The Kiss of Deception
Mary E. Pearson
More like 4.5! I usually read some reviews (without spoilers) before I start books, but I'm so glad I didn't see the many one starred reviews on Goodreads from some of my favorite people because it really would have made me not want to try this and I'm happy I did.
Most of those reviews mention how there's a love triangle, no world-building, it's boring, and all about kissing, but this is because they didn't finish it! (at least I think so) Or maybe I just don't agree, but either way after the halfway mark, it was enjoyable for me.
So, this book is about Princess Arabella, or Lia as she prefers. She's being forced to marry some dude she never met as an alliance for her father's kingdom blablabla the usual. So, of course she runs away with her best friend/maidservant Pauline. Here, I agree with most of the reviewers that there way just too much going her way. She somehow knew how to throw people off of her scent and confuse armies so they wouldn't find her.
Then, we're introduced to 2 characters from their POVs, one is the prince that Lia fled from and the other is an assassin that was sent to kill her. As Lia makes her way into this new lovely town and gets a job as a barmaid, two handsome strangers walk in together (clearly the assassin & the prince but we don't know which is which).
YES, there is a love triangle something that I usually abhor as well, but it wasn't as bad in this one. Not the usual omg my best friend I've known forever or this smoking hot mysterious new dude that's clearly the love of my life. She clearly favors one over the other, but we don't know if he was sent to kill her or if it's the guy that just wanted to meet the girl that fled from him.
I really liked that the author didn't tell us the difference between the guys until later because it kept me guessing, and definitely threw me off when we found out.
Oh, and another thing, Lia is supposed to be born with 'the gift' (magic) like her mom who has visions, but she doesn't have it... OR DOES SHE?
There wasn't much plot or world-building in the beginning of the book, but the end really surprised me and made me want to know more about Lia's destiny and their world. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel for this one soon.