'' Betrayed by her own,
Beaten and scorned,
She will expose the wicked,
For the Dragon of many faces
Knows no boundaries. ''
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.
Two years, four months. That is how long ago I read The Kiss of Deception. Two years and four months I have been in its grip. Two years and four months I have waited (I really don't know why) to read the second book in the series. And I am as shaken as I was the after the first book. I am supposed to begin reading the third book after I finish writing this review, but I don't know if I can. The Heart of Betrayal destroyed me and I am not sure if I am ready to be shattered into pieces again.
You noticed that this is the second book in the series? If you haven't read the first book The Kiss of Deception yet, please read it before continuing reading this review, since it might spoil you, if the synopsis didn't already.
The loyalty to Venda and to the Komizar run deep in Kaden's veins, or does it? Just like with the first book, this one is filled with loops and twists. The amount of half-truths is unbelievable. You can't trust anyone, not even your own perception anymore. Lia has been dragged all the way to Venda by Kaden and things take a deadly turn. The Komizar, the leader of Venda, let's Lia live if she complies with all of his rules. Rules he does not specify, or not until Lia has broken one of them.
'' But even the great can tremble with fear.
Even the great can fall. ''
Rafe followed Lia all the way across the desert, but his rescue attempt did not go exactly as he planned. Now stuck in the heart of Venda, portraying something his not. The web of lies getting tighter and tighter as each day passes, he waits for his fellow soldiers to arrive, but is it too late, if they get there at all? To the Komizar and the Vendan people, he is an Emissary of the Crown Prince of Dalbreck. To Lia, he is the one who broke her heart.
Have you read the Shatter me series yet? Because of you have (and loved them), then you know what I am talking about when I say that Kaden was like Warner. I can't think of him as a villain. Even though half the time he is an ass who only cares about his own gain, he still can be so sweet. Torn between his loyalty to Venda and the feelings he is developing towards Lia, he doesn't know what to do. And then there is the threat of the Komizar. The Komizar can and will take away anything that distracts Kaden from his tasks as the Assassin. And if Lia is one of those things, she could easily be removed from him.
'' ''Trust me, Princess,'' he whispered. ''There's always more to take.'' ''
We are introduced to a myriad of new characters, an entirely new setting, and a much wider background story, than I could've ever imagined could be embedded into the book. The history of the kingdoms is even more complicated than the first book portrayed. The betrayals run deep. There is no way of knowing who to trust, even the history books have lied before.
The Heart of Betrayal gave me hope of the future of the characters. Then it crushed the hope into tiny bits. And then, it planted the seeds of hope again. I don't know if I'll survive the third book, but we'll see. I'll try to survive it. Operation Book Hangover Prevention is on.
'' We already had three steps behind us.
''Hold on, Lia,'' I whispered.
Hold on for me. ''