I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's 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 barbarians. Now that she lives amongst 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.
This sequel ripped me apart and put me back together again. I was constantly wondering what other twist and turn was going to happen, which person should they trust. And what exactly was going on between the political parties between the kingdoms. I loved that this was set in Venda for we get to see another kingdom that doesn’t rely on its resources but on its leader. Even if that leader happens to be the Komizar. Chapters are short so don’t worry about this being an extended read. It looks like a massive read, but it’s really not. I practically flew through the pages and savoured it until the end. I didn’t want it to end. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on romance and I was glad to see more of a political back-story than anything. Being part of the enemy camp can’t be easy but Lia manages to stay and even accept the people.
As for the characters, Lia has definitely grown a bit more. Maybe seeing more of the world can do that to a princess. Being more open to another culture even if it’s known to be a barbaric one. I liked that she saw more of the people and observed their daily lives. They live in a harsh climate and their resources are more limited than other kingdoms so to see her finally accept them shows so much growth for her character. There’s a point in the book where I thought the Komizar could be something he wasn’t.. But as I read on, I was sadly mistaken. What I did want to see was more of a certain Prince and he was there but I didn’t really get to feel too much about what he was feeling. It was more of him being the hero and trying to save her every single time. *rolls eyes*
Then there’s the ending which abruptly killed me and I haven’t been able to recover since. I just know things aren’t going down that path but for Mary E. Pearson go put us through that torture ahhhhh… Such a crazy ending that’s for sure. I was waiting for it to be climatic!
A strong sequel, The Heart of Betrayal will have you wanting more of Lia’s world as she navigates a savage country. Will she lose herself or will she find a way to escape? Just read it and you’ll find out.