The Beauty of Darkness (Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
I won’t provide a synopsis, as this is the third book in the trilogy.
This review will be spoiler-free, even for those who have not read the previous books in the trilogy.
I won’t be able to go into much detail in this review, as I decided to keep it entirely spoiler-free. That doesn’t leave me much room to describe it, yet I thought it best. That way, people who haven’t started the trilogy can read this review as well -and maybe I can convince them to start it.
The Beauty of Darkness is the last book in the Remnant Chronicles, which means it’s time for Lia’s story to come to an end. I was both excited and hesitant to start this book. I was excited because I adored the previous two books. Yet I was hesitant too: what if I wouldn’t like the way it ended?
If you don’t know what the trilogy is about, let me tell you about the synopsis of the first book. In The Kiss of Deception, Lia’s story starts. She’s the First Daughter and Princess of Morrighan, who is getting ready for her wedding. Her parents have signed a document stating she will marry the Prince of Dalbreck, a neighboring kingdom. Lia doesn’t want to get married, or to be shipped of to a different country. So she plans her escape: together with her best friend/servant Pauline, she flees the capital and rides to a small town Pauline knew. She wants to live a normal life, and starts working as a serving girl to pay her rent. Yet the kingdoms aren’t so pleased with her decision to flee. So 2 people are sent after her: 1 is the crown prince she was supposed to marry, and the other an assassin sent to kill her. While you’re reading the first book, you have no idea who’s who. You meet 2 guys: Rafe and Kaden. Yet for about 70% of the book, you have no clue which of them is the assassin or the prince.
I was afraid this book would cut corners in the story line. Lia still had such a long way to go, too long it seemed for one book. Yet I feel like Mary E. Pearson did such a good job of incorporating all the plot and character development into one book. I do think this book is longer than the previous ones?
If I were to judge/rate based on the story line alone, I would give this book 5 stars. I was captivated the entire time, and couldn’t wait to see all the threads connect and the schemes revealed. A lot of sidelines of the main plot came together here, to tell one story. And I couldn’t be happier about it. I think the ending of the story in itself, was great. It’s still realistic (you know, for a fantasy novel) and satisfying.
I don’t want to say too much about the male main characters, because what I’ll say in the next part about the romance may spoil you. I will say that both went through a lot, and they grew tremendously. One had to learn to deal with his past, and stop letting it rule him. The other had to take on so much responsibility suddenly, and learn to juggle all of it.
As for Lia, I couldn’t be more proud. She faced her fears so she could root out the truth. She faced her destiny, even though she may be prophesied to die because of it. She’s a great friend and fierce protector. There was one moment where I felt like she was losing herself to another person, letting him decide far too much for her. Yet she knew where to draw the line, and fought for her opinions and freedom.
Yet I can’t help but feel disappointed with a part of this book. Which part, you ask? The romance. This trilogy has a love triangle, that’s no secret. It didn’t really bother me all that much. I’m not just disappoint from the standpoint of “oh no, she didn’t pick who I wanted her to pick”. I’m sad because I feel like Mary E. Pearson tried to have a satisfying romantic conclusion for all the main characters, and it just didn’t work for me. You know that Lia will choose one person over the other. That’s always the case. So a new romance was suddenly introduced at like the 70% mark, so the non-chosen-one could have a romantic happy ending too. It just didn’t work. It came out of nowhere, there was no chemistry and above all: it didn’t make any sense to me! That kind of made me take my rating down, because it really affected my reading experience.
If you haven’t read this series, I urge you to pick it up. Of course, if you don’t like romance in your (fantasy) novels, this one won’t be for you. Otherwise, it’s a great YA fantasy trilogy! It’s got magic/prophecies, kings and queens, strong women, kingdoms at war, armies marching and an evil lord with his own assassins-crew.