THE HEART OF BETRAYAL
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pub Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.
Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.
After the end of the first book, The Kiss of Deception, I was super excited to dive into book #2. While the first book wasn’t spectacular, it always kept me engaged and flipping the pages. I hoped the second book would be better, since that’s what people told me, but I found The Heart of Betrayal was very “meh” and a step down from book 1.
While the first book certainly wasn’t fast-paced, it kept me engrossed in the story and surprised by the twists and turns. This book was not like that. You know middle of the book syndrome, where the middle is hella slow? This entire book, except for the last ~75 pages or so, felt like that. It was incredibly slow and dense, and instead of reading the book in one sitting (like I usually do during the summer), I had to read it in chunks over the course of about a week. I was a little disappointed by the pacing, and it threw me off because the last ~75 pages felt too rushed! The plot had some interesting parts, yes, but it was weighed down by the lackluster, confused pacing.
I like cunning, manipulative characters, especially female characters. Thankfully, Lia didn’t get on my nerves too much in this book. I felt like most of the characters were pretty well-developed, but some of Rafe’s friends definitely could’ve benefited from some more development. Speaking of Rafe–he was my favorite thing about book 1, and there was not nearly enough of him in book 2!! 😦 The new characters were interesting, especially the Komizar and his desire for power.
There were a handful of POVs in this book, and I liked most of them except for Pauline’s chapters. I found Pauline’s chapters incredibly boring, and I often skimmed them so I could get back to more exciting chapters. Hopefully there’s less from her POV in the last book.
Like the first book, it’s pretty clear who Lia has feelings for. She pretends to be in love with Kaden, but it’s more for survival than anything else. It’s clear that she cares for him, but not in a romantic way. Sadly, there wasn’t a lot of romance in this book between Rafe and Lia, mostly because they were separated for a good chunk of the book. I WANTED MORE! Their romance was one of the only things that kept me going when some sections got a little boring.
I also have another small issue. There are pages in between chapters from an old book that’s involved with Lia’s story that tell the story of the kingdoms. Personally, I found them confusing and I didn’t care for them. Like Pauline’s chapters, I often skipped over them.
Overall, The Heart of Betrayal fell short of what I anticipated. While the characters were still the same enjoyable ones from The Kiss of Deception and the romance was still swoonworthy, the pacing was too erratic and there were some elements of the story that I didn’t care for. Since book 3 is so huge (nearly 700 pages!), I think I’m going to wait awhile before I dive into it, just in case the series keeps going downhill. We’ll see.