Book Review | The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles Book 2)

If you’ve read my review for the first book in the Remnant Chronicles [here], you know how much I enjoyed it. Going into book 2, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured they’d (Kaden, Lia, and Co.) would make it to Venda, but other than that – I didn’t know what to expect.

I was also a little bit… concerned… about this one because a lot of times second books in series’ or trilogies don’t live up to the first book. Turns out, I needn’t have felt this way because it’s entirely possible I liked The Heart of Betrayal MORE than The Kiss of Deception! WHAT?!

Read on to find out more!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Let’s talk villains

Honestly, the Komizar (the villain of this story) is the worst. Mary E. Pearson really crafted a villain who is easy to dislike. He’s abusive, manipulative, and yet, he still believes that his actions will be beneficial for his kingdom in the long run. His cause, in his eyes, is just.

I hated him. It takes a lot for me to say that, but as I read more and more about him, I was thinking there is literally nothing this guy wouldn’t do for Venda – even killing children. It’s seriously effed. But a dislikable villain is necessary for me to really enjoy a story. So the Komizar was absolutely a necessary character in this book. He helped keep the story interesting even if I didn’t like him.

Now for protagonists

Lia might be the hero of this story, but I wouldn’t consider her the sole protagonist. Rafe and Kaden are also, at least in my opinion, part of the trio of protagonists. Let’s get this out of the way right now: I’m team Kaden. Don’t @ me. I really like his character and honestly, could do without Rafe.

Kaden is important to the story because he makes every effort to keep Lia safe in Venda. Rafe is there, but again, pretending to be someone he isn’t. I understand that this is largely to protect both he and Lia, I still don’t like Rafe as much as Kaden.

And Lia. For a while, I started to not like her as much because she’s as deceptive as everyone else in this story! I get that she’s trying to survive, but my goodness! She started acting like a brat for a little while and I didn’t like it. Though my opinion quickly jumped back toward liking her by the end.

Not everyone is as they seem…

For a while, it seemed like most of the clans in Venda didn’t like Lia, but she quickly swayed their opinions. I liked this aspect of the story. I also liked that for the entirety of the story, Rafe’s true identity was kept safe. There are so many working parts to every character in this book, I couldn’t put it down. Another of my reading requirements is for books to have well developed and thought out characters and quite honestly, Mary E. Pearson crushes it. It’s wonderful.

Concluding thoughts

I’ve seen so much hype surrounding this trilogy and having knocked out two of the three books, I can tell you I see why! The story is captivating, the characters complex, the writing beautiful. I can’t wait to start the next one!

Rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸ’«

Let’s chat about favorite authors in the comments. I think Mary E. Pearson might just be one of mine. I’m thinking about how much I want to read Dance of Thieves as I wrap up this review…

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