Throughout the first two books, all the main characters were strong and you could see their motivations and really understand them. While, in this book Lia really grows into her own person and into a spectacular character, Rafe and Kaden seem to have been thrown to the side. That is probably my biggest complaint about the book, while there were other, smaller issues, the thing that most upset me was that Rafe and (especially) Kaden's characters just... weren't nearly as strong and compelling as they were in the first two books. They just seemed a bit like empty shells of themselves, which was (obviously) disappointing, especially since Kaden happens to be my favorite character.
Warning, this part of the review is spoiler free for the Beauty of Darkness, but it is certainly not for the previous two books. If you have yet to read The Kiss of Deception, and the Heart of Betrayal, I recommend you don't read any further until after you pick up the first two! (Which I highly recommend that you do.)
I'm sorry in advance for any of you not Kaden lovers out here (how could you?). For the first two book reviews, I'm fairly sure my reviews basically revolved around Kaden. This one probably won't be too different.
The plot in this book was not nearly as exciting and intriguing as the first two books'. The final battle-- the thing that the whole book had been leading up to, was rather disappointing (more on that in the spoiler section), and everything just felt all too convenient for the characters. Still, I'm not over how some of the main characters were just cast aside. Also, the relationships were just kind of thrown off in the wind as well. Some of the best parts about this series were the complicated relationships between all the characters-- while, for the first little bit of the book it was a good as expected, it just kept get worse and worse after that.
The saddest part is that this book had so much potential, and there were so many things in it that could've gone in great directions, but ending falling flat. By the end, I was just glad the book was over. I noticed in another review it mentioned that there was a lack of character interactions and reactions to things. I also noticed that during the story. Actually, I was just waiting for Lia to talk to Kaden or to Rafe or to anyone, really, about what she was feeling or whatever. Or maybe even just think about it? But no, sadly most of the book was just about the actions, not the interactions or reactions. Seriously, in the last third or so of the book, there was hardly any interacting between Lia and Kaden-- like they were together a lot, but it never actually showed any interaction between them. Actually, there wasn't much interaction between Lia and Rafe either. It was all rather disappointing.
Though, Pauline did become a strong character. I guess this book was more for the female empowerment or whatever, which of course I enjoy reading about, but it was too much. And it just made me miss Kaden more.
The four point of views this book is told from are Lia (mostly), Rafe, Kaden and Pauline. Literally all Kaden's point of views are just about the events going on and there is almost no reactions of emotions about them. They're just things that are happening.
Also, it basically ignored the fact that Kaden had the gift. Actually, that just circles back around to Kaden's character being tossed out the window, and him being an empty shell of himself in this book. *Sigh* I had such high hopes for that darling boy.
While most of the review so far has been ranting, I can tell you that it's not all bad. I just usually have a tendency to point out the negatives and not bother to mention the positives. I did enjoy some of the book, I don't want you to think it was all bad. There were some very satisfying and exciting moments in it, they're just mostly overshadowed in my mind by the negative parts.
There were also some relationship things that really aggravated me, but I will talk more about that in the spoiler section.
Something I did really enjoy reading about were Rafe's friends, Tavish, Orrin and Jeb. They each had such interesting characters and they were loyal friends to the Prince. I wish we got to see more of them, who they are apart from Rafe's friends and apart from their own separate skills.
This book also seemed to toy a lot with my emotions. There were parts where I actually began to feel hopeful about things that I'd given up on, only to feel crushed later. Then there were parts that I cheered about and yet still felt a pang of sadness for how it affected the characters.
Even though it is a rather long book (688 pages) and yet sometimes it felt like things were happening too quickly. It's rather confusing how much time is actually passing by. Sometimes I felt like a few weeks had passed by in between a few paragraphs, but other times it felt like it was the same day for several chapters. All in all the time aspect of the book had me very confused.
I would give The Beauty of Darkness 7/10 stars. I enjoyed parts of it, but ended up being pretty disappointed. I had such high hopes for this book and was very much anticipating it, which I guess makes it all the more disappointing. Like I said before, it did have some good parts, but they just got overshadowed in my mind. The ending of the book actually left me feeling rather empty and sad. It seemed like it wrapped up too quickly, as is the case with many trilogies. It's very hard to fit everything into three books-- sometimes it works out, but usually the ending of trilogies feels hasty and just all crammed together. That's how the ending of this book felt.
I'm sorry again for the less than positive review, I really did love the first two books, this book just wasn't as great as its predecessors.
(If you're wondering why I had the book a couple of days early, I'm just going to thank Barnes and Noble for never actually putting books out on the right release day :)
Here's the synopsis:
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.
Wow. They changed the synopsis online from where it is in the book. The book synopsis spoils that yes, Kaden is indeed alive... This one doesn't. Sorry if I upset y'all greatly!
SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE BEAUTY OF DARKNESS
Okay. This is going to turn into a venting therapy for me in a second, but let me just talk about the Komizar for a minute before I start on the venting. He was just this fantastic antagonist, and a great and looming threat throughout the second and third book. I was expecting him to be more of an issue, but instead he actually died off very quickly after you see him again-- it was a very quick and rushed feeling death. As was the battle. I already knew the battle would be a little rushed because it only had about 100 pages left when it began. Arg. The whole book worked its way up towards that battle and it hardly took any time for Lia and the gang to overcome the Vendans. Sure, Jeb died and that made me sad, but no one actually important died (like Lia, Rafe, Kaden or Pauline.) I know, I'd be complaining if one died as well. There's no real great way to please a readers. I had actually come to terms with Lia dying, and thought it was actually a good idea for the ending. Yeah. Lia didn't die.
Also just quick laugh for me. As an avid ACOTAR fan, I was rather amused by Rafe becoming Tamlin-y for a minute there (not nearly as bad, though) and then the baby was named Rhys. Hehe. That baby has a bright future.
A lot of the beginning of the book was dedicated to showing how loyal Rafe was to his country and how he'd choose it over basically anything else. I actually enjoyed that part, and not just because it caused problems between Lia and Rafe. I appreciated seeing how both Rafe and Lia were willing (reluctantly) to sacrifice their love for each other for their love of their countries. But then Rafe literally just goes back home, and basically just turns around to find Lia again. UGh. If he was going to do that, he may as well have just gone with Lia in the first place.
Now let's move into the ranting/venting shall we? KADEN. KADEN AND PAULINE. No, just no. From the very first book I knew that Pauline and Kaden got along well. While reading it I remember actually being a little suspicious of that, but then everything else happened and I wasn't worried about it. Then in this book as Pauline and Kaden got closer, I just started going NO NO NO NO. I knew they were becoming a thing when he helped her give birth to her baby. It all just went downhill from there. It's not even that I'm made that Kaden and Lia didn't end up together, Pauline and Kaden's romance just felt forced and wasn't something that I really fell in love with like Kaden and Lia. It just wasn't a very convincing romance is the point I am trying to get to. It just felt like a little bit of a cop out since Kaden and Lia weren't going to end up together. Oh, about that. By the end of Heart of Betrayal I accepted that Kaden and Lia weren't going to be a thing, but the beginning of this book got my hopes up. Only to turn into no interactions between Lia and Kaden and them just to suddenly feel like their relationship was purely platonic. WHEN THE FUDGE DID THAT HAPPEN. It was made pretty clear in the beginning that Kaden was still in love with her... So that just faded away, I guess BUT WE NEVER GOT TO SEE IT SINCE ALL KADEN'S CHAPTERS WERE BASICALLY EMOTIONLESS. That kind of made me want to punch something. Also, at the beginning of the book I got the impression that Kaden was determined to kill Lia-- I thought he was just maybe pulling a bit of a con on her like she had on him in the beginning. But no. As soon as he saw her or something he changed his mind. But we didn't really get to see that mind changing because you know, we didn't actually get to see Kaden's thoughts.
Okay, I could go on forever on my Kaden rant, so let's end it there before I start just typing gibberish. My last thing to comment on is the ending. I don't know about how it made you feel, but The ending just seemed to wrap up all too quickly and it seemed a little too perfect. Like it never really explained what was going on in Dalbreck and while it did give the message that everything was going pretty well, not many details were given. Like Lia and Rafe, are they going to have a long distance relationship or something? Who knows.
I'd just like to close off this slightly (very) ranty review by saying I loved this series-- the world, the plot, the characters etc. I am very grateful to Mary for writing such a riveting and intriguing story, and I'm glad to have read it-- all of it. Even though I was disappointed in the last book, I would just like to say this is a good series. It's unique, well written and just a fun read. My point here is, I still greatly appreciate the author and the fantastic story she has created.
Anyway, thanks for reading, I'll be having a lot more reviews popping up soon, so keep an eye out. :)