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.
About the Author
Mary E. Pearson is the author of eight novels for teens, including The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, and the acclaimed Jenna Fox Chronicles. She writes full-time from her home in Carlsbad, California.
Read an Excerpt
The Beauty of Darkness: Book Three
By Mary E. Pearson
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2016 Mary E. Pearson
All rights reserved.
Darkness was a beautiful thing. The kiss of a shadow. A caress as soft as moonlight. It had always been my refuge, my place of escape, whether I was sneaking onto a rooftop lit only by the stars or down a midnight alley to be with my brothers. Darkness was my ally. It made me forget the world I was in and invited me to dream of another.
I sank deeper, searching for its comfort. Sweet murmurs stirred me. Only a sliver of golden moon shone in the liquid dark, floating, rocking, always moving, always out of my reach. Its shifting light illuminated a meadow. My spirits lifted. I saw Walther dancing with Greta. Just beyond them, Aster twirled to music I couldn't quite hear, and her long hair flowed past her shoulders. Was it the Festival of Deliverance already? Aster called out to me, Don't tarry now, Miz. Deep colors swirled; a sprinkling of stars turned purple; the edges of the moon dissolved like wet sugar into black sky; the darkness deepened. Warm. Welcoming. Soft.
Except for the jostle.
The rhythmic shake came again and again. Demanding.
The voice that wouldn't let go. Cold and bright and sharp.
A broad hard chest, frosty breaths when my eyes rolled open, a voice that kept pulling the blanket away, pain bearing down, so numbing I couldn't breathe. The terrible brightness flashing, stabbing, and finally ebbing when I could take no more.
Darkness again. Inviting me to stay. No breaths. No anything.
When I was halfway between one world and another, a moment of clarity broke through.
This is what it was to die.
* * *
The comfort of darkness was stripped away again. The gentle warmth turned unbearably hot. More voices came. Harsh. Shouts. Deep. Too many voices.
The Sanctum. I was back in the Sanctum. Soldiers, governors ... the Komizar.
My skin was on fire, burning, stinging, wet with heat.
Lia, open your eyes. Now.
They had found me.
My eyes flew open. The room spun with fire and shadows, flesh and faces. Surrounded. I tried to pull back, but searing pain wrenched my breath away. My vision fluttered.
"Lia, don't move."
And then a flurry of voices. She's come to. Hold her down. Don't let her get up.
I forced a shallow breath into my lungs, and my eyes focused. I surveyed the faces staring down at me. Governor Obraun and his guard. It wasn't a dream. They had captured me. And then a hand gently turned my head.
He knelt by my side.
I looked back at the others, remembering. Governor Obraun and his guard had fought on our side. They helped us escape. Why? Beside them were Jeb and Tavish.
"Governor," I whispered, too weak to say more.
"Sven, Your Highness," he said, dropping to one knee. "Please call me Sven."
The name was familiar. I'd heard it in frantic blurred moments. Rafe had called him Sven. I looked around, trying to get my bearings. I lay on the ground on a bedroll. Piles of heavy blankets that smelled of horses were on top of me. Saddle blankets.
I tried to rise up on one arm, and pain tore through me again. I fell back, the room spinning.
We have to get the barbs out.
She's too weak.
She's burning with fever. She's only going to get weaker.
The wounds have to be cleaned and stitched.
I've never stitched a girl before.
Flesh is flesh.
I listened to them argue, and then I remembered. Malich had shot me. An arrow in my thigh, and one in my back. The last I remembered I was on a riverbank and Rafe was scooping me into his arms, his lips cool against mine. How long ago was that? Where were we now?
She's strong enough. Do it, Tavish.
Rafe cupped my face and leaned close. "Lia, the barbs are deep. We'll have to cut the wounds to get them out."
His eyes glistened. "You can't move. I'll have to hold you down."
"It's all right," I whispered. "I'm strong. Like you said." I heard the weakness of my voice contradicting my words.
Sven winced. "I wish I had some red-eye for you, girl." He handed Rafe something. "Put this in her mouth to bite down on." I knew what it was for — so I wouldn't scream. Was the enemy near?
Rafe put a leather sheath in my mouth. Cool air streamed onto my bare leg as Tavish folded back the blanket to expose my thigh, and I realized that I had little on beneath the blankets. A chemise, if that. They must have removed my sodden dress.
Tavish mumbled an apology to me but wasted no time. Rafe pinned down my arms, and someone else pressed down on my legs. The knife cut into my thigh. My chest shuddered. Moans escaped through my clenched teeth. My body recoiled against my will, and Rafe pressed harder. "Look at me, Lia. Keep your eyes on me. It'll be over soon."
I locked onto his eyes, the blue blazing. His gaze held me like fire. Sweat dripped down his brow. The knife probed, and I lost focus. Gurgled noises jumped from my throat.
Look at me, Lia.
"Got it!" Tavish finally shouted.
My breath came in gulps. Jeb wiped my face with a cool cloth.
Good job, Princess, from whom I didn't know.
The stitching was easy compared to the cutting and probing. I counted each time the needle went in. Fourteen times.
"Now for the back," Tavish said. "That one will be a little harder."
* * *
I woke to Rafe sleeping beside me. His arm rested heavily across my stomach. I couldn't remember much about Tavish working on my back except him telling me the arrow was embedded in my rib and that probably saved my life. I had felt the cut, the probe, and then pain so bright I couldn't see anymore. Finally, as if from a hundred miles away, Rafe had whispered in my ear, It's out.
A small fire burned in a ring of rocks not far from me. It illuminated one nearby wall, but the rest of our shelter remained in shadows. It was a large cave of some sort. I heard the whicker of horses. They were in here with us. On the other side of the fire ring I saw Jeb, Tavish, and Orrin asleep on their bedrolls, and just to my left, sitting back against the cave wall, Governor Obraun — Sven.
It hit me fully for the first time. These were Rafe's four men, the four I'd had no confidence in — governor, guard, patty clapper, and raft builder. I didn't know where we were, but against all odds they had somehow gotten us across the river. All of us alive. Except for — My head ached, trying to sort it all out. Our freedom came at a high cost to others. Who had died and who had survived the bloodbath?
I tried to ease Rafe's arm from my stomach so I could sit up, but even that small movement sent blinding jolts through my back. Sven sat upright, alerted by my movement and whispered, "Don't try to get up, Your Highness. It's too soon."
I nodded, measuring my breaths until the pain receded.
"Your rib is most likely cracked by the impact of the arrow. You may have cracked more bones in the river. Rest."
"Where are we?" I asked.
"A little hideaway I tucked into many years ago. I was thankful I could still find it."
"How long have I been out?"
"Two days. It's a miracle you're alive."
I remembered sinking in the river. Thrashing, then being spit up, a quick gust of air filling my lungs and then being pulled under again. And again. My hands clutched at boulders, logs, everything slipping from my grasp, and then there was the fuzzy recollection of Rafe leaning over me. I turned my head toward Sven. "Rafe found me on the bank."
"He carried you for twelve miles before we found him. This is the first sleep he's had."
I looked at Rafe, his face gaunt and bruised. He had a gash over his left brow. The river had taken its toll on him too. Sven explained how he, Jeb, Orrin, and Tavish had maneuvered the raft to the planned destination. They'd left their own horses and a half dozen Vendan ones they had taken in battle in a makeshift paddock, but many had escaped. They rounded up what they could, gathered the supplies and saddles they had stashed in nearby ruins, and began backtracking, searching the banks and forest for us. They finally spotted some tracks and followed them. Once they found us, they rode through the night to this shelter.
"If you were able to find our tracks, then —"
"Not to worry, Your Highness. Listen." He cocked his head to the side.
A heavy whine vibrated through the cavern.
"A blizzard," he said. "There will be no tracks to follow."
Whether the storm was a blessing or hindrance, I wasn't sure — it would prevent us from traveling too. I remembered my aunt Bernette telling me and my brothers about the great white storms of her homeland that blocked out sky and earth and left snow piled so high that she and her sisters could venture outside only from the second floor of their fortress. Dogs with webbed feet had pulled their sleds across the snow.
"But they will try to follow," I said. "Eventually."
I had killed the Komizar. Griz had lifted my hand to the clans who were the backbone of Venda. He had declared me queen and Komizar in a single breath. The clans had cheered. Only producing my dead body would prove a successor's claim to rule. I imagined that successor to be Malich. I tried not to think about what had happened to Kaden. I couldn't allow my mind to drift there, but still, his face loomed before me, and his last expression of hurt and betrayal. Had Malich struck him down? Or one of his other countrymen? He had fought against them for me. Ultimately, he chose me over the Komizar. Was it the sight of a child's body in the snow that had finally pushed him over the edge? It was what had pushed me.
I had killed the Komizar. It had been easy. I'd had no hesitation, no remorse. Would my mother think of me as little more than an animal? I'd felt nothing as I plunged the knife into him. Nothing when I plunged it in again, except for the slight tug of flesh and gut. Nothing when I killed three more Vendans after that. Or was it five? Their shocked faces blended together in a distant rush.
But none of it had come soon enough to save Aster.
Now it was her face that loomed, an image I couldn't bear.
Sven held a cup of broth to my lips, claiming I needed nutrition, but I already felt darkness closing in again, and I gratefully let it overtake me.CHAPTER 2
I woke to the sound of silence. The howl of the storm was gone.
My brow was sticky, and strands of hair were plastered across my forehead. I hoped dampness was a sign the fever was breaking. And then I heard strained whispers. I carefully slivered my eyes open, peering from beneath my lashes. There was soft light filtering through the cave, and I saw them huddled close together. What secrets were they keeping now?
Tavish was shaking his head. "The storm's over, and they'll be on the move. We need to go."
"She's too weak to ride," Rafe said in a low voice. "Besides, the bridge is damaged. They can't get across. We have time."
"True," Sven said, "but there's the lower river. They'll cross there."
"That was a good week's ride for us from the Sanctum," Jeb countered.
Rafe took a sip from a steaming mug. "And now with the snow, it will be twice that."
"Which will also slow us down," Tavish reminded him.
Orrin rocked on his heels. "Hang me, they probably think we're all dead. I would. No one could ever make it across that demon river."
Rafe rubbed the back of his neck, then shook his head. "Except that we did. And if they don't find a single body floating anywhere downriver, they'll know."
"But even once they cross, they'll have no idea where we are," Jeb said. "We could have exited anywhere. That's hundreds of miles to search with no tracks to follow."
"No tracks yet," Tavish warned.
Sven turned and walked over to the fire. I closed my eyes and heard him pouring something from the kettle into his tin cup, then sensed him standing over me. Did he know I was awake? I kept my eyes closed until I heard him walk back to the others.
Their discussions continued as they weighed their options, Rafe arguing in favor of waiting until I was stronger. Was he risking himself and the others because of me?
I mumbled as if I was just waking "Good morning. Rafe, can you help me up?" They all turned and watched me expectantly.
Rafe came over and knelt by my side. He pressed his hand to my forehead. "You're still hot. It's too soon —"
"I'm feeling better. I just —" He continued to resist, holding my shoulders down.
"I have to pee, Rafe," I said firmly. That stopped him. He looked sheepishly over his shoulder at the others. Sven shrugged as if he didn't know how to advise him.
"I'm afraid to even think of the indignities I may have suffered these past days," I said. "But I'm awake now, and I will relieve myself in private."
Rafe nodded and carefully helped me up. I did my best not to grimace. It was a long, awkward, painful process to get to my feet, and putting the slightest amount of weight on my now-stitched thigh sent fiery shocks through my leg and up my groin. I leaned heavily on Rafe for support. My head spun with dizziness, and I felt beads of moisture spring to my upper lip, but I knew they were all watching, gauging my strength. I forced a smile. "There now, that's better." I clutched the blanket around me for modesty's sake, because all I had on were my underclothes.
"Your dress is dry now," Rafe said. "I can help you put it back on."
I stared at the wedding dress spread out on a rock, the crimson dyes of many fabrics bleeding into the others. Its weight had pulled me under in the river and nearly killed me. All I could see when I looked at it was the Komizar. I felt his hands running down my arms, once again claiming me as his own.
I knew they sensed my reluctance to put it back on, but there was nothing else to wear. We had all narrowly escaped with just the clothes on our backs.
"I have an extra pair of trousers in my saddlebag," Jeb said.
Orrin gawked at him in disbelief. "Extra trousers?"
Sven rolled his eyes. "Of course you do."
"We can cut away the bottom of the dress so the rest can serve as a shirt," Tavish said.
They seemed eager to busy themselves with something that would distract them from my more personal task at hand, and began to move away.
"Wait," I said, and they paused mid-stride. "Thank you. Rafe told me you were the best of Dalbreck's soldiers. Now I know that he didn't overestimate your abilities." I turned to Sven. "And I'm sorry I threatened to feed your face to the hogs."
Sven smiled. "All in a day's work, Your Highness," he said, and then he bowed.
* * *
I sat between Rafe's legs and leaned back against his chest. His arms circled around me, and a blanket covered us both. We huddled near the mouth of the cave looking out at a mountain range, watching the sun dip between its peaks. It wasn't a beautiful sunset. The sky was hazy and gray, and a dismal shroud of clouds hung over the mountains, but it was the direction of home.
I was weaker than I thought, and my few solitary steps down another arm of the cave to my requested private moment had me collapsing against a wall for support. I took care of my business, but then had to call Rafe to help me walk back. He had scooped me into his arms as if I weighed nothing and carried me here when I asked to see where we were. All I saw for miles was a white canvas, a landscape transformed by a single night of snow.
My throat swelled when the last glimpse of sun disappeared. Now I had nothing else to focus on, and other images crept in behind my eyes. I saw my own face. How could I possibly see my own terrified expression? But I did, as though I watched from some high vantage point, maybe from the vantage point of a god who could have intervened. Every footstep replayed in my head, trying to see what I could have done — or should have done differently.
"It's not your fault, Lia," Rafe said, as if he were able to see Aster's image in my thoughts. "Sven was standing on an upper walk and saw what happened. There's nothing you could have done."
My chest jumped, and I stifled a sob in my throat. I hadn't had a chance to mourn her death. There'd been only a few cries of disbelief before I had stabbed the Komizar and everything tumbled out of control.
Rafe's hand laced with mine beneath the blanket. "Do you want to talk about it?" he whispered against my cheek.
Excerpted from The Beauty of Darkness: Book Three by Mary E. Pearson. Copyright © 2016 Mary E. Pearson. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. I love the whole series. I think this is the first series that I want to read all over again. I loved that I couldn't expect what was coming next with evey turn of the page. It had me on edge. I didn't want the book to end. My favorite part in this book was when he (rafe) secretly entered the city civica to help lia. Rafe wasn't intimidated by her rule her strength. They are one together. I would like to know what happened to the rest of the royal cabinet. How do king Jaxon and lia work it and griz and gwyneth and etc. Please consider another book.
Reading is a passion for me. I'm not big on writing reviews, but just have to say. I was not disappointed with this story. Won't give it away, but you must read them all! The last book left me wanting more! (what every good author should strive for)
It didn't end the way I thought. Nor did she end up with the guy I thought she should. Still a great book
I've been discouraged lately by my literary pickings. I am so glad I stumbled across this series. There are few series I have to reread immediately upon finishing, but that's exactly what I did. There were a few unanswered questions, but overall the world-building and character development were spot-on, this is a series you'll want to clear your schedule for.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson Book Three of the Remnant Chronicles Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication Date: August 2, 2016 Rating: 1 star Source: eARC from NetGalley ***NO DIRECT SPOILERS, BUT THERE ARE VAGUE NOTES AND SUCH. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. POTENTIAL INSINUATION-TYPE SPOILERS.*** Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I'm writing this review in lists, people. Usually I do this in paragraphs but I am too infuriated and frustrated by this book write now. This section is my "What I Liked" section, otherwise known as the reasons-why-I'm-not-giving-this-book-zero-stars, in this case. - Technically, the ending IS a HEA. You'll see below my full thoughts on the ending. But technically, technically, we have a HEA. Lia, Rafe, Kaden, Pauline, and other major characters get a happy ending. I liked Rafe's ending, though I wished for more for him. - The love triangle is gone - ish? It is. But then, the romance is pretty much gone in general, so there's that. More on that below. What I Did Not Like: - Lia is a complete and utter b***h in this book. Honestly, I don't know how I liked her in the previous two books. She certainly wasn't this bad in those books, I can tell you that. Lia turns into this raging crazy person. I think Pearson wanted to make Lia seem "bada**" and commanding and alpha female or whatever. It came across as CRAZY. And rude. And hurtful. For about 75% of the book, Lia is HORRIBLE to Rafe. And then in the last 25% of the book, she's horrible to him in a different way, more subtle. She literally does nothing to fight for their relationship. Let me stay on this topic for a little bit. Lia treats Rafe so badly in the first 75% of the book. It's like she isn't grateful for him saving her life... over... and over... and over. She uses him, and she makes demands and expects him to do all of these things when SHE KNOWS he has duties in this or that. Did I mention that she doesn't fight for their relationship? It's like she loves him but doesn't care enough to fight for the relationship, when things get tough. HE fights for them, but not her. You know why, partly? Her "gift" tells her to do this, or do that. The magical book of Venda that she has with her has all of these fancy prophecies, and Lia is trying to follow them down to the T. Honestly, I have a lot of disdain for prophecies, and protagonists that put so much stock into them. Lia has no regard for her own destiny. For a girl that tried to escape her fate by running away from her wedding, Lia is quick to jump right back into letting someone (i.e. the book of Venda, and her "gift") control her. - Obviously I hated the romance. The love triangle is gone, thank goodness. But Rafe and Lia still aren't in a good place, and it's mostly Lia's fault. Rafe is under so much pressure and stress, as a new king (yup, he's the king of Dalbreck now), and it's like Lia doesn't care, or doesn't understand, or both. The romance in this book is AWFUL. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
I think I read the entire trilogy in about 10 days! Very interesting world to get lost in.
This is a series with lots of twists. Super fun read. At times you just can’t put it down.
“Love didn’t end all at once, no matter how much you needed it to or how inconvenient it was. You couldn’t command love to stop anymore than a marriage document could order it to appear. Maybe love had to bleed away a drop at a time until your heart was numb and cold and mostly dead.” This series took my by surprise. I do not understand why more people are not raving about it. I think it was beautifully written and had strong messages about love, choices, prejudices, and good old fashioned girl power. The characters were flawed but also relatable and lovely. The romance was complicated but felt real. I just thoroughly enjoyed it all. I would definitely say if you have enjoyed Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas you would probably enjoy this story. This was an easy 5 star finale book of the series for me. I hope to one day revisit this world and plan to follow this author.
A good conclusion to this series. I’m giving this 4 out of 5 stars. So once again, this started out slow for me. I don’t think it’s just getting back into the books after a short break; I think it’s the over-explanation/setup that this author prefers. But once I get past that part, I usually end up loving the writing. This one was no exception. Without being spoilery, I’ll say this book made me like one character slightly less than in the rest of the series. They made me pretty mad, and I didn’t enjoy that. The ending was good, and although I think the book was too long in general, I found most of it really entertaining. But I wanted an epilogue at the end to see how everything played out in a more conclusive manner. While reading, I got teary-eyed at one point (at the very least)…and let me just say that the drama was pretty intense sometimes. I can’t believe the series is over with! I highly recommend the audiobooks for books two and three (the audiobook for book one will spoil you for who is who earlier than other formats). I can’t wait to read this author’s new series when it comes out in several months, which is set in the same universe as this series.
Nice ending, I guess... About 200 pages too long. I only read this book because I wanted to know how the story ended.
I really enjoyed this series. Lia is a strong girl from the first book and it was nice to see her continue to grow as a character into the finale in Book 3. I always find it difficult to write reviews for a final book in a series because it's hard not to give any spoilers away. For me this was a satisfying ending to Lia's tale. As with most great series, the ending is always bittersweet because as a reader you are given that longed for finale but you know that you must say goodbye to characters you've come to love. Book 1 was the shining star of this series. The intrigue and mystery surrounding the identity of the prince and the assassin was something unique and special. Pearson spun it out perfectly. Of course, that couldn't be maintained once their true identities were revealed but I think she did a great job of bringing the focus to Lia and her destiny in Book 3.
Book 4 please :)
I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I love Lia but there are so many things that drive me nuts! Lets start with the good. Lia is freakin awesome. She is independent, strong, smart, and doesn’t take shit from anybody. When the entire world is conspiring against her she doesn’t back down. She risks everything to do what is right. She would make a great role model for any girl. Especially in today’s world when a lot of heroines put their love life before everything else, Lia is a breath of fresh air. While there is a lot of emphasis on the love aspect of the story, the rest of the plot is still very strong. You could remove the love triangle and it would probably make the book better. Lia fights for all the different Kingdoms, and she wins the hearts of the inhabitants wherever she goes. She finds the good in every single place she visits. You can’t help falling in love with the kingdoms who publicly denounce her and the inhabitants that support her. Seriously Lia’s whole journey is an amazing story, all by itself. It is the only reason I kept reading the series. Now for the bad: The love triangle I am not completely opposed to love triangles on principal but this one got tiring. I really liked both men, and wanted them both to be happy. At one point she makes her decision which I was glad of, but then, of course, circumstances conspired against her and we were right back where we started. One of the classic tropes of love triangles is the “loser” finding someone else and living happily with them. This happened here too but it was rushed and weird. It just didn’t feel right. It would have been so much better if Lia had made her choice earlier and then we could have seen the other romance bloom properly. The other issue I had with the book was the ending. The story dragged on right up until the very end and then it was super rushed. It was so rushed I couldn’t even figure out what was happening. I had to re-read a couple parts to figure out what was going on, and then I still didn’t understand. It was awful. All this build up is should have been great but it was just confusing. So overall this book had some really great parts, but others parts fell short. I felt more frustrated with the book than anything else. I didn’t get the closure I needed at the end of the series. I debated giving the book only two stars, but I did like Lia and her Journey so I feel it deserved three.
I so want to see book 4 and how they work it out together.
I've been in a series slump for what feels like an eternity. I will fall in love with the first book, and get so frusterated with the second that I can't read any further. This was not the case with the Remnant series. I was pulled in from Kiss of Deception and fell hard for the second two. While the final book has a lot going on in it (lies, betrayals, twists, heartbreak, anticipation) it also flies by. Lia is hardcore, fiercely independant and driven, letting no one and no thing stand in the way of her love for Morrighan or the Venda that she came to know. Rafe will drive you mad and make you want him multiple times throughout. Kaden will always be my favorite bad guy turned good guy. Even the Komizar plays his role perfectly. Nothing but praise for this series.
Loved it one of my favorite books
Loved is book.
Yeah, I know. Super late with the reading of THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS, book 3 in the Remnant Chronicles series by Mary E. Pearson. I’ve been a fan of this series since I read book 1 and totally fell in love with Lia and Rafe and the mystery surrounding her escape from an arranged marriage. All the characters have come full circle, and I love how this book tied up everyone’s stories. THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS is a great conclusion. The real standout to me in THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS is Lia. She begins this series as a determined, if reckless, young girl who just wants to have her own voice. She’s stayed true to that while also growing into a true leader, willing to sacrifice for her people and what she believes is right. After escaping Venda at the end of book 2, Lia learns to harness her gift as well as her tenacity to help Morrighan, Dalbreck, and the commoners of Venda from utter destruction at the hands of the Komizar and his accomplices. Even in the face of certain punishment, she’s defiant and focused. Fist pump city. Of course, Lia doesn’t accomplish any of this by herself. Her relationships with Rafe, Kaden, and Pauline are all extremely important in THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS for a number of different reasons. Obviously, she’s got the kissy feelings with Rafe, but those remained complicated in the face of both of their responsibilities, and I appreciated that reality. Kaden has some pretty heavy things to deal with as well, and it’s really nice to see him and Lia supporting each other. Pauline has just a few POV chapters in THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS and I’m not totally sure they are necessary, but the story that came out of them was ok. A little neat, in the end, but still ok. Probably the weakest part of the book, for me at least. One thing that I particularly enjoyed while reading were the hints we got about the Ancients. During my read of the first book in this series, I had some ideas about where this world came from and who the Ancients might’ve been, and there are a few Easter eggs in THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS that confirm my suspicions. I’m a big fan of this. I wish it was expanded on a little bit more, but it’s really not what the story is about. Still, it was a fun, subtle twist. Overall, I really enjoyed THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS. There were a few quotes that stood out to me as being relevant to things going on in our world right now, and that always enhances the reading experience for me. This is a really solid series with great characters, character development, world-building, and writing. THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS is almost 700 pages long and it never dragged. That’s pretty excellent, if you ask me. I definitely recommend this series.
Really enjoyed the series, the well developed characters and the plot. Great set of books for adults and teens.
I couldn't put this series down, from start to finish. Love , love, loved the characters.
I have to say this bar far one of my favorite fantasy books of all time, and I read quite a bit of fantasy. Lia is a princess who is to be married off to the prince of another kingdom, whom she's never met. This is terrifying to her, all of her choices were taken away without a thought to what she wanted, so she runs away. That's in the first book, and my how she grows throughout the series. These books tell stories of multiple characters, and how each of them grows through out each. I'm extremely happy for the way this beautiful and dark story ended. I found myself stroking the pages each time another part of Pauline's story was reveled. My heart ached as characters were torn apart, and I hoped for a better ending for these characters that had been through hell and back. Her story building is amazing you will see, hear, smell, and believe everything coming off the pages. Some of the struggles are mirrors of real life challenges many face. Trust issues, respect, and underestimating the power of hope. This is a series you don't want to miss. You'll love it, hate it, cry and laugh. These characters will never leave you. Ever. It's just extremely beautiful, and I can't stop thinking about it!!!
Wonderful. This book works perfectly in drawing all the threads of the story into a great tapestry. So very well written, with lots of twists and turns. There is loss and love, selfish greed and great sacrifices. Just was a epic novel is all about.
The end is here. And I am happy to say that I really did love the ending of this book. I will say there are things that happened that I don’t necessarily agree with. Things that I do find problematic, but in the journey to the end of the story, I’m pretty happy about most of it. I admit that this book has the classic HEA ending (the happily ever after). I didn’t expect it. I had hoped for it - but it so rarely ever happens in young adult books, but this had it! I was happy that things wrapped up nicely and Pearson was able to find a balance for most of her characters that was believable. It’s impossible for me to talk about this book without spoiling the book. So here I go. I have very little to say without going on and on. I will say that I loved the fighting scenes and the perspectives from our main characters. It was so well written and left me dying to get to the next page. And I will forever admire the way Pearson wrote the Kozimar’s final scene - oh my god. It was so satisfying and I didn’t think I wanted it the way that it happened, but if it ended the way that I thought it was going to happen, I would have been blindly satisfied - not realizing I could have had more. This book was A++++ and I look forward to what else Pearson has in store. While that may be years away, I will be sure to pick it up much sooner than I picked up The Kiss of Deception.