Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: July 7th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
The bar was set pretty high after The Kiss of Deception, but Pearson easily met my expectations. We’re introduced to a new land, one where the leader comes to power through murder and keeps the title through brutality. Lia fights not just for herself, but for the lives of the people she cares about. It’s another beautifully done fantasy that had my heart racing at every turn of the page.The summary of The Heart of Betrayal from Goodreads:
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.
Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.
Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.
What I Liked:
Lia is confronted by the fact that everything in the world is not as straightforward as she once believed. She’s always believed the Vendans were barbarians, and certainly there are some, but she also realizes that the people are victims of their leader and the harsh realities placed on them by her kingdom and by Dalbreck. She’s learning more about the history of the land, confronting her beliefs and making her question what the truth really is.
Lia also has to grapple with the fact that she doesn’t have many allies in Venda. She knows Kaden is loyal to his kingdom before her and that Rafe has only a tenuous hold on his influence. One wrong word from him and he is gone. Instead, she has to use her own gifts and talents, pushing back against the Komizar as much as she can without losing her life.
Rafe and Lia are probably one of my favorite romances of this year so far. They just constantly fight for each other, and they talk. I cannot stress how important this is to me. They talk through their issues as much as they can, knowing that the only way they can work together is if they understand each other. Yes, they are still plagued by doubts and worries, but they try to clear things up as much as they can.
I’m glad we got to see Kaden in his home and get some of his history. I know him better, I understand some of his choices now. Yes, there were times I wanted to smack him, but at least I understood why he is the way he is. He has a history that shaped him, made him loyal to a fault. I may not always agree with his choices, but I do know why he makes them.
The Komizar. I hated him. Not as a character or as part of the book, but as a person, he is awful. He came to power by murdering the old Komizar and uses power and fear to retain this throne. He is conniving and awful, twisting people’s emotions to fit his own purposes. The way he treats Lia is horrible. He messes with her mind, uses her to gain favor with the people…he’s powerhungry and doesn’t care who he hurts to gain it. He represents the evil of Venda.
Despite not having much action in terms of the war that’s building, The Heart of Betrayal never feels like filler. Everything is important to the overall story. We have to understand all the players in order to understand how the world has been brought to the brink of war. It’s one piece of the whole and Pearson make sure we understand the truth of Venda. This is a book about survival, about becoming stronger through your trials, about learning that everything is never black and white.
What I Didn’t Like:
Nothing. I devoured this book.
I’d Recommend To:
Anyone. The world is so beautifully developed and written that I think anyone can fall in love with it. The characters are interesting and you can’t help but root for Lia. It’s a fantastic book and series.
You Can Purchase The Heart of Betrayal Here: