The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)
Published July 7, 2015 by Henry Holt and Co., 470 pp.
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.
How goes it?
Oh wow. Oh wooooow. Those last few hundred pages were great (actually the whole book was), and after finishing this book I was looking around not quite processing what just happened. Literally, I was a meme.
Like that, but in the best way possible.
Anyway, remember how at the first book I didn’t really muster up any will to read it because the first parts just didn’t quite work for me? This sequel isn’t that at all. This was a buddy read with Marguerite over at Goodreads, and I have to say I overshot the goal of reading just over 5 chapters a day, because I liked it that much. This was like a storm, one you can see slowly brewing before it lets loose all the rain and thunder in a deluge. I loved it.
The Heart of Betrayal finds Lia and Rafe in enemy territory, home for Kaden. As far as prisoners go, they’re treated better than most, because the Komizar sees them as pawns he can play in a bid for greater power. While in Venda, Lia finds out more about her home, Morrighan, that there are many versions of the same story, and that history is written by the winners – in this case, the richer people.
This is such a huge leap from the Kiss of Deception, I’d say. The build-up in this was great, and just had the right amount of suspense to keep you flipping the pages. I guess the biggest change was in Lia – compared to the first book, Lia 2.0 is jaded, suspicious, and juuust a smidge desperate that it makes her step out of her bubble and be reckless every now and then. I have to say I like this look on her. Another great character in this book is the Komizar, who is a great politician, strategist, and was kind of in a gray area for me at first. Not really a good guy, but not totally a bad guy either; you can see how he came to his decisions, and you can’t really blame him. Venda is a kingdom that has very little resources, and with no one willing to trade, they’re quite short on supplies. By the end though, he went to the dark side, sort of, because even then I could see why he was amassing such power. There is one pivotal scene in the end that is my favorite, because it displays how much Lia (and everything) has changed.
I think some might find the pace of this book a bit slow, or that nothing happens most of the time, which is true. But the book reads like something is just waiting to claw out and wreak havoc. That’s what the book felt like to me, and I thought that the pacing for this was just right – it didn’t feel rushed nor did it feel like it dragged.
Basically, this book has me really excited for the final one – The Beauty of Darkness (which releases in August). I love good sequels. They fill me with fuzzy feelings.
A+ sequel – great characters, great writing, and it doesn’t feel like a middle book.