The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
The Kiss of Deception
The Heart of Betrayal
The Beauty of Darkness
I feel like this trilogy suffers from the opposite of second book syndrome. Instead of being the worst, the second book in my opinion is by far the best of the three.
The Kiss of Deception starts out with the main character, Lia, running away from an arranged marriage, and is soon pursued by the prince whom she was to marry, and an assassin sent by another land. The book is told in three perspectives – Lia’s, the Prince’s and the Assassin’s, and for the first book, you don’t know who is who. You can’t tell which of the two men is out to kill her and which is there to try to win her over.
It was a very interesting concept, even though I knew it would come with the caveat of a love triangle, and lo and behold, it did. I mean, of course both the prince and the assassin would be late-teens, both good looking and both caught off guard at how ‘different she is than they thought she would be’. I mean go figure, right.
So my gripes with the love triangle aside, the first book was a rather solid opening to the trilogy. It had a bit of world building and some minor character development to boot. Lia though, was flat for me after the first book, and she would remain that way for me through the second with minor improvements and then finally flesh out a bit more during the third.
So the first book I ended up giving a 3/5 stars because of my lack of investment in the characters. The world was cool, but the characters… eh.
The Heart of Betrayal was next and in my opinion is a good bit better. The characters flesh out a bit and the setting gets so much cooler. So Lia and whathisface are walking around right, and they come across this ruin with a guy’s head in it. And it’s obviously Abraham Lincoln’s head from the Lincoln Memorial. So utterly buried, Washington D. C. exists in this world. That means this is a regressed future Earth. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I love books like that! And as the book continued, more and more little hints of the setting are revealed an the map itself is a huge clue – imagine the USA after the polar ice caps melt. Same thing right?! Ahhhh it’s so cool. <33
And the Komizar is probably one of my favorite characters – he’s such a bastard. I think he’s what made me like the second book so much. He actually had personality. That and the revealed setting gave this book a 4/5 stars, which is the highest rating I gave the entire series.
And then came the third book, The Beauty of Darkness, which is many peoples’ favorite book and unfortunately not mine, not by a long shot. The best thing about this book, I will give it, is that the love triangle basically disappears. And I was very happy with who ended up with whom. That I did like. It’s not often a love triangle ends up the way I want it to. It’s nice to see my ship actually set sail and flourish. I was so happy (despite the fact that the characters still weren’t totally drawing me in). I mean the characters had definitely developed a bit but honestly I still didn’t really care much for them.
But what really killed this book for me, this 700 page book, was the last 50 pages. So like, they’re building up to this war, right. This huge war that they’re going on and on and on about, that they’re trying to prevent for the entire 700 pages… and like… it’s just so anti-climatic.
Ok so the Komizar gets there and just happens to have the remaining two kids from the second book that Lia couldn’t take with her and wow wow, they’re saved super quick. And then after fretting for 200 pages about how smart, tactical and manipulative the Komizar is, about how he’ll outsmart everyone… Lia totally guesses exactly where he’ll show up.
And then on top of that, for some reason, she has to climb this hill to speak to the people… the people that had been hearing her talk for months and months and had still decided to go to war against her. And she gets up there to give this life changing speech that will change their lives and we don’t even get to read the speech. Really. The book was like ‘And I told them about how things should be’. Like really. This speech, which apparently convinces One hundred twenty thousand people, we don’t even get to know the contents of aside from ‘I told them about this thing’. And then this eighth-of-a-million large group of people who all somehow heard her over the chaos of war simultaneously drop their weapons and effing give in.
BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHY BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE SAID.
To me, it was like she was just talking more about what she had already yapped about when she was in Venda! What was so different about it now that it changed one hundred thousand people’s minds all at once?!
And then boom, two chapters of aftermath and the book is over.
Goodness gracious I hated that ending.
So this book got a 3.5/5 stars from me but after typing this all out I feel like that might have been a bit high.
So yeesh. The plot devices in this book were terrible, the characters were flat, but the setting was super, super cool and I loved it.
So this series was ok I guess. I mean, read it if you like YA Fantasy, you’ll probably enjoy it. But if you want something with a bit more uh… oomph, I don’t know, man.