships and political allegiances. Now with the Komizar in the picture, this places a third suitor for Lia's affection (or simply her political status) in play, since he decides to marry her and thereby make her a traitor to Morrighan in one fell swoop.

While Lia shows she is really in love with Rafe, she has a complicated relationship with Kaden. His betrayal of her still stings, but she sees his love of her clash with his loyalty to Venda and the Komizar, even if the latter is stronger. As the Komizar's cruelty and manipulations come to light, Kaden becomes more conflicted, especially when Lia lies to him, pretending to be more in love with him than she is though she does manage to get him to open up about his past, his parents, and his abuse, which he has never spoken about to anyone.

Rafe, too, is playing a dangerous game since he masquerades as an emissary from the Prince of Dalbreck and spins a number of lies as a desperate ploy to buy his small elite team of soldiers more time to help him and Lia escape. Meanwhile, he and Lia are also hiding their secret relationship from everyone and might at any moment be discovered for lovers not spurned enemies.

In this second book, Lia really has the opportunity to confront and explore more of her gift as well as her relationship with the true history of Venda and the Remnant, partially revealed to her by the vagabond leader Dihara. Though Venda has always been considered full of barbarians by those in other kingdoms (possibly due to their history of bloodshed and war), Lia is faced with the reality of her prejudices when she meets other Vendans like Aster and her clan who welcome Lia in light of an ancient prophecy. In meeting Aster, Eben, Calantha...the unnamed enemy has a face and is real and quite not the enemy she pictured. Instead, Lia embraces some Vendan culture and recognizes that the prophecy has tied her to the real Venda in some way, not the same cruel one ruled by the Komizar and that killed her brother and wars with her country.

With Venda being a patriarchal and violent society, both Kaden and the Komizar discount Lia's capacity for resourcefulness and brilliance, seemingly much like her own family did. As we find out, our heroine is strong, fierce, and determined to make her own choices about her future, even if everyone tries to take it away from her.

I also listened to this book on audiobook as a refresher (I'm finally getting to read book 3!), and that was very good too, even if the brief breaks to Gaudrel and the Song of Venda histories were irritating. Still one of my top favorite fantasy series! While this was a middle book, it did not disappoint! It was just as well-written and fantastic as the first. This series is very character-driven with enough satisfying world-building to keep you hooked to the end and dying for the adventure to continue.

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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