The Kiss of Deception (Book 1 in The Remnant Chronicles) was a wonderful surprise! I love fantasy, but finding one of those special fantasy books--the kind that delights and surprises and provides so much more than expected--that is a gift.
Especially if one is expecting a run-of-the-mill, predictable story, and then discovers a beautifully created world with characters that breathe and complex relationships and adventure and more in one compelling book.
I've never heard of Mary E. Pearson before, but on the basis of one book, she is now on my list of favorite authors.
First sentence: "Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born."
On the eve of Lia's political marriage to the prince of another kingdom, this feisty princess decides she can't go through with it, and with the help of her friend Pauline, makes her bid for freedom. The two skillfully evade capture by her father's soldiers, laying false trails and clues until they arrive in Pauline's childhood village, where they work as tavern maids.
Her pursuers are not limited to her father's soldiers, however, and an assassin from Venda and the jilted prince of Dalbreck have succeeded in locating Lia. She isn't the spoiled royal either one expected, and both young men find themselves intrigued by the tavern maid/runaway bride.
Most of the story is told from Lia's point of view, but shorter alternating chapters are by the Prince and the Assassin.
The country is on the brink of war, although most do not realize how much preparation the Vendalese (referred to as barbarians) have made or how close they are to making their move.
To say much more wouldn't be fair, but this is one of the best fantasies I've read in a long time. I literally could not put it down once I started it.
The first few pages were a little slow, but once they are out of the way, the story flows, the characters develop, and you may find yourself, as I did, surprised at how much this book has to offer.
The publication date is not until July, and I'm breaking my usual pattern of holding a review until closer to the release date because of Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. I'll mention it again closer to the publication date to make up for the early review.
Fantasy. July 18, 2014. Print version: 496 pages.