The Heart of Betrayal
By Mary E. Pearson
The Remnant Chronicles, Book 2
Published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC. on July 7, 2015
The Heart of Betrayal is the exciting and well-crafted sequel to last year’s surprisingly fun young adult fantasy novel, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (which I enjoyed much more than the over-hyped The Queen of the Tearling).
While I had some issues with the first novel, the wait for the sequel ultimately paid off- The Heart of Betrayal was even better than its predecessor. Taking place immediately following the events of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal follows Lia, Rafe (the prince of Dalbreck and Lia’s main love interest), and Kaden (the assassin who was originally sent to kill her; Lia’s other love interest) as they enter the capital of Venda, land of the barbarians.
To keep Lia alive, Kaden presents her as a prize for the brutal ruler of Venda, the Komizar, but her safety is precarious at best. Meanwhile Rafe pretends to be an emissary sent in secret by the Prince of neighboring kingdom Dalbreck (actually himself) to negotiate terms behind the king’s back. Rafe and Lia can only hope their lies will keep both of them alive until they’re rescued, and of course there are complications along the way. These complications only made the story more interesting to me.
While Deception was pretty heavy on the love triangle– will Lia choose Rafe or Kaden?– this book is much more about survival. Watching Lia try and think her way out of situations and/or out-think the Komizar were some of my favorite parts of the book. I also loved Lia’s friendship with Aster and her tenuous relationship with Calantha. Lia continues to be a truly admirable (female) character that values life, kindness, friendship, and fairness above all else.
In contrast to my feelings about the first book, I also really enjoyed the excerpts from the “Last Testaments of Gaudrel” and the “Book of Venda”. With added context, these excerpts were some of the more fascinating parts for me. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the next one.
My least favorite parts of the book were the romantic scenes between Lia and Rafe. For some reason, I kept thinking their romantic scenes were dreams or some sort of trick. They seemed out of character for both Lia and Rafe, but maybe I’m just a Lia/Kaden fan at heart (I mean, if I had to choose…)
Overall, my feelings about The Heart of Betrayal are largely positive. I’m really excited to read the next (and final? Nooo!) book in the series, which comes out in August. Definitely worth the time if you enjoyed the first book at all.