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08 August 2016

Review + Giveaway: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson



Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format/Source: hardcover, purchased
Status: Book 3 of The Remnant Chronicles


Summary:
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.

Review:
THIS BOOK IS GLORIOUS AND PERFECT AND I LOVED IT THE END. Wait, what do you mean that's not an acceptable review? *huffs breath* FINE. Prepare for ranting and crying and gnashing of teeth and swooning and cuddling (just so we're all on the same page, I mean I'm cuddling the book, not you, dear reader. Not that you're not cuddly. I just really love this book).

Before you continue, let me just say that this review is going to be somewhat more spoilery than my reviews generally are because this is the last book in a trilogy, and ALL THE THINGS HAPPEN, and I just have a lot of feelings okay?? So continue reading at your own risk.


Okay. First of all, we can stop arguing about who is going to become the next US President because CLEARLY the only acceptable candidate is Lia. LIA FOR PRESIDENT 2016 AND ALSO 2020 AND FOREVERMORE. Lia has always been a ballsy character. Nobody puts baby in a corner and attempts to marry her off and gets away with it. Lia has basically been saying "EFF YO COUCH" since page one of The Kiss of Deception, but it's EVEN BETTER in Beauty. See, Morrighan the kingdom is in a whole lotta trouble because while Lia was in Venda with the terrifying yet most amazing villain Komizar, she uncovered a plot to basically bring destruction and death and the end of the world to Morrighan. The problem is, Morrighan thinks she's a traitor, and if she shows up there, she could be killed immediately. Lia don't care. She's like, "BRING ME A HORSE AND LET'S GET SHIT DONE."

What I really love about Lia and her development especially in Beauty is that she is strong in character (she's also not bad physically) and tender of heart, intelligent and intuitive. She has actively learned throughout all her experiences throughout the series AND she seeks out the advice of others, and it has led to her being incredibly well-balanced emotionally and physically. She uses all her gifts, all the tricks she's learned, everything, to become a strong and capable ruler, even though she's a teenage girl. When men because she's just a girl, she basically tells them to shut the fuck up and get back in line or else she'll find them another job. She's constantly told she's not a soldier, not capable, not worthy, and each time, whether with Rafe, a general, a political cabinet, an enemy, a common soldier, or WHOMEVER, she demonstrates she knows what she's doing. Basically, Lia is a badass.

I think Beauty also does a good job balancing the end of the world political/war plot with the romance. Mary masterfully weaves them together, sometimes giving one or the other more attention in a way that's realistic—for instance, wanting the comfort of being close to someone physically during an emotionally tense time—and prudent. Rafe and Lia have never had an easy road. In Kiss, Lia had spurned Rafe by abandoning him on their wedding day. Then she's kidnapped, and upon their reunion, they're both taken into enemy territory. In Heart, they're still in enemy territory, and to protect one another, they have to stay apart. In Beauty, they're together, but they have obligations that threaten to separate them. I appreciate that although they occasionally give in to their feelings—they're still teens deeply in love—they also are mindful of those obligations and act accordingly. It makes it hard because OMG this ship is amazing, but I would love them less if they said "screw everything" and kissed instead of doing things that are more pertinent and necessary. But don't worry. There's P L E N T Y of kissing and cuddling and, um, comforting. They both make some hard choices, and I absolutely respect the decisions they make. I love that Rafe in particular makes some bold decisions, even though they're heartbreaking. There was another great recent fantasy series in which another beloved prince faces many of the same problems  Rafe does, but he chose wrong so I found his character to be weaker, and I like him and respect him less than Rafe.

I ADORE the ensemble cast Mary has created. The Remnant Chronicles is so much more than "just" Lia's story. It's Morrighan, Venda, and Gaudrel's story. It's Pauline's. It's Rafe and Kaden and Lia's mom and dad and brothers and Griz and Aster and Eben and Gwyneth and Berdi and all the Dalbreck guys and everyone's story. Granted, an amazing supporting cast is a terrifying thing to have when everyone is going off to war, but by golly, this cast. There's a ship that comes out of NOWHERE, and I jumped on it with such FERVOR (the Komizar would approve. Of my fervor, I mean, not this ship). I never anticipated it, but wow, I loved when it happened. *swoons for days* And bless Tavish, Orrin, Sven, and my precious cinnamon roll Jeb for providing some much-needed levity. Sadly, Griz and Eben aren't around as much as I'd have liked, but there are new characters who come in (Captain Azia <3) and old characters who get more page time that I didn't feel cheated. I feel like this ensemble is comprised of friends and loved ones. I laughed with them and celebrated with them and cried for them and gasped for breath for them and grieved for them (like... A LOT of grieving), and although part of me is cursing Mary for breaking my heart, I'm also cheering for her for making me feel so much for these characters in just over 1500 pages.

I feel like there's so much more to say and yet I feel like I've said all I need to say. This series is, in a word, spectacular. I liked Kiss of Deception, but I feel like it was just an okay beginning. Thankfully the sequels more than delivered the rest of this brilliant story. Heart of Betrayal was a masterful second book, carrying the plot and the characters forward, pushing them toward the finale. It's hard not to stall the plot in a middle book, but Heart never faltered. And then Beauty of Darkness blew it all away. Amazing series. Absolutely phenomenal. Thank you, Mary. Thank you, Macmillan. I am greatly looking forward to your next project!

Book Links:
   

About the Author:
Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Author Links:
   

Giveaway:
Open to US & Canada. Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CST August 17. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page.Good luck!

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21 comments:

  1. I haven't read this series, but if you are "cuddling" this book, then I'm missing out on excellent and exciting books. I often hug a book and smile when it's just that good. Thanks for the review (I love your conversational style!).

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    1. Thank you! This was definitely a fun review to write. I do try to make my reviews sound like I'm talking to a friend so I appreciate that. The Remnant Chronicles is a favorite series of mine. I hope you give them a chance!

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  2. Hmm, Rafe is probably my favorite. BUT, Kaden definitely grew on me in Heart of Betrayal; we saw a way more vulnerable side of him :)

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    1. Kaden also grew on me. He's pretty fantastic in Beauty of Darkness. I'm pretty sure I cried during this one scene when Pauline is (deservedly) mean to him and his face falls and he's really sad. He was a really complex character, and I was glad he got some redemption.

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  3. I inhale read the first book a couple of months ago and LOVED it! The second book I am reading right now and it's taking me longer. I think it's because I miss Rafe and Lia interacting. Of course I love the main characters Lia, Rafe, and Kaden but I really like the relationship between Lia and her brothers. They tried to treat her like an equal in ways and I believe that is one of the reasons that Lia is so strong. I hope that I get to meet or read more about her brothers.

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    1. I also really love Lia and her brothers. I would love a prequel novella that's just about them goofing around as kids!

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  4. I haven't started this series yet because I wanted to binge when it was complete. That day is here! I love strong female characters and excellent character development, and I've heard rave reviews about both. Can't wait to lose myself in these books!

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    1. I hope you love them because Lia and the other ladies are AMAZING, and the character development is top notch!

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  5. I haven't read this series yet but I do have the first two books coming my way this week so I'm super excited to read it!

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  6. I haven't read the series yet. I've been waiting for the last book so that I can binge read the whole series!

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    1. DO IT! I think these are highly binge-worthy!

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  7. I've seen people raving about this book online and I had no idea it was a part of a series! I'll have to pick up the first two before I get this one because your review has got me wanting to read it immediately!

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    1. I love to hear that! Definitely start with Kiss of Deception.

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  8. I too like to binge read a series so I love it when a series ends!

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    1. I get really tired of waiting for all the books in a series to release, but I'm torn because I'm always sad to say goodbye too.

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  9. Cant wait for this book! i read the first two so fast!

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    1. I hope you enjoy Beauty of Darkness too!

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  10. Cant wait for this book! i read the first two so fast!

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  11. Cant wait for this book! i read the first two so fast!

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  12. Great review, i've just ended reading Heart of Betrayal, but i live in brazil and the portuguese version wasn't releases yet, now i got a little taste of what's coming next. Thank you!
    PS: sorry about my english.

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