The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
FINISHED IT: 08/14/15 | PUBLISHER: Henry Holt & Co | PAGES: 470
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s 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 barbarians. Now that she lives amongst 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.
For being the second book in a trilogy, The Heart of Betrayal sure refused to show signs of second book syndrome. I suppose I should focus my thoughts in a linear fashion, starting with the beginning. The first book left off with a cliffhanger and the second book jumps right in to the resulting consequences – and it was chaotic. Beautifully chaotic.
Lia is immediately thrown into the Vendan way of life, along with Rafe, but he fares much better thanks to his quick stitched fibbing. Kaden on the other hand is trying to act as a savior when truly, he’s a borderline traitor. Then, only moments into the book, we meet his boss man. The Komizar. Holy shamwow, this dude was a brilliant bad guy. I’ll admit he felt oddly familiar and I want to say it’s because his demeanor reminded me of Klaus from The Vampire Diaries – but hey, that’s a good thing. Throughout the whole book I wanted to hate his guts, yet I found myself waiting for scenes involving him. I NEEDED TO KNOW MORE EVEN THOUGH HE’S AWFUL?! ARGHH! So yeah, I wanted more Komizar fun facts every five seconds.
Moving right along, we were introduced to Calantha and Aster in this book. To put it lightly, Calantha was a beezy for 75% of the book and Aster was cute though rather boring. I hate using the word ‘boring’ to describe anything in these books but sometimes the characters really slow down the story for me; how ironic since they usually push it forward. Anyway, aside from the new additions, there were a few familiar faces and I was on the fence about most of them.
Pauline annoyed the heck out of me. I adored her in the first book, but only one word came to my mind whenever she spoke this time around: naive. The best example I can provide is her last chapter. She just doesn’t get it. Oh and Gwenyth was there to drop a bombshell that will obviously come into play in the final book.
Those two were what I call “Lia’s girls” and sadly, they didn’t do a whole lot. Thank goodness, we had “Rafe’s guys” and ugh, can we take a moment to appreciate Jeb? I feel a strong affinity toward him which has everything to do with the way Mary E. Pearson wrote his character because he’s only in a few chapters. Like what. I loved him. Can he be featured more often? Okay, I’ll stop fangirling now because lastly, we have to talk about Lia’s brothers – Regan and Bryn. I have two complaints. The first is that I didn’t learn anything about them and the second is that they can’t possibly be serious near the end. I mean, are you joking? I know you’re grieving but do you realize you still have a sister who could kind of use your help?
As much as I make it sound like I wanted to slap the crap out of the secondary characters [which I did], this book was solid and I enjoyed it. I think the problems I had were minor in comparison to The Kiss of Deception which I reviewed last month. The larger problems I had – though they weren’t that problematic – were rooted with the main characters, such as the constant deception [no pun intended]. I understand that it’s an important part of survival in this book, but I think Lia takes it too far sometimes. She’s always pushing and it bothers me. I love reasonable rebellion, but she completely disregards Kaden’s feelings, even after she learns about his past. The romance she had with Rafe earned a few eye rolls from me because I can’t grasp why she throws herself at Rafe but refuses to give Kaden a chance. Also, I was weirdly not surprised by any of the large plot twists but some of the smaller moments left me stunned.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed The Heart of Betrayal much more than its predecessor. It kept my attention for a longer period of time. I felt heavily invested. Slowly but surely I have been immersed within this historical world and I’m sad that it’s coming to a close next summer.
To conclude my review, I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had while reading:
pg 016 “The Komizar is a savage and I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’m diggin’ it”
pg 045 “Oh look, the lying begins”
pg 069 “Lia’s a savage too, ohmygosh, I ship them so hard”
pg 072 “I love Kaden I love Kaden I love Kaden”
pg 139 “You mean, THIS IS SPARTA ’cause that’s what is sounded like in my head”
pg 288 “Called it, knew it would happen, not surprised”
pg 360 “Well page 302 makes more sense”
pg 361 “Jeb’s third appearance, huzzah”
pg 455 “Who wants to bet we aren’t going to learn anything about this until the last book”
pg 457 “Surprising? No. Intense? Yes.”
all pgs “Lol Rafe is so irrelevant in this book”
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4.25]
Have you read The Heart of Betrayal? If so, what did you think – awesome or okay? Did you like it better than the first book? Please leave a comment below!