I raved and raved about Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception, and the sequel, The Heart of Betrayal was just as amazing and wonderful and rave-worthy! Since I had purchased the whole trilogy based on the premise of the first book alone I could dive right in as soon as I was finished with the first book.
In The Heart of Betrayal we pick up where the last book leaves off and here I will try to walk the tightrope of mostly no spoilers.
In the first book I got caught up in the romance and the (actually enjoyable!) love triangle. The second book doesn’t rely on the love triangle as much to move the story forward, though it is still a relevant plot point. The world we were introduced to in the previous book comes to the forefront here with the political struggles and cultural differences between the different nations. In The Heart of Betrayal we are introduced to Venda and what it is like and get a chance to compare it to the preconceptions that we were exposed to via Lia in the first book.
What I enjoyed was the change in perspective. Preconceived notions are challenged, whether they are in reference to people in other countries or what history has told us. The only place where I thought this faltered was that despite her clear understanding of relative perception in regards to Venda and its people, Lia still doesn’t have that same disconnect with the historical and religious teachings of her people. At least not to the extent that one would expect. This is probably my one gripe with the book, and not even much of one really.
I won’t say much more since I don’t want to spoil the book, but I will mention that the romance in this book wringed my heart and ripped it to little pieces in the best way possible. Again, I highly recommend picking up this series and especially this second book! What starts out as a romance with a fantastic flair develops into an epic fantasy with a romantic flair and the journey is so very enjoyable. Five out of five stars.