Author: Mary E. Pearson

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review

Posted August 11, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson | Book ReviewThe Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on August 2, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 688
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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2 Stars

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.

Alright… This is painful. This is really painful for me, as I have been SO EXCITED about this final book in the Remnant Chronicles. And when my wish was granted on Netgalley to read this early, life was golden. But I’m so disappointed and so sad. This was just not in any way what I wanted for these characters and this ending. I love Mary E. Pearson. But I don’t love this book. I don’t even like it. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I was bored. Overall, I was very, very bored with this book to the point where I seriously considered giving up. I couldn’t do it, though, because a small part of me kept hoping things would turn around. We read about a lot of traveling and planning, but very little actually happens for the bulk of the book. And when it does, I felt like someone was telling me a synopsis of what happened rather than reading about it myself. Not sure if that makes sense, but the telling far outweighed the showing. I was never immersed in the story.

2. My beloved characters became flat, shells of themselves.

– Lia. What even happened to her? I’m so mad at who Lia has become. She went from barely understanding her gift to using it as a crutch to get whatever she wants. All of a sudden, it’s her way or the highway because of this random gift that has become a character of its own. When people indicate that they don’t trust her gift (because why should they? It’s not been a big deal at all up until now), she turns into such a jerk and doesn’t care about anyone or what they think. I hate this gift. It was the excuse and the explanation for everything and turned Lia into this pompous, uncaring, inconsiderate person. Yet when times get rough she waxes philosophical and almost cheesy as she strives to save everyone with her words. After everything we’ve been through, words resolve it all.

Lia has also gone from making smart decisions to blindly following Vendan prophecies regardless of anyone’s feelings. My friend Alyssa said it best in her review: “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.” I remember her feeling so overwhelmed at the prospect of ruling a kingdom, and now one kingdom isn’t enough for her. She’s telling Rafe what to do and trying to rule his kingdom too.

Rafe has completely lost his backbone, blindly loving Lia despite how much of a brat/jerk/idiot she has become. She treats his so badly, and he just takes it. She takes him for granted and doesn’t even care that she might lose him. Yet he continues to save her when she doesn’t even deserve it and shows no gratitude for him doing so. Usually the girl is the doormat in novels, so yay for that finally not being the case… but now the guy is the doormat and that makes me just as mad. You’re a king, Rafe, man up.

I think I’m in the minority, but I’ve always loved Kaden. Where is he in this book? Again, he’s a shell and he gets a happily ever after right at the end (and it comes right out of left field and was not at all convincing). I think he was legitimately forgotten and then the author said, “Oh! Kaden! Can’t forget him! Let’s give him an ending.” He goes through some pretty emotional things in this book, not to mention some life-altering experiences, but I saw no growth and change or development because he was given very little time to go through these things and react/recover accordingly.

3. So much time was wasted on traveling and talking about things that are going to happen that the resolutions were way too easy and way too fast. I don’t know why this book is so long because the parts of it that actually mattered were so rushed and abrupt. 

4. The romance is barely there. Lia and Kaden kind of resolve things between the two of them, but do they? Lia and Rafe have this rift and he actually gets engaged to someone else. Neither of them even seem to care much. Kaden gets a love story of his own, but it didn’t even make sense to me. How do you suffer such betrayal from someone you loved and then fall for someone else right away? I don’t know, I’m just meh about all the romance-ness at this point. I quit caring, to be honest.

5. The ending was so vague, with so many loose ends. Perhaps the author wanted us to assume things or create our own future for the characters, but I just wanted to know. So many books end with a final battle, and this one was just like all the others except Lia gets a new “gift” that… saves everything. So there. Lia didn’t do anything. Her gifts did.

So… I’m not happy. I skimmed some passages out of sheer boredom in the hopes of getting an amazing character moment or an awesome climax of events or something. I wanted a satisfying resolution, but I’m left feeling so disappointed. Would I recommend this book? I honestly don’t think so. Mary’s writing is typically amazing, but it felt tired here. I’m not sure what happened. I wish I had quit with The Kiss of Deception. I loved that book (I also loved The Heart of Betrayal, but this book made me regret reading it.), and considering how open-ended this book’s ending was I think you could easily read The Kiss of Deception as a standalone and move on.

2 Stars

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review

Posted June 10, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson | Book ReviewThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on July 7, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 470
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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4 Stars

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 am having the hardest time coming up with a strategy for reviewing this book! I read it in February of this year, and I’m so overwhelmed by my feelings that I’ve pretty much rendered myself speechless. I also tend to struggle with reviewing the second book of a series because things are not resolved yet and I love the world and the story and the characters just like I did in the first book. So naturally, my review always ends up looking a bit like my review of the first one. I can’t put off reviewing this book any longer, though, especially since my wish was just granted on netgalley and I’m one of 50 people who gets to read the final book in this series, The Beauty of Darkness, two months early!

Bottom line, I love this series and I loved this book. There are twists and turns throughout both books, and the world is super dynamic and well fleshed out. Basically everything I said in my review of The Kiss of Deception still applies (I told you this would happen). We also get to learn more about Lia and her gift, which has changed since her arrival in Venda. Again, we are torn between who to trust and what to think. The culture and really the entire world of Venda is terrifying and unique, and even though I did not love the setting and the barbaric secondary characters, I really drank everything in because it was just so unique to me. We get to learn more about Kaden and his life. His bond with the Komizar is creepy, yet captivating. Rafe, of course, is still noble and wonderful. I don’t know how Pearson does it, but I am such a fan of her ability to weave such a crazy detailed story together in way that makes sense! AND to do it through multiple points of view? She’s a phenomenal writer!

The writing is still amazing, and my heart is still fully invested even though Pearson threw all of us off the edge of a cliff with this ending. Guys, it’s brutal. Considering how close we are to the release of the final book in the series you might want to heed my warning and wait until you have The Beauty of Darkness in your hands (or are able to instantly download it off Amazon with the click of a button) before reading The Heart of Betrayal. It might actually extend your life if you do.

4 Stars

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review + Giveaway

Posted July 15, 2014 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 29 Comments

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review + Giveaway

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review + GiveawayThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 15, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 496
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

People. I do not know what to do! I have no idea how to review this book, because I really, really loved it. There were a few slow moments, but I became so enthralled and excited about it as the story went on. By the end, I was just dying to get my hands on the second book! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book grabbed me from the first sentence, which does not happen. Ever. “Today was the day a thousand dreams would die, and a single dream would be born.” How great is that? Don’t you want to read more?

2. The Kiss of Deception has a really complex plot that I totally was not expecting. It was a pleasant surprise, because this book is LONG and we need that complexity to keep us going.

3. I think my absolute favorite part of the story is Pearson’s ability to weave things together in a way that keeps you guessing and/or questioning everything you think you know. When two men show up in Lia’s new hometown, she has no idea that one of the men is the prince she was supposed to marry and the other one is the assassin who was sent by her father to kill her. And the best part? The reader is not entirely sure which man is which either! And as Lia begins to feel things for one of the men, the reader agonizes over whether she fell for the prince or the assassin. It does not get better than this.

4. I love it when an author can blow my mind. She DID. I mean, I might have screamed.

5. Lia is a wonderfully spunky character. I love that she fled an arranged marriage, and I love that she cared more about finding the right man and falling in love than marrying the wrong one for wealth, recognition, and prosperity. She knew betraying her father would have extreme consequences, but she did it anyway. She’s also amazing at standing up for herself. I wish I could tell people off like she can!

6. The assassin and the prince, even though we do not always know which is which, have very unique and separate personalities. I found this to be incredibly important because these men HAD to not blend in to one person, or Pearson’s story would not have worked. Pearson did a wonderful job painting a mysterious pair of characters.

7. There’s a hint of a love triangle, but mainly because you don’t know which man is which. Again, this was done so well! I loved the mystery of trying to figure out which man she fell for!

8. In addition to the main story of Lia’s fleeing her kingdom, two men vying for her attention, and tons of deception… there’s side stories of Lia figuring herself out, kingdom politics, treks across barren lands, gypsies, adventure, and supporting characters you’ll fall for. AND it all takes place in a world you can’t wait to learn more about. It’s the total package.

9. I love the writing. It’s beautiful and funny and I loved immersing myself in it.

You know an author has done a wonderful job with their book when it takes me over FOUR MONTHS to write a review. I was so spellbound and captivated by The Kiss of Deception that I was seriously rendered speechless. I’ve already decided that I need to go read Pearson’s Jenna Fox trilogy, not to mention I’ll be moving mountains and slaying dragons to get my hands on The Heart of Betrayal, which comes out next year!


Thanks to Macmillan for providing a giveaway for the readers of That Artsy Reader Girl! Make sure you enter for the chance to win a hardback copy of The Kiss of Deception. This giveaway is open to residents of the USA and Canada.

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5 Stars