The Heart of Betrayal

The Heart of Betrayal

Book - 2015
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Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Princess Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape--and even less of being together--as the foundations of Lia's deeply-held beliefs crumble beneath her while she wrestles with her upbringing, her gift, andher very sense of self to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people, and her own destiny.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805099249
Branch Call Number: PEA
Characteristics: 473 pages ; 22 cm


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The Heart of Betrayal develops the characters in intriguing ways, introduces us to a new kingdom, and challenges the boundaries of what is right and true in Lia's world.

Lia is a true gem of a character. I absolutely adore her, more and more with every book. She's becoming so strong, so clever, and so completely her own; there are some passages that just leave me wanting to cheer because of how beautiful and amazing she is. Her growth over the course of these two books is immense and I love that she's alwaus questioning what she's been told and who people are at their core. Rafe and Kaden continue to surprise me - I was an ardent Rafe supporter going into this book, and I think I still am, but Kaden makes it so hard with what we learn about him in this book. And the Komizar is SUCH a good villain. He's multifaceted and interesting which I love so much. He is never reduced to stereotypes or tropes, and he really does live and breathe over the course of this story so much more than he might have in other circumstances.

The plot here is slow to start, which I think is a theme with these books. There is SO much world-building that has to happen, but it SO pays off. Venda feels so real to me, and the images I have in my mind of the streets and the Sanctum and all of it are so vivid and clear. Everything from the children's accents to the patchwork of the buildings to the fabrics of the clothes Lia wears are so thoroughly described and well-written that it feels like I've been living there.

In terms of the plot itself, there is no way for this to live up to the plot twist of book one, but I did find myself gasping a few times and wondering where we were going next. From the start, it seemed fairly simple: Lia had to get out of Venda, and in order to do that, there were a lot of people she'd need to deceive and betray, and we weren't going to know what was real. I kind of wanted to guess a little bit more at her motivations, at her plans, and at her loyalties, but I still very much enjoyed reading about her in this instalment.

I love this series so much. I feel like at its heart its a novel about truth, both personal and wide-ranging. Lia's truth is that she is just a girl who wants to be loved; her world's truth, though, is something that I can't wait to keep finding out.

Mar 30, 2020

The Heart of Betrayal by the outstanding writer Mary E. Pearson is a great book. It is the sequel to the amazing novel the Kiss of Deception. One of the aspects I loved was how each interaction between the characters is so filled with real, raw emotion. Leaving the reader feeling the same emotions the characters go through. Whether it be angst, frustration, betrayal, love longing or happiness. Regarding the characters, I liked their personalities and how they were written, specifically. Mary E. Pearson I must say is an excellent author in every way. Another aspect I enjoyed was the writing style as you get insight into each character's perspectives, experiences and feelings. Other authors such as Sarah J. Mass write in a more so protagonist focused manner, where you are solely aware of what the protagonists feelings, experiences, and opinions. Which I will say has its own charm, as one feels as though they are that character. However, I prefer the author Mary E. Pearson’s style far more. The only thing I disliked was how excellently the characters emotions were portrayed and described because when or if something painful happens that it feels too real. As for recommended age groups I find that ages 13-18 are most suitable.

Jan 26, 2020

Katie recommended

PimaLib_ChristineR Apr 05, 2019

Pearson writes really strong second-halves. The book begins where Kiss of Deception left off: Lia has been taken to Venda as a prisoner and Rafe has come with her as an "emissary" from his kingdom. Each is imprisoned separately by the Komizar.

Lia, Rafe and Kaden spend a lot of time angsting over each other in the first half. Slowly Pearson begins to draw the world of Venda as Lia sees it. She is embraced by the people as she is manipulated by the Komizar. She sees their poverty and their strength. She learns more of the language and begins to practice her gift. Some of the best scenes are of Lia sneaking around in the myriad tunnels beneath the Vendan stronghold and her interactions with the Vendan people. While she tries to escape the Komizar and his conniving, she is impressed by his interaction with his people. We get to watch her adding new strengths to the ones she already had.

The ending is a gut punch and cliff-hanger of massive proportions. These ending are so good that they keep me wanting to read the next one despite the overblown angst between the love triangle. I want, nay *need* to know, what happens next.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 04, 2018

More teen romantic fantasy goodness. Really enjoying this trilogy!

Jun 17, 2018

Very good book and a strong recommend for older readers.

Apr 17, 2017

This is one of my favorite books!!! It was very exciting, romantic, and adventurous. This is my favorite book out of this series.

kirstd31 Sep 24, 2015

This story was really good. I could not wait to see if they were able to escape the Komizer.

Aug 14, 2015

The story continues to evolve. Can hardly wait for the conclusion.

Chapel_Hill_KarinM Jul 26, 2015

I absolutely loved the first book in this series. This one started off a bit confusing, but gained momentum and was totally enthralling by the end. Lia is held captive in kingdom of Venda, with former betrothed prince trying to rescue her and assassin now trying to make her love him. Everybody is lying, and full of ulterior motives. Complicated and compelling fantasy adventure.


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Though some might seek to make it appear otherwise, I am not a bride to be bartered away to another kingdom, nor a prize of war, nor a mouthpiece for your Komizar. I am not a chip in a card game to be mindlessly tossed into the center of the pot, nor one to be kept in a tight fist of a greedy opponent. I am a player seated at the table alongside everyone else, and from this day forward, I will play my own hand as I see fit.

Nov 24, 2017

"The rules of reason build towers that reach past the treetops. The rules of trust build towers that reach past the stars."


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Aug 27, 2015

Lia and Rafe are trapped in Venda as they try to plot an escape without catching the notice of the Komizar and Kaden. The Komizar is constantly trying to humiliate Lia while Rafe has shown another side to himself that Lia has never seen. Kaden is slowly telling more about himself including his past and his strong tie to the Komizar. Will Lia and Rafe ever escape this web of lies and betrayal?

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