August 05, 2016

Book Review: THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS by Mary E. Pearson

Book:  The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles Book 3)
Author:  Mary E. Pearson
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.
Genre:  Science Fiction, Dystopian, YA Fiction, Romance

Blurb via Amazon:

Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

My Summary:

WARNING:  DO NOT READ unless you have read Books 1 & 2 of the Remnant Chronicles or are VERY curious about the book.  SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!

Last we saw them, Lia had been gravely wounded after barely escaping Venda.  Rafe found her by the bank almost lifeless yet he believes that they would both survive and return to his kingdom of Dalbreck.

This book begins with Rafe’s friends and fellow soldiers Sven, Orrin, Tavish and Jeb finding Lia and Rafe.  They then make their slow (due to Lia’s injuries) trek back to Dalbreck, on the way capturing two unexpected eventual allies, Kaden and Griz. 

The animosity between Kaden and Rafe is still very much alive.  And though Rafe knows Lia loves him, he still has doubts as to what exactly Lia feels for Kaden the assassin and what happened between them in her captivity. 

Lia’s gift of sight grows strong with more frequent whispers and messages from beyond.  Her fate is set it seems and she believes strongly that the Komizar, if not stopped by her, will destroy her home, Morrighan.  Rafe fears for her life as the Morrighan court has been infiltrated by traitors who have placed a bounty on Lia’s head.  One of these is a high ranking official whose connection to Kaden is one he loathes. 

On Rafe’s shoulders now lie the burden of running the kingdom of Dalbreck as in his absence, his parents passed away.  And since he spent months trying to save Lia from the Komizar and the vipers in the Vendan sanctum, the people of Dalbreck do not know whether he lived, died or has abdicated.  His position is in jeopardy.  He has to fight not just to make Lia stay with him, but also for his birthright, his throne.

So what weighs more for Rafe?  Is it love for Lia or love for his people and his kingdom of Dalbreck?  And what is Lia prepared to sacrifice?  Her Prince or Morrighan?

My Review:

Months.  I have waited months for this book to come out.  I tore through the 1st two books over and over again in anticipation of the last in the series.  And though The Beauty of Darkness is quite long and does dwell on the political upheavals in both kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbreck plus the visions of Lia a tad much, I still enjoyed the book.

I deeply love the relationship of Rafe and Lia.  For me it is the strongest point of this series.  And much as I like Kaden, it was always Rafe who had my heart.  The romance here is tempered but not necessarily lacking in that the few romantic scenes they did have were intense.  Heart pounding, squeal inducing intense.

I appreciate that the author played with Kaden’s character that as a reader, I vacillated between loving and loathing him every few chapters.  But in the end, there was no longer any doubt as with whom his loyalty lies, which is not the same as who he ultimately loves.
As for Rafe’s friends, I fell in love with each one’s strength and personality.  Their loyalty to Rafe as a fellow soldier, friend and Prince is solid.  I love that every one of the four characters, though minor in a sense, were fully developed and that each had their moment before the end came.

Mary E. Pearson has woven a tale so well thought out that all possible angles are covered and since, as I have said before, I am a sucker for happy endings, this was a good read for me.

That said…

For all the build up about the Komizar and his power, his last moments with Lia were lacking.  It was too sudden….too clean….too easy.  I felt a bit cheated.  Like the anticipation had been for nothing.  More heart pounding action between the Komizar and Lia would have been better. 

As for the ending, that scene with Lia and Rafe…much as I liked what ultimately happened between them, it was also too abrupt.  I wish that it was longer, more heart felt.  For all they have been through, I believe they deserve so much more than the short ending they got.  Perhaps this calls for an epilogue?  Or an e-novella?  I can definitely do with more Rafe and Lia in my life.

In all, I still highly recommend The Remnant Chronicles.  Of the three, the 1st book, the Kiss of Deception, remains my favorite.  Read and find out why.  Happy Reading!
For the curious, here is the link to my review of the first book, The Kiss of Deception