Book Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

I finally finished the second book in the Remnant series and I have to say, I thought this book was better than the last. There are three books in this series in total, and so far, I think that this series is very interesting and very captivating. Though I didn’t particularly like the first book so very much, as I said in my review, I can now see that everything that happened had been building up to this moment, and for that I am impressed and really intrigued.

What is the Book About?

If you haven’t yet read Kiss of Deception, which is the first book, I wouldn’t advise you to read on as there are spoilers for the first book. Read the Kiss of Deception first, and then come back.

 

 

In the previous book, we see Lia heading with Kaden to the land of Venda. Rafe is not far behind, trying to catch up with them before they can enter Venda so he can save Lia. He catches up to them right before they are about to enter the city. This book follows mainly Lia and Rafe as they try to find a way to escape the country of Venda in order to save their lives.

General Overview (Without Spoilers)

As I said before, I found this book to much more intriguing than the first, particularly because you find the answers to the questions and confusions you had in the first book. There is more depth in it and you can see the mystery of the plot forming in the background as the characters themselves try to find out how to best deal with their current situation.

There were a lot of new characters introduced in this story, which is to be understandable since it is in a new setting. The characters had many different personalities, some were even children, and I really like that about this book. The suspense of their possible deaths was also well written and I loved how the Komizar was crafted as well. It was an enjoyable read and I definitely will be picking up the last book sometime soon.

The Whole Review (*With Spoilers*)

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Plot

The story starts out with Lia and Rafe being escorted into Venda territory and Lia and Rafe are separated as they are trapped in this country with no way out. They are introduced to the Komizar, which is like the “king” of the country, and he is described as having a very cruel personality. He’s young and ruthless, not hesitating to kill. Yet, he allows for Lia and Rafe to live for specific reasons. Lia being a princess with the gift and Rafe holding a message from the king saying that he is able to grant the Komizar more power. However, Rafe’s message was a lie, which only bought them one month to find a way to escape before Rafe is killed.

As the story progresses, we see more dimension to the characters, especially the Komizar. He is not as black and evil as the beginning portrayed him to be and it was really interesting to see another side of him. We also get to learn more about the history of Venda and how Lia fits into the equation of the story.

The fact that Lia mirrored the Venda girl that sang on top of the brick wall was really haunting, yet enchanting at the same time. And when it was revealed that Venda, who was actually the founder of the country of Venda, had a sister named Morrighan, which is Lia’s home town, it really tied the whole series together. There was a deeper meaning behind all that had happened and Lia was starting to figure that out.

Lia’s relationship with Rafe was also very sweet. And I loved how he was trying so hard to protect her. I will talk about this more in depth later, especially with Kaden in the question.

Characters

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Arabella “Lia”

I liked Lia better in this book than I did the first. In the first, I felt she had a very cliché character, but in this book, the plot and the setting really emphasize her uniqueness and gave the readers something new to ponder about. Her assertiveness, for example, was one of her unique traits and it really defined her as a character.

In the beginning of the entire series, we know Lia had fled her own wedding. She had received a special kavah (a tattoo) in order to celebrate this event in the shape of a claw and vine, but was never made to good use. We find out later on that though the kavah was supposed to wear off after a while and disappear, it stayed on her and refused to come off. This second books suggests that this kavah that stayed on her represented something significant. We see Lia have these visions about the past history of Venda, and it really added that mysterious tone to the story.

The only thing I felt iffy about was her arrogance. Throughout the story, so many people had been trying to help her to survive, but most of the time Lia either brushed the help off or ignored it. Though I understand it was a part of her character, it got a little annoying after a while.

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Prince Rafe

Rafe, like the last book, was really sweet and caring. You could see he really cared about Lia through the story and that he was trying his best to get the both of them out of Venda alive. He had lied to the Komizar in the beginning about being the prince’s emissionary to keep himself alive so that he and Lia could plan an escape. However, that also meant that he put himself at risk to be killed if he was ever found out.

The only thing that made me rant my head off about his character was possibly his ignorance to Lia. Though he knew her feelings and what she thought about a subject, Rafe often wanted to do the opposite. Usually, this was to protect her and is out of good intentions. But I feel that if these actions and thoughts continue, their relationship will not last, especially when Kaden is vying for her attentions as well.

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Kaden

We saw a new side to Kaden in this book. He wasn’t just the assassin, but we could see that he had a more in depth character. He was born illegitimately from his servant mother coming together with a married man. When his mother died, his father gave him away to fend for himself. The Komizar was the one that found him beaten and bloody, and it was the Komizar that had taken him in when he was on the verge of death. To this, Kaden owed a lot to the Komizar and we see his loyalty to him very much in this book. He even emphasizes his loyalty to the Komizar to Lia many times as well, which brings me to one of my points.

At the end of the book, we see Lia stabbing the Komizar because he had killed a friend of hers. As he falls down and stains the snow with his blood, Kaden comes rushing in and is ordered by the Komizar to kill Lia. However, surprisingly, Kaden goes against this order and actually helps Lia to escape.

This really irked me because it hinted at how shallow Kaden’s loyalties were. Sure, he probably hated killing people and doubted at what his actions were, but I really expected him to be more dedicated to his character and stand by his stance when he said that he would stay by the Komizar. Not to mention, if he had been on the Komizar’s side until the end, I felt that it would have been a more interesting plot to read.

Relationships

The Love Triangle

If you don’t already know, I am not a big fan of love triangles and this love triangle was no exception. Since the beginning of the first book, it had always been Kaden, Rafe, and Lia. To be honest, I really feel uneasy about this. Currently, Lia and Rafe are together, but I really don’t know how long that will last.

Since the end of the last book, it is practically official that Lia and Rafe are together. Rafe tries to save Lia, they kiss, and then they enter into Venda together. But we see at the end of this book, that Kaden had a vision that he would be the one that would end up with Lia, which gives me a bad impression of this whole love triangle thing.

One thing I hate more than love triangles, is fleeting love, or love that is just based plainly on emotion. I think it is completely ridiculous and that love is something pure and that it should be more than just emotions. From this book, we can already see that Lia is very much in love with Rafe, and vise versa. There are a ton of imperfections in their relationships and I think that those imperfections will probably push them apart, but I really hope that they will try to stay together instead of just giving up when the going gets tough.

If Lia, at the end, goes to be with Kaden just because of a petty fight or whatnot, to be honest, I will be a little bit disappointed, even if I do love him.  Although, this relationship thing does depend on the situation and the circumstances, so I’ll just have to cross my fingers and see what happens. Hoping for the best!

Conflicts

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The conflicts in this books were, in my opinion, much better than the first book. It was more intense and you could feel the drastic atmosphere of the situation.

The Komizar’s conflict with Lia was the best. The friction between the two characters added a lot of great things to the plot and I loved how Mary E. Pearson described their relationship. The Komizar was the push of the story and he added a lot of tension to the plot that would have never been there if he didn’t exist.

The conflict between the history of Venda and Morrighan was also very interesting. It provided a mystery to the story and gave me so many questions. This is one of the things that I am eager to find answers for in the last book.

Rating

Overall, I rate this book a…

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Four out of Five stars. Though it wasn’t perfect, I did love the story. I’ll definitely be picking up the last book sometime soon! I’d recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or adventure stories.

What do you think? Did you like Heart of Betrayal? What are your opinions? 

 

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