About the Book

Title: The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3)
Published: 2016
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Swords Up!
BFF Charm: O Captain! My Captain!
Talky Talk: Reliance on What’s Come Before
Bonus Factors: Feminism, Satisfying Conclusion
Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS
Relationship Status: Love You Forever

Spoiler Alert: Danger, Will Robinson! The Beauty of Darkness is the third book in The Remnant Chronicles. If you have not read the first two books in the series—The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first books, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the story.

Cover Story: Swords Up!

Lady on the cover is ready for whatever you’re bringing, horde of menacing soldiers.

(I also really appreciate the visual “growth” of the woman on the covers from the first book to this, the last. There’s so much strength to this one, which fits well with where Lia’s mentally and physically at in the story.)

The Deal:

Lia’s been through a lot. When she fled from an arranged marriage with the intent of taking control of her own life, she was stalked by an assassin and taken to the vicious Komizar, who took away her freedom and forced her to submit to his whims. Then she discovered that she might be part of a world-changing prophecy, and realized that she was stronger than the situation—and that running away wouldn’t solve anything.

With the help of Rafe and his men, Lia escaped the Komizar’s clutches. But now the real battle begins. And changing the minds of stubborn, power-hungry men is often harder than fighting an actual war.

BFF Charm: O Captain! My Captain!

Through the three books of the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, Lia experiences some major personal growth, often because she finds herself in situations that force her to make the tough decisions all on her own. This sort of mental hardening might lead some people to become cold and harsh, but Lia remains a caring and dedicated individual—all signs of a true and worthy leader. She puts her people first, even when she wants nothing more than to follow her heart. She trusts that what’s meant to be will be, even if the process of getting to even a semi-happy ending is unbelievably tough. I’d definitely follow her into battle or vote for her as the next U.S. President be on board with her being my monarch.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7*

If you’ve read the previous two books in this trilogy—which, I really hope you have if you’ve gotten this far in this review—it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the relationship Drama that’s been a keystone of the series continues in The Beauty of Darkness. I get it, I really do. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to read.

*If you want to talk about what happens in the last chapter, I’ll be in the comments. #vaguestatementisvague

Talky Talk: Reliance on What’s Come Before

From the very start of the Remnant Chronicles, I’ve been impressed with Mary E. Pearson’s world-building and her extremely real and relatable characters. Because The Beauty of Darkness focuses more on events/situations than the world, however, and we already know the characters quite well, these aspects of Pearson’s writing take a backseat. Thankfully, she’s set things up pretty damn perfectly in the first two books, so this in no way detracts from the story.

Some readers might feel like the Komizar’s storyline wraps up a little too easily, but I think it fits so well with the larger series theme of Lia finding/making her place in the world. There’s a time for action, and there’s a time for diplomacy, and there’s a good balance of both in this book.

I still would love to know more about the history of Lia’s world and what led humanity to where it is in the series, but I shall just have to hope Pearson revisits the world at some point. (Admittedly, I haven’t read the prequel novella Morrighan, so I might be missing something there.)

Bonus Factor: Feminism

Raised fists in different skin tones wearing nail polish

Lia has always been a strong female character—pants to Pearson for this—but there’s a total fist-pump moment in The Beauty of Darkness in which her feminism truly stands out. To set the stage, in the scene in question, Lia’s confronted by a soldier she met earlier in the series, a soldier who only knew her as a tavern maid, and treated her as such (i.e., as a lesser “thing”). When he realizes his monumental mistake, he tries to apologize.

I stopped him, pushing him to his feet again by the tip of my sword. “It shouldn’t matter if I am a tavern maid or a princess. When I see you treating others with respect without regard to their station—or anatomy—then your apology will mean something.”

Of course, Lia’s also a realist.

I turned and walked away as he still blustered, weary that this was a battle I had to fight over and over again.

We hear you, sister.

Bonus Factor: Satisfying Conclusion

"The End" from Looney Tunes cartoon

I’m not going to say, specifically, if The Beauty of Darkness does or doesn’t have a happy ending. For a series that holds its secrets close to the vest, doing so might ruin the reading experience. But, personally, I’m absolutely content with the way the series wrapped up.

That said …

Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS

Painting of a woman holding a book lying on a green couch. Called "Decadent young woman. After the dance" by Ramon Casas i Carbó

… as satisfied with this conclusion as I am, I’m really sad that I no longer have new visits to Lia & Co.’s world to look forward to.

Relationship Status: Love You Forever

Our time together was short(ish), Book, but you will always have a place in my heart. Your world felt fresh and new, while having a lot of history, and your characters rarely let me down. (If they did, they eventually made it up to me.) I’ll never “lose” your number when I transfer my contacts to a new phone, and I promise to check in from time to time to make sure you’re still as awesome as I remember. I also plan to push you on many people, so I hope you’re cool with polyamory.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Beauty of Darkness is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.