THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS BY MARY E. PEARSON

Book Review
25944798Title: The Beauty of Darkness
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series or Standalone: The Remnant Chronicles #3
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal Shelves
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
When the Beauty of Darkness arrived on my doorstep, I – like a lot of other fans of the series – was a little shocked at the sheer size of it. It was a kind of happy surprise, because after reading Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, I’ve been less intimidated by YA Fantasy books over 500+ pages. More over, The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal were both roughly five star reads for me.
Consequently, I was confident Pearson would deliver an amazingly epic finale that was on par with her previous work. Instead, The Beauty of Darkness felt extremely longwinded, and quite frankly left me feeling (surprisingly) a little disappointed. (But hey, you can’t please everyone!)

The Beauty of Darkness’ predecessor, The Heart of Betrayal, was in my top favourite books of 2015. It was a stellar sequel to The Kiss of Deception that introduced a plethora of new ideas and exciting plot points to the reader; a new kingdom, characters, history and fantasy elements. I cannot help but compare The Beauty of Darkness to The Heart of Betrayal and see how lacklustre it is. Whilst The Beauty of Darkness serves it’s characters and their respective arcs extremely well, for me it really lacked an engaging plot and good world building.

With this book I found that there was something I wasn’t connecting with, something that wasn’t gripping my attention and drawing me back to it, and nor was there anything to excite me every time I picked it up. These are potential reasons why:

The presence of the Komizar was nonexistent. I was excited to become reacquainted with his character but he was barely in this book. Lia and the Komizar had this strange, exuberant chemistry in The Heart of Betrayal. (Similar to Alina and The Darkling in Leigh Bardugo‘s The Grisha Trilogy.) Yet as the resident villain wasn’t in the same vicinity as our characters, I felt a considerable lack of tension had been removed that made the previous book interesting. Even if he wasn’t in the same vicinity as our characters, why would a character that had such a prominent role in the previous book be nearly ignored in the following?

Pauline’s sparring chapters were also really uninteresting. This point isn’t as significant as my others but I still think it’s relevant. More effort should have been done to include her as a main character with point of views from book one. Consequently I may have felt more strongly for her. I don’t think enough character building was done for me in the first novel to become invested in her character and I wish her actions had more importance to the plot. Although, I can appreciate these chapters, because they exist to show us what’s going on from her perspective, and which helps avoid over-exposition from Lia’s perspective later on in the novel.

Lastly, the characters spend somewhere around 100 to 200 pages at a Dalbreak Outpost… doing what exactly? This was the worst part of the novel for me. It set a really slow pace early on in the book and left me unexcited to pick up the book and continue reading it. I can’t see how anything of significance was contributed to the overall plot. My understanding is that it was used to draw out tension in Lia and Rafe’s relationship and create a ‘will she/won’t she’ dynamic in regards to a certain path Lia needs to decide on. However, I think it was pretty evident which path Lia was going to choose and so, this entire portion felt redundant.

Although Lia is still a main character I can champion behind, I wasn’t feeling how long and slow-paced this novel was, especially compared with to the previous books. Had the plot been more innovative perhaps my reading experience would be different. Nevertheless, I am excited to see this series re-animated with Pearson’s upcoming release Dance of Thieves.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read this series and have any significant thoughts, I’d be interested in hearing them!

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