Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
“The Heart of Betrayal,” was my most anticipated read of the summer. I have literally been counting down the days until this one came. Then something crazy happened. Netflix got real and I began doing a ton of traveling. I knew this was going to be the type of book I sat down on a Sunday and read in one sitting. Like most highly anticipated books, I hesitated to start this one in case it did not live up to the hype. “Kiss of Deception,” was one of my favorite Fantasy books and I prayed that the sequel lived up to its amazingness. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. This sequel is amazing. There are so many strong aspects and the pacing keeps you turning page after page.
What I liked: Lia continues to be a badass female MC. She may be a Princess but she’s not about to let anyone push her around, even when facing possible death, she keeps her spunk. The stakes are much higher in “The Heart of Betrayal,” and much like its title, Lia must navigate who in fact is truly on her side and who is about to stab a knife in her back. The stakes are much higher in book #2 than they are in book #1 and the tension is very real. The world-building in book #2 is also beyond strong. Venda and the presentation of the Komizar allows Pearson to explore the many shades of grey surrounding her world. She begins to explore the idea that Lia can love a group of people while still wishing to escape their barbaric government. In Book #1 Pearson played with the many angles of her characters, now she plays with the many facets of her world. Though there is a lot of violence and bloodshed their is also a lot of heart-felt moments between Lia and the common people of Venda.
What I didn’t like: While Lia is very much my favorite character and I enjoyed that so much of the book was from her POV, I missed Rafe. I’m team Rafe 100% and while I don’t despise Kaden, I don’t want to read so much about him. Given that we are in Venda it makes sense that we get more of Kaden’s perspective, but I missed the equilibrium in the chapters between him and Rafe. Other than the lack of Rafe, I did not love the ending. Way to just kill us all a little.
Overall, this is a fast-paced, exciting, and complicated read. “The Heart of Betrayal,” is a stellar sequel to a much beloved book. 5/5