The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR KISS OF DECEPTION.
After finishing The Kiss of Deception. It was all I could do to keep my mind from wandering back to this world, so when I started reading Heart of Betrayal it was like feeding my starving mind, giving it exactly what it had been asking for. Like getting a bag full of Reese’s on Halloween night. Like a tall glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Let’s just say that I was happy to pick this series back up and get back to these beloved characters that captured my heart from before.
Lia is no longer a runaway princess thriving in a small village, but the prisoner of the Assassin, Kaden. He has plans for her back in Venda, where if she can survive long enough to prove that her gift is real, the Komizar might see that she is worth more to him alive than dead. Or so Kaden hopes. But Kaden wasn’t the only one that Lia made an impression on back in Terravin. The Prince of Dalbreck, Rafe, fell in love with her during their short time together before she was whisked away. And now he is determined to rescue her from whatever the Vendan Barbarians have in store for her.
Beyond Lia’s journey, Kaden’s homecoming, and Rafe’s rescue there is the story of a city that has been built on hardships and rejection. Venda was the city that was neglected from the rest, considered to be barbarians instead of the chosen or the gifted. The Vendans have been struggling to find a way to get by for a long time and they refuse to be left behind any longer. I love that there is this rich history that we learn about in Venda. The ghosts of the past come to play a large role here as LIa learns about the people she thought were savages that are actually just families and tribes trying to make a life for themselves. With her gift finally becoming more than a lie, Lia is wrapped up in this city and quickly becomes someone that the people look to save them from their hardships. She wants to become their voice and to give them a better life than the one they’ve been stuck with for so long. Starving, and oppressed they quickly accept her and welcome her. She gives them hope for a better life. This is good and bad for Lia, because while she is favored by the people that means that the Komizar also begins to notice her, and he has a more devious plan in mind.
Through all that she’s been through, Lia really grows as a character over the course of this book, she becomes someone that has passion and knows what she wants to fight for. She not only learns about herself, but about everything she has been taught from a young age up until now, and that she was never given the whole of the truth. This has become more than her selfishly wanting to find love, to a much larger problem of a city that needs saving from itself and from the tyrant that rules it. And in the end its not just Venda that needs saving, but her own home as well. Lia also discovers that there are traitors among the Vendans that she thought were still in Morrighan, and that this has been going on for a lot longer than she can imagine. And to prevent destruction of the rest of the land, she must somehow escape and warn the others. But how to do that without getting herself and even Rafe killed in the process is the hard part.
Not only do we see Lia’s character grow immensely in this book, but we also learn about Kaden, and his past, and how he came to be the Komizar’s right hand man. My heart went out to him even though at first all you want is to hate him, things are never as simple as they seem. Lia learns this too, but she also knows that there are no rules to survival, and that she must do whatever she has to in order to get out alive. But to break poor Kaden’s heart was almost too much to bear. I secretly found myself rooting for him throughout this book even though I knew that she still loved Rafe.
I think that this was an excellent follow up to The Kiss of Deception. And once again we are left with a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers! The whirlwind of an ending leaves you with the urge to immediately grab the last book and consume it as fast as humanly possible! The world building is amazing, the characters grow into individuals that you learn to love and want to see succeed, the history and plot keep you involved throughout and I could not put it down. Its safe to say that these are very well written and enjoyable books. I highly recommend grabbing these as soon as possible and see for yourself.