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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson


The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: August 2nd, 2016

Series:  The Remnant Chronicles #3

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

In the escape from Venda, Lia and Rafe were separated from the other four Dalbrecht men and Lia was severely wounded. Rafe manages to doctor her a bit enough for him to carry her for miles until they all meet up again. Though Lia's barely recovered, she has a feeling some Vendans are after them and they must press on towards Dalbreck. On the road, they are met with a wounded Kaden and Griz, whose only allegiance anymore is for Lia.
When they reach an outpost, Rafe is announced to be King of Dalbreck. In his new role, he and Lia have more conflicts as Lia feels she must continue on towards Morrighan to warn them of the Komizar's army, and Rafe wants to keep her safe and out of a country that has declared her to be a traitor. After some deliberation, Rafe decides to let Lia go but sends his four best men to accompany her to the border. Once in Morrighan, Lia seeks Pauline and to find out how best to gain entrance into the citadel. Despite a setback, she stages a coup to take her place as First Daughter and rule Morrighan to help them survive. She must confront old enemies, her parents, and inspire new loyalties or everything will fall to the Komizar's bloodthirsty horde.

In this final volume, Lia's sense of self is split into many parts. First, she is the First Daughter of Morrighan and loves her kingdom and her people and knows that the Komizar will do everything in his power to destroy it. She also loves Rafe and would not want to jeopardize his country for her own, especially when he had done so much to help her. Lastly, her time in Venda and among the actual Vendan people, with the Morasi clan and Aster, has made her identify with them too. She's seen their suffering, their children made to be soldiers, and their lack of hope or future. She can no longer just act like only the Morrighese matter to her. In assuming leadership of Morrighan, her Vendan sympathies are hard for her people to comprehend and accept, but really, only Lia can embrace and hopefully pacify the two cultures instead of continuing the decades long bloodshed.

Lia still intends to marry Rafe at some point, but her insistence on going back to warn her country creates problems for Rafe. While he was in Venda his mother died unexpectedly and his sickly father also passed, making Rafe the new King of Dalbreck, news that was kept close to prevent instability and allow time for Rafe to be found. In his absence, one of his generals staged a possible bid for the throne. Rafe already has a lot to deal with for his country, let alone the threat of Vendan attack and Lia's plans. Despite their love for each other, Lia and Rafe have one of their biggest conflicts. She needs to go back to her people and doesn't want to wait as the threat of the Komizar edges closer while Rafe can't bear losing her to the possibility of such danger. Still, he must remain and deal with the issues facing his country rather than keep his promises to her. Eventually, he swallows his fear and allows her to leave. Rafe still has more sacrifices to make if he wishes to keep his alliance with Lia. To gain her troops and assistance, he betroths himself to the general's daughter in a show of good faith. For both of them, it's a hard price to sacrifice their love for the good of their countries, but the reader will probably be pleased by the turn of events in the end.

Kaden makes great strides in this book at confronting his past, including revealing his father and his own deep loyalties. Kaden discovers his love for Lia isn't quite the thing of romance, and he develops strong feelings towards Pauline and her new baby. Pauline, meanwhile, grows into her strength and confronts Mikhael for his womanizing ways, manages being a new mom, and supports Lia. She also realizes Kaden has changed, and she should give him another chance to prove himself to her.

This was a solid finale to a good high fantasy series though I really wanted more of a wrap-up. (Don't we all want more of our favorite books/characters?)

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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