The Kiss of Deception left off. If you haven't read book one then first off I feel bad for you and second you should stop reading this review and go pick it up because this series is so good. The Heart of Betrayal was one of my most anticipated reads this year and I'm so happy that it didn't disappoint.
The Heart of Betrayal is structured so differently than a lot of other books and though it has nothing in common with Rick Yancey's 5th Wave Mary's writing style reminds me so much of his. They have this way of flawlessly switching POVs at all the right times. It's never feels jumbled or forced.
Mary gives us a strong plot with strong characters. I loved Lia in book one and so glad to say that I continued to like her in book two. She is still one of the strongest leading females I've read recently. She is still cheeky, calculating, strong willed, all while being caring. Kaden has the most character development in this book. We find out so much of his back story. I for one fell harder for him in this book then I did in KOD. I know how torn people are between him and Rafe, but Kaden is my choice. Speaking of Rafe, at first we didn't get a lot of time with him but thankfully as the book went on we got to see more and more of him. Both him and Kaden are such strongly written males I could easily see why people would want to pick his "side". I know that you'll see a lot of reviews saying that in HOB it's very clear Lia has made her choice between the two, but I disagree. I don't think she has.... At least not 100%. There is still one she favors other the other, there's not denying that, but I still think that there's a small part of her that still leans towards the other. This without a doubt is one of the reasons you'll be powering through this book. It was fun getting more assassin and prince angst. However as far as the romance goes I'm still questioning it. I feel like the relationship (sorry no names trying not to spoil things if people have read KOD) was hanging on too a lot of feelings and actions that happened in the first, and not so much on anything that happened in this one. This is what lead to me to give this book a little bit of a lower rating. I do think it's setting up the next book to be filled with a lot love and hopefully a lot of actual start really forming a solid romantic relationship. There are a lot of secondary characters introduced in this book as well, and far too many to mention.
One of the things I loved most about HOB was the new setting. Sometimes it's hard to ease back into a story when the entire novel is relocated. Wasn't an issue in this case. The entire book takes place in Venda. Venda is hella bad-ass. Mary perfectly world builds and doesn't leave us questioning how life is in this tough country. Two thumbs up on the setting. Now for the plot... Not gonna lie guys, the first half of this book is Slowwww. If you follow me on Goodreads then you'll know I'm a pretty speedy reader and it took me more than two days to ease my way through the first half of this book. The last half however was AWESOME! It picks up it paces and start kicking into high gear. There were a few twist that you're gonna be like "ehh I saw that coming", but they will be followed by smaller sub-twist that took me by surprise (idk if sub-twist are a real thing or if I just invented it, either way I love it). All these events do lead up to a very surprising and very worth it ending. The last four/five chapters gave me an ulcer. I was so panicked. Because that ending! OH sweet, baby Jesus that ending crushed it!!!! Hits you right in the gut.
The ending made up for the one POV that I found a little pointless, and the slower first half. This ending will have me day dreaming about book three.
Sidenote: at first look I didn't like the cover... but after seeing it a few times I now love it.