Hardcover, 679 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Average Rating: 4.25
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
POV: First Person (Multiple: Lia, Rafe, Kaden, Pauline)
Cover Love: Epic final battle scene??
My Rating: 4.5/5
Lia has survived Venda—but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.
With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier—as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross-purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down.
In this conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance.
This is a novel I’ve been procrastinating since its release. I loved The Kiss of Deception, and was very disappointed in the sequel, The Heart of Betrayal, so reading the conclusion wasn’t really that appealing to me… I knew it had to be done.. AND IT IS!!
WOOOOW. I’m glad I left this book for a time when I actually wanted to read it because man, that is how you end a series. Mary E. Pearson absolutely redeemed herself with this last novel.
Readers juggle four POVs in this novel which is great and really pulls the book together. However, Lia is the star (of course). Pearson really stayed true to her character and I love that. Every single plot development was Lia. You know how some authors just make things happens just for the sake of it? Well, this is not the case as I felt like Pearson was making the decisions according to Lia and her character. She built up the story very nicely. Lia is an amazing heroine and I got a whole lot of sass, “fuck you” at Rafe, and absolute strength and cleverness. She was brave, and independent. She never let her love for Rafe get in the way of what she wanted. She became her own hero which is all I can ask for in any YA novel.
On the other hand, I did not have this effortless relationship with Rafe as I did with Lia. He definitely had some good and bad moments, especially to the point where my feminist claws retracted and wanting to exact revenge on his face. In the very beginning, he was controlling and possessive in the worst ways. Like I was comparing him to Tamlin, people. TAMLIN. (Character from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses) That was a very horrifying moment for me as a reader. Alarm bells were ringing and I was not happy. Alas, he redeemed himself [spoiler: highlight for details] by letting her go to Morrighan to save her own kingdom because of his deep love for her. He knew he would lose her anyway if he forced her to stay with him. He let her go unlike Tamlin the Tool!! But, seriously, I will not account for the asshole-ry of Rafe. In my head, I saw him prancing around and ordering Lia because of his goddamn power. MMmmm. No. Will not work for me.
The length of the novel definitely allowed me to heal over Rafe’s mistakes. He worked very hard to gain back my approval (and Lia’s). Which he ultimately did. I hope those that have read, or will read The Beauty of Darkness will agree that Rafe had some significant and rewarding character development.
Okay, while talking about the length. Holy moly, was this a long book. It felt long, and it dragged at times. I lost interest at some points but for the most part, plot was seamless and flowed very nicely. Again, all the decisions the characters made were true and reasonable and leading up to the epic battle was hella angsty. I found there was also a nice balance of action, fantasy and romance which is the trifecta of books. There were so many stabby scenes, I was in heaven!! Plot twists weren’t abundant as I could predict most outcomes, but the angst and drawing it out made up for it. It was torturous mind you, but effective.
Let’s address the romance. If you’ve read the first two novels, you’re probably furious about the love triangle between Rafe, Lia and Kaden. I know I was. I’m really happy Pearson didn’t take this into the direction of Lia contemplating who she should be with because I would have DNF’d this novel. Because of the nature of the novel, leadership, kingdoms, and politics were taken into account. It made many relationships rocky and hinted at outcomes. I know I’m being vague, but I refuse to spoil this detail, because it 100% made my reading experience better. I believe it added layers to the characters and the storyline. Throughout this whole series, I was never Team Rafe or Team Kaden, not really anyway, but there was a significant moment when it was all or nothing for me. I was shipping so hard at that point. Overall, I’m very happy with the result. It was reasonable and ohmygod, angsty!!
Last but not least, the ending. This explains it for me: 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Was that a bit much? Yup, but it sums up how I felt. It was hopeful and I just wanted more!!! I think all readers will be satisfied with the ending. I reread it 3 times because I just needed to relive it over and over again. *happy sigh*
The Beauty of Darkness is really an epic (but long) conclusion to Lia, Rafe, and Kaden’s story. Pearson draws out the story in order to add layer and world building to ultimately close the novel with no loose ends. I didn’t want it to end!! The feels are there, and the brilliance is there. Highly recommend finishing the series if you have already started it.