Samstag, 18. März 2017

|Series Review| "The Remnant Chronicles" by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles #1 The Kiss of Deception #2 The Heart of Betrayal #3 The Beauty of Darkness | Mary E. Pearson | Henry Holt and Co | English | Hardcover | ca. 15€ per book | Buy?
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.

I first listened to this song while reading book two and it kinda stuck with me til the last installment of the series :D

[I feel like I haven't done an review in English for ages, and actually never did a series review in English, which is why today I want to try and write my review for The Remnant Chronicles in English.]

Sometimes I forget the meaning of a book series, like a trilogy. Not the literal meaning, but it's purpose more or less. Despite reading quite a lot of them, I feel like there are only very few series that actually get the point of consisting of multiple books like this one does. Most series books are connected through a plot, but they easily can be pictured as single books, books that connected to each other through the story and the same characters, but that kinda do not feel like bigger picture together, like a story that cannot only be seen as a whole. This is why even though I wasn't the biggest fan of Mary E. Pearson's books, this series eventually really grew on me and ended up amazing me in so many ways.

In this series we follow our main character Lia, princess of Morrighan, who leaves her husband-to-be standing at the altar while running away with her best friend to live on her own terms. But soon after starting a new life in a little village, two young men arrive there too, one to reclaim his wife-to-be and one to kill her. But who is who?

Even by reciting this premise to you I can't stop smiling because it just seems so amazing how this series managed to grow so much throughout it's books. Yes, it all started with a princess that ran away and got tangled up in a love triangle, where one of the guys actually was there to kill her. And yes, of course, I enjoyed the first book, but didn't really give to author to much credit, because I felt a bit cheated. This wasn't the kind of fantasy I was looking for, it kinda bored me to see Lia fall in love and enjoy living in the village and not even the ultimate twist - the discovery of the assassin - was able to surprise me, as at least to me that one was pretty obvious. BUT considering what happens in book two and especially in book three I couldn't have been more wrong to call this series simple and centered on a cliché.

First of all, I love love LOVE the world Pearson created. Yes, the first book almost only takes place in Morrighan and the little village, but as the series goes on, we get to travel so much and discover the amazing world Pearson created. As a fantasy lover I do not only value magic systems and fantastic creatures but if a book really wants to make me love it, it better had some politics going on. An religions, to more the better. Just give me a whole new world full of complexity. I want different histories and complex conflicts and various beliefs and costumes. And Pearson really did that, even if it didn't seem that way back in book one. However, as the series continues, the story adds so much to our world building and I really felt like Pearson shaped the setting with every single page, made it grow and get more complex and colorful. The three different countries that really stood out to me were Venda, Morrighan and Delbreck and the best thing was that they were all so very different and somehow related to our modern world. Venda had a kind of Middle Eastern aspect while Delbreck und Morrighan really reminded me of an European/American relationship. Added to that I just loved the way the different kingdoms were illustrated and presented, the way they all had their own beliefs and costumes but still were somehow connected right at the core. Because that's something that we often forget in the real world: Despite having different beliefs and costumes and territories and histories, we are all somehow connected, if only in being human and living on earth.

Secondly, I really appreciated the way Pearson made not only her world grow throughout the series, but also her characters, especially her main character Lia. To be honest, during the first book I didn't really like Lia. Even though she made the brave decision to break the rules, turn her back on her kingdom and live on her own terms, which I really appreciate, I thought that she was pretty whiny and naive in the first book. She was swoony and kinda missed her common sense every know and then. But then again: Now that I have read the entire series I must disagree with my view on Lia, because now I know that this was the fundament Pearson was planing to build on. Because if someone really managed to grow on me, surprise me and make me fall in love with them, it's Lia. I feel like I have never seen a character grow as much as she did throughout those three books. She developed so beautifully and it never seemed like this rapid development was forced upon her. A whiny little girl that ran away from home to avoid the fate of being married to someone she didn't know, that fell in love with two strangers....this girl grew into a mature, sensitive, emphatic and sassy woman knowing what she wants and how to get it.

All the things she had to experience shaped her and made her become a characters I couldn't love more. Especially her way to handle love impressed me deeply. I am so thankful that she didn't remain a girl that would swoon every time she saw her love interest, but that she grew up and got so much more mature. Yes, she did fight with her love interest, but the didn't mean that they would break up and cry. Yes, she would decide to disagree with her boyfriend, to accuse him, to have her own head and to make choices for herself. There were times where I just wanted to applaud her because Lia showed that you can be a feminist and in love at the same time, the feminism doesn't mean "men hating". Another thing I like about her was the way she grew to be responsible and devoted to her duty as a princess and the chosen one. How she showed so much compassion and devotion and motivation for her quest and her prophecy and, most of all, for the life she wants to live. Nevertheless, to really get the bigger picture, you have to read the whole series in order to see her development, to understand the way she was shaped and to get why she had to do certain things the way she did. If you only read one book or two, you won't see the way Pearson planned to construct this story and character, which is one of the main points why this makes me feel like this series can only be read as exactly this thing: A series.

Thirdly, the story really does improve and gets so much more excited than it seems in the first book. On the one hand, we start focusing more on the setting and the characters and things like love and whiny protagonists fade a bit into the background to make space for politics and religion, for a great female protagonist and for a story that will make you read this book unexpectedly fast. I literally read the last book in three sittings even though it had more than 700 pages. The story just got really fast paced and offered so many different twists and turns, started messing with your mind and challenged you to really think. I loved how complex and high-fantasy-like this one got without letting go of it's YA aspects and even without using magical creatures at all.

Still, some things bothered me. Seeing the series as whole really made up for many issues I had before, like the protagonist or the world building or the slow story, but sadly, some things just didn't work out for me. One of these things was Rafe. No matter what, I just didn't manage to like him. He was somehow just annoying and I feel like Pearson should have given him more room to grow like she allowed Lia and Kaden. Added to that I really would have loved for some minor characters to get more attention and space for character development, however I do realize that this would have probably been to much. Another thing that could have been better is the story line. In the first two books, every now and again it really got way to slow and dragged a bit, so that even though book three was the biggest one, it was the only one that was fast paced from the beginning til the end.

Another point I wanna mention is that I finally got an ending that couldn't have been more satisfying. What's really important for me is that everyone gets what they deserve, the you can see the plot sum up smooth and nicely, that all the important questions are being answered but that there is still a tiny bit of a question left, a small plothole enabling you to adjust the ending to your liking. Pearson constructed a great showdown and also managed to let the book calm down a bit at the end. She showed us tiny new beginnings indicating in what why the story of the single characters could continue. She didn't rely on clichés and didn't make it too citshy, but rather saw that everyone got what they deserved and that the imperfection itself was the thing that made the ending great.

To sum up my thoughts I am more than happy to have read this series. I really liked how this finally reminded me why some books just need to be told as a series and how this series managed to surprise me so much with it's last installment. First of all, I appreciate the character development and our female protagonist who really grew on me, was a feminist and developed so much throughout the series. Secondly, I fell in love with Pearson wonderful complex world with so many different stories and religions, political landscapes and languages. It would be so amazing if more fantasy worlds would be that complex and inspiring. Thirdly, even though I had some issues with the plot being all slow and dragging in the first books, the story line really took up the pace in the last book and had me sitting at the edge of my seat, shocked by plot twist every now and again and also satisfied me with a great ending. Had all books in this series been like the last one, it would have gotten a 5 star review, but as the first two books weren't as amazing as the last one is, I think this series deserves a 4 star rating and a big compliment for REALLY being a series.

1 Kommentar:

  1. Liebe Kücki,

    was für eine tolle Rezension (und noch dazu in Englisch - RESPEKT!!). ^.^
    Ich fand Band 1 schon ganz toll, wenn auch nicht perfekt und bin schon gespannt wie die Reihe weitergehen wird. Allerdings werde ich mich noch gedulden müssen, da ich die Reihe in Deutsch angefangen und in dieser Sprache auch zu Ende lesen möchte. :) Deine Rezension hat mich aber schon richtig neugierig drauf gemacht, wie es mit Lia weitergeht und ich hoffe, dass ich nicht mehr allzu lange auf die nächsten beiden Bände warten muss. :)

    Alles Liebe,
    Jasi <3