the-beauty-of-darkness

  • Page Count: 688
  • Release Date: August 2, 2016
  • My Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Description:

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3) 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.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson’s combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.


My Thoughts:

2-5stars

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS. I don’t explicitly say how it ends, but I do talk about some key points.

I sat on this one for a month before publishing this review, but I actually still agree with my original rant. I absolutely LOVE the first 2 books in this series, so that might be impacting how strongly disappointed I am with this finale. So this is long, but here we go…

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I was positive it would be a 5-star review. There were parts I did like — the first 1/3 of the book fit the rest of the trilogy and was really fun! But around 30% everything started falling apart… like I was seriously mourning at the end and NOT because anything particularly interesting happened. I was mourning what this book could’ve been.

The story was pretty depressing and monotonous the whole way through. Even the worldbuilding that was so brilliant in the first two books fell kind of short. The story mostly danced around a lot of potentially awesome plot points while failing to truly delve into them because it had so much to cover. Most of it became incredibly predictable as it pulled everything together in a passive tone that didn’t seem to fully care about anything until it all fizzled out in an anticlimactic open ending that I just laughed helplessly at. At the very least, I wanted a lot more character interactions and reactions.

SPOILERS START NOW:

Anyone who wasn’t terribly into the love triangle of the previous books might rejoice that the romance, angst, and everyone’s characters in general were kind of thrown to the wind in the last 70% of this story. I think the best way to approach this book without feeling super disappointed is to immediately drop whatever romance you were hoping for.

The story was split between four POVs: Rafe, Kaden, Lia, and Pauline. Once I accepted that the book was just going to skim the surface of any remaining relationships, it was kind of fun to see how much Lia could grow as a character. This book really is about her finding her voice and becoming the leader she was meant to be.

Kaden was SUCH a strong character in the first 2 books, but got turned into some shell of a character here. It was like the author just gave up on him and shoved him off to the side. He went from being in love with Lia at the start to suddenly never truly interacting with her again. It wasn’t even clear when this shift happened.. they were just “comrades” helping each other out for the rest of the story? It felt seriously odd that they wouldn’t process things together after everything they went through in the first two books! So much more could’ve been done with Kaden.

I’m not upset that most of the romance with anyone was dropped; I’m upset that most characters were kind of reduced to props. Like you know that Kaden cared about Lia in some way… everyone else’s POV observes their “connection because of Venda.” I want to see this. His short POVs mostly just told what he was doing while any substantial stuff about Kaden was seen through Rafe’s occasional observation or Pauline’s POV. The stuff with Pauline & Kaden felt a bit forced too… like I guess Kaden needed to be put somewhere so he’s just smushed over there in the singles corner? I started to really ship them, though, because the story was so bleak I’d ship ANYONE at that point. But then I was upset that we didn’t get to see them actually fall in love or anything the reader could really connect with emotionally. So much of the story was passive or happened off-screen that I eventually just wanted the frustrating mess to be over. I totally stopped caring very much about characters that had previously been all-time favorites.

I was hoping Rafe would get a bit more character development, but then he started to be so useless and irritating that I didn’t care if he dropped out of the book altogether too. He did have two moments of admirable character growth, but was still a pretty weak character overall. I had the feeling some stuff with him was meant to increase tension, but it really just added to the depressing, torturous factor. And what exactly happened with his kingdom in the end?! I’m really upset we never got to see much of Dalbreck or actually get very far into anything meaningful for any character. Like King Jaxon went home long enough to talk to a couple people for a few pages in the middle of the book and then left his kingdom again. That is not a backstory.

(Oh, and if you’re an ACOMAF fan, this was awesome: Rafe turns into Tamlin Jr for a bit and tries locking Lia up to “protect” her… and then later Kaden names Pauline’s baby Rhys. None of these are particularly big spoilers, but they’re hilarious when combined).

NICE THINGS I HAVE TO SAY: I did like the person Lia grew into for the most part. She and Pauline became pretty badass. Lia saved herself in a ton of rough situations and became super tough, resourceful, clever, brave as hell, and selfless. She is no longer defined by her relation to any guy and her power is entirely her own. There were so many strong women in this plot! And I really loved the minor characters like Natiya, Sven, and some of the other soldiers. They had actual entertaining interactions.

I wasn’t huge on how the stuff in Morrighan went down. Everything felt a bit forced/unrealistic or like a rushed afterthought, but it wasn’t bad — I could still suspend judgement and roll with those parts of the plot. There were some fun and touching scenes here and there, but even those managed to be incredibly depressing too because it was made clear that THIS WOULDN’T LAST. For most of the book I felt like I would never smile again.

Ok, and major rage: the Komizar is a seriously awesome villain — SO much potential was wasted there! He just hovered off-screen as this looming threat whispering crap until he finally showed up at 92% for a few pages?! The story was mostly a lot of hiding out, waiting for the looming doom to eventually drag itself across the entire continent, and people filling others in on events in a passive manner. (Like instead of showing you what happens, it kept being like “and so Lia told him.” Ok cool. What was his reaction. THIS IS A STORY, NOT A CHECKLIST). Every major scene of tension felt like there was something bigger in the background that was more pressing, so I always kept waiting for the something more that never happened.

I really want to love this story because of how much I love the first two books, but I feel even more let down the longer I think about it. I can’t get around the fact that it failed to deliver for me on almost every count. This story was a lot of suffering with very little reward. Yes, the last page or two could be considered resolution, but after 685 pages of waiting… no. That was not nearly enough.

(And I really don’t mean anything personally against the author here! I’m going strong in a rant because I love this world she created so much. I think writing any book, let alone a trilogy, is an enormous challenge and I respect anyone who can accomplish that. I absolutely love this series but just reallllly wish this book could’ve gone differently).

Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy!

 

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