Morrighan Novella Review

morrighanTitle: Morrighan
Series: #0.5 in The Remnant Chronicles
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 86
Format: Purchased eBook

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive.

And that girl’s name was Morrighan.

In this prequel novella to the Remnant Chronicles, a girl and a boy from enemy camps meet, fall in love–and set history in motion.

This novella was a tale about Morrighan, the one that came long before the tale of Lia, Rafe, and Kaden. It told the story of her growing up, falling in love, and knowing just where she stands in the world.

I thought that this novella was well put together and it enhanced the story. I do recommend that you read the novels before reading this because you pick up clues as to where they are, who some of the people are, and what happened to lead to where the characters from the trilogy are.

I loved the romance in this novella. It was beautiful and loving, but not without hurt or tragedy or struggle. I loved how both were young but understood what it meant to love and be loved and how they could love with all of their hearts and souls for the other.

I thought that the plot enhanced the story in that it told of not just their love, but also the struggles of Morrighan’s tribe and Jafir’s clan, of how one hunted and the other gathered, of how there almost was a war between the two without the battles of bloodshed. It was one in which I thought drove the characters in the directions that they needed to go; the plot lead itself. I could pick up on clues on what happened in the main trilogy from long ago, which was fun and exciting.

Morrighan reminded me of Lia in that she holds so much hidden potential and intelligence, trusting in herself and her gift to lead her to where she needs to be. She was strong when she needed to be and weak when she knew there was no other choice.

Jafir reminded me of Kaden not only for the place where he is from, but also because of the ruggedness of his life, his wild behavior. But he also had his own strengths and weaknesses, and I think many of both were ones that involved his emotions and his heart.

My only critiques of the novella were that there were several grammatical and spelling errors throughout, but not enough to really deter from the story, and that I wished that the last chapter had been expanded. Honestly, I just want more of Morrighan and Jafir and their lives together.

Overall, I loved this novella and think that if you’re a fan of the Remnant Chronicles that you should definitely give this a go. It was fantastic and I personally think that it added to the lore of the story.

I rate this novella 4/5 stars.

The Heart of Betrayal Book Review

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Title: The Heart of Betrayal
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: Book #2 in The Remnant Chronicles
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 470
Format: Purchased Hardcover

“The Heart of Betrayal” continues to follow Lia, Rafe, and Kaden as they are now in Venda, Kaden’s homeland. Lia and Rafe are both prisoners, but as things begin to unfold in Venda, more lies are starting to trickle their way into their lives. This sequel is definitely riveting and it includes more heart-pumping, jaw dropping events that are sure to make fans of the first book crave more.

I know I do.

This sequel was slow to start out, but it quickly grew and built into a fantastic installation that had me craving more and wanting to find out what happened next.

As this is a sequel, there will probably be spoilers ahead.

Let’s talk characters.

Lia is becoming a lot stronger in this book. She had just gone through hell and back with her emotions and to then be thrust into a world where she believed only cruel barbarians lived was just the icing on the cake. She quickly learns, though, that she can’t let any weaknesses show lest the Komizar play with those weaknesses. I thought that she did her best trying to grasp not only the concept of what it was like to live in Venda, but what it was like to be a strong, independent person. She couldn’t rely on anyone but herself to get her through to the next day, let alone the next moment. She did find confidences here and there in some people, but in others she knew she couldn’t trust them. I felt that she grew throughout the book, but she also definitely let her heart lead sometimes instead of using her head. At times she did act stupidly and some of her thought processes made me mad, but I understood that she was raised to believe a certain way, and the fact that she’s opening up to this new way is actually refreshing.

Rafe kind of grew on me a little more in this book. I thought that he wasn’t so arrogant in this sequel and that he was definitely not only the prince – and a skilled liar – but that he was a warrior and that his first instincts were to protect those he cared for – namely Lia. I thought that he was kind of slopping at times, his temper and emotions leading him into near consequence, but he had help one way or another to remind him that this wasn’t a land he could stand out in; he needed to play the part he set out to play, and that was all he could do. I didn’t appreciate some of the lies that he weaved throughout the book, with or without Lia, but I knew that was part of how they’d have to eventually escape.

Kaden, I think, was caught between a rock and a hard place when they reentered Venda. His loyalties to his country and the Komizar run so deep that sometimes I thought he’d abandon Lia for stupid reasons, but I think that as his feelings for Lia continued to grow his loyalties were tested. He showed more of his true self, of the wounded boy he once was and the strong Assassin he had to be. I totally felt for him on a deep level because, well, I love him, and I think that he’s just one of those people that grew up too hard and too fast. Yes, he acted impulsively and rudely sometimes, but I knew that he also had a part to play if he wanted to keep not only Lia, but Rafe, alive (even if he wanted to kill Rafe with his own two hands, he did it for Lia).

The Komizar was the newest character introduced and boy oh boy, did I not like him. I thought he played the part of the vicious, cruel leader well, holding himself on a high pedestal and wanting all the power and control for himself. He had a few tender moments, but they were all just a game he was playing with Lia and the others. He seemed always to be a step or two ahead of everyone and it made for an interesting story for sure. I wasn’t sure how it would end with him because of his cunning, but he got what he deserved, suffice it to say.

We even got a few chapters with Pauline as our main girl and I really missed her. She’s so kind and innocent and I love how her faith in Lia never falters. I think that doubt does creep in, though, toward the end, but I’m wondering what will happen in the next book and whether or not her loyalties and faith with still remain with her best and closest friend.

Now as for the plot, I did think that it was a bit slow at times and I was unsure of where it was actually going. I did appreciate the glimpses of Lia’s gift here and there and that we got to see it more developed than before. I’m hoping more will come in the next book. In terms of the main plot, there were a lot of loose ends to either tie up or continue to draw on and I thought that it was executed really well, especially in the second half of the book. We got to see political drama, an army beyond imagining, the world of Venda and its people, and so much more.

I really had a lot of emotions in this book that made me feel for the characters, making me want to keep them close and take care of them – or strangle them. There were many parts where my jaw dropped open or where I rolled my eyes or sighed with relief.

I do wish there was a little more romance in this book with a certain someone… I’m still rooting for a certain team! But now I have some theories about what may or may not happen in the next book…

Anyway, I give this book a 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

The Kiss of Deception Book Review

thekissofdeception

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: Book #1 in the Remnant Chronicles trilogy
Publisher: Henry Holt – an imprint of MacMillan
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Genres: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 492
Format: Audiobook via Audible & Purchased Hardcover

“The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson is a story about a girl name Lia who is a princess. Rather than going along with the life her parents are planning out for her where she is being forced into a marriage with someone she doesn’t love, let alone know, so that their kingdoms can become allies, Lia decides to run away to a town a long way from her city. She wants to be able to make her own decisions in her life and lead it the way she wants, away from her parents and away from the gift of Sight that she supposedly is supposed to have. She wants to rebuild her life and start over as a new person, but things become more complicated when she learns a secret about the friend who came with her, and two boys a little older than her who seem to have taken an interest in her.

Small spoilers below!

Okay, so this book was awesome. This was also my first audiobook that I got from Audible and I have to say that I made a good choice. There were four different narrators: one who was the “before chapter” reader, one for Lia, one for Kaden, and one for Rafe (there was even one for Pauline in there that was toward the end that made me go, “WHAT!?” but in a good way). Each of the narrators did a really great job of giving each of the characters in the book their own voice. I mean, obviously each one had their own voices, but the narrators gave a feel for the character that they were betraying, allowing the personality of the character they were portraying to shine through their voices. They were all engaging, using accents when needed, different tones of voice, and they did well at speaking the Vendan words. Overall, I was highly impressed with this audiobook and recommend it if you’re in the market for one.

Now let me talk about the actual book, plot, characters, etc.

Lia was a great main character to play a princess. She wasn’t necessarily stuck up or snobby, but she could pull the “princess card” if she needed to, which she rarely did in this book. She acted very much like an average citizen and she wanted to prove her worth to everyone, including herself, that she could make it in the outside world. And she proves herself, indeed, taking on chores as a tavern maid and doing tasks that she otherwise never would have been required to do at the palace: washing dishes, cleaning messes, attending to unruly guests. Lia is a strong minded, strong willed, very ambitious girl and I really enjoyed her as a character. Throughout the book I felt as though she never really lost herself, she never really changed, and any change that did occur was because of the circumstances thrown at her. But the changes she went through helped to better her character, in my opinion, and made her a stronger female protagonist.

Pauline, though a side character, was seen throughout most of the book (heck, she even has a chapter to herself!). She is Lia’s companion on the journey that they take from Morrighan to Terravin and though she is stuck in her ways as a servant for the beginning of their journey, she quickly loosens up and becomes the friend that Lia needs. But then something major arises in Pauline’s life that will forever change her. I thought Pauline’s character was sweet and endearing, and a great little relief on the side when she was around.

Rafe is the prince of Dalbreck, the neighboring kingdom for which Lia was to be wed to, but when he goes in search of her after she disappears and finds her, her tells her that he’s a farmhand and is currently off duty from his work. With his build, tan, and worn hands the lie could be easily believed. He is intelligent and authoritative in his speech, and at first he hates Lia, but as he gets to know her more he starts to fall for her. I thought that Rafe was a good male protagonist. He had enough of a hard edge to him that continually reminded me that he was a prince (because aren’t all royals stuffy in their own way?), but he also has a softer side that made him fit in with the crowd.

Kaden is the assassin sent to kill Lia. He, too, found her in Terravin and claimed that he was a trader of sorts, which was believable given that he technically does “trade pelts” for a living. Anyway, his character was different from Rafe’s in that he was quick to use more wistful phrases and words, and he was much better at pretending than Rafe was. Frankly, I love Kaden the most out of all of these characters. Bad boys with a troubling past that we haven’t learned yet? Oh, yes please. He’s conflicted with his line of work, knowing that he owes his life to the man who gives out those kinds of orders, but his morals seem to be weighing on him and his past. I really hope to learn more about him in the second book when it comes out this July.

Now as for the plot, at the beginning it was a little slow at times when Lia and Pauline were getting their bearings in Terravin, but I felt overall engaged throughout the novel. I definitely think that the second half picked up once the romance started to blossom between the characters, and more so when Lia is captured. I love love, though, so obviously the romantic parts were some of my favorites, but I loved the world building in this novel and how we got to see the rich and vivid details of the landscapes, the characters, and everything around the main characters. It really made the story take on a life of its own and made it believable. The plot itself may have been one that can be seen in many novels in many different ways, but I thought that the execution of it was well done and made this novel stand out from the others.

I’m also rooting for a certain character to end up as her romantic partner, but we’ll see. I mean, there are two more books in this trilogy that have yet to come out.

Overall, I recommend this book if you’re looking for a romance/adventure/fantasy type of read. The romance isn’t super heavy in this book, and there are more action scenes toward the end, but it’s definitely one riddled with vivid descriptions and a girl trying to find her place in the world – as well as who she is as a person.

I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.