Heart of Thorns book cover

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. PearsonThe Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 679

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 series has been an emotional, thrilling, wonderous, and at times, heartbreaking ride, and I’m so glad I finally finished it.

Lia grew so much throughout the series. She went from a scared girl afraid to marry a stranger – to a formidable queen who inspires everyone to listen to their hearts and fight for what’s right. She gains a strong, loyal following of family and friends in The Beauty of Darkness, which comes at no surprise, because she’s a strong, natural leader, with a kind heart and a steel resolve. I was amazed by the many sacrifices Lia made in this final book, blood, flesh, reputation and love.

I was also happy with the conclusions of Rafe and Kaden’s stories. Like Lia, they were also forced to make hard decisions and sacrifices in The Beauty of Darkness. Often when I read books with multiple POVS I dread switching back and forth between characters, because I almost always dislike at least one. I loved the entire trio in this series because each had their own unique personalities and journeys to travel.

Even though there was so much to love about this final book, it was my least favorite of the bunch. Because of the high energy books one and two built-up, the final showdown in The Beauty of Darkness should have been epic, unfortunately it wasn’t. The ending was extremely anticlimactic.

Regardless of the feeble finale, I still love this series so much and can see myself rereading it in a couple years.

Heart of Thorns book cover

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on July 7th 2015
Pages: 470

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I had to put The Heart of Betrayal down a few times because of its’ slow pace. This frustrated me a lot because I was very eager to see how Lia’s role in the prophecy – it’s not specifically called a “prophecy” but there’s no doubt whatsoever that Lia’s a “chosen one” – was going to play out.

Lia continues to surprise everyone in this book, Rafe, Kaden, and most definitely the Komizar, who we see a lot of. Let me just say – Hell Hath No Fury. The Komizar was not prepared to handle a powerful woman like Lia. Lia refuses to be a prisoner again so she takes a stand. She’s super badass, not letting her captors push her around anymore. The Heart of Betrayal made me love Lia even more.

The moments between Lia and Rafe were sweet, but heartbreaking. Lia is drifting away from Rafe in The Heart of Betrayal and it made me so sad. Lia’s arc grows stronger when she starts to realize that she was fated to make it to Venda. On the other hand you have Rafe, who throughout the book, mostly focuses on escaping Venda. His arc growth was pretty stagnant.

As far as Kaden goes, he has a rough time in this book. A line has been drawn and he struggles with picking a side. Like Lia, Kaden’s character also grows a lot in this book.

Venda was such a surprise. The citizens are not the savages we were originally led to believe. I loved learning about their history and discovering their true nature.

Although this book dragged occasionally, it was a solid sequel. I thought the ending was great and I’m very much looking forward to the final book.

Heart of Thorns book cover

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1) by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on July 8th 2014
Pages: 486

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

This is actually the second time I’ve read Kiss of Deception. I first read it back in 2014, and except for remembering that I LOVED it, I didn’t remember much else. When I saw my blogger buddy, Ashley (Twitter: @nosegraze) reading it I decided I finally wanted to finish the whole series, starting with a re-read of book one.

I love the world in Kiss of Deception because it’s creative and complex. The kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbrek are said to be the honorable “good guys” and the kingdom of Venda the “bad” barbarians. Early on I sensed that things weren’t that black and white, and of course, so does princess Lia.

I find the religion in this series to be fascinating. Venda and the other kingdoms each have their own versions of the Remnant Chronicles, a set of holy books, because the original text was lost throughout the ages. Each kingdom believes that they reign supreme because of their own favorable versions of the text.

Lia is such a great character! She’s headstrong, brave, and doesn’t give up. People think she has it all, because she’s a princess, but that’s so far from the truth. Lia’s just a ‘soldier’ in her father’s army, a pawn to be wielded in whatever way the king deems fit. When she escapes to Terravin with her handmaid, and friend, Pauline, she sheds all the shackles of her previous life. She surprises everyone, including herself, with her willingness to live a simple life as a tavern maid. Even though Lia’s at a disadvantage because of her cushy upbringing, she still tackles any task, waiting on rude soldiers, wringing out laundry, scrubbing dishes. She never once complains because she’s grateful for the chance to live a free life of self-made choices and endless possibilities.

Rafe and Kaden are two extremely different and extremely attractive guys who are both harboring major secrets. Lia’s unaware of course that one’s an assassin sent to kill her, and one’s a scorned prince who is both intrigued and irritated that she backed out of their arranged marriage. I loved how the author didn’t reveal who was the assassin and who was the prince until the end. I had my suspicions and I was wrong! I’m pretty sure I was wrong the first time I read this book as well.

I’m so glad I re-read this book, and now I’m going to read books two and three. They’re huge, just about 500 hundred pages, and beautifully written, so I won’t be rushing through them. There’s a lot of details and inner dialogue to be savored, and it makes these books that much more sweeter.