Friday, August 25, 2017

The Remnant Chronicles

The Remnant Chronicles -- the lovely-looking series that it is --features a gutsy heroine and a fairly romance-driven narrative.  There's a political angle, but these aren't action-packed.
The Kiss of Deception, Mary E. Pearson
Early on, it became clear this series is a good fit for fans of The Winner's Curse, The False Princess and The Goose Girl.

Pearson surprised me.  She had some things up her sleeve I didn't see coming, and the dialogue and chemistry is so en pointe for new adults (Pearson is a sexagenerian!).  The alternating narrative perspective enhances the story and tension instead of stilting it.

Huge bonus: There's a rugged band of males in the story, and Pearson manages to give them an authentic, rough collective voice and culture without curses or overly offensive content; her tastefulness is a talent.  The story includes a few cliches, but I suspect if you're picking these up based on their read-alikes and cover, you're up for suspending disbelief in the interests of feeling good.  Sensuality is kept at a constant simmer, along with some kissing.

I had such a fun time reading this one, and was recommending it to like-minded friends before I'd even finished.
The Heart of Betrayal, Mary E. Pearson
  • Book 2 brings new layers to the story, including a greater depth of culture.  
  • The villain is strong.
  • I grew tired of the exposition chapter headers; they could have ended with Book 1.
  • There were still some surprises.  
  • Romance is still the main hook, as the story's absurdity reaches a new height by the end of the second installment. 
Book 2 includes some of the lesser curses, continued sensuality (but no sex scenes), and some questionable themes.  One of these themes (both implicitly and explicitly supplied) is "There are no rules when it comes to survival."  I disagree, and would argue this point hard if I was discussing the point with a young adult reader.

Some excellent, emotional scenes in this one.
The Beauty of Darkness, Mary E. Pearson
I am not joking one bit when I say that I recommend reading Books 1 and 2, and then only a fraction of Book 3.  That is my serious recommendation.  I think this series would have been better had it ended about a fifth of the way in.  Everything that takes place thereafter I could have done without, and I wasn't happy with the final images at all.  There's a scene where two characters are at peace and surveying their surroundings; I do not jest, stop there.

Want to decide for yourself?  Hash out the rest?  Okay.
  • It drags.  
  • The love story takes an unpleasant turn.  
  • There's a lot of telling instead of showing with character development.  
  • The chapter headers are even more superfluous.  
  • The villains are lackluster.  
  • A supporting character lacks guts and depth to the point of bugging me.  
  • There are many missed opportunities to evoke the kind of emotion I relished in Book 2.  
  • Like Book 2, there's some questionable messages, Book 3's being "Nothing lasts forever."  
  • There's a scant sex scene, dismal tying of romantic strings, and painfully drawn-out end.  
I never expected realism from this book, but I did expect the strength and impact of the first two, and I didn't find it in Book 3.  It felt rushed and under-pruned.

I'm not kidding, at the cave -- call it a day.

Books 1 and 2 -- I ripped through and thoroughly enjoyed.  I looked forward to reading each night.
Morrighan, Mary E. Pearson
I wasn't so salty from Book 3 that I was unwilling to read a prequel novella.  In fact, an hour and a half with Pearson in Morrighan took me back to Tanith (which I enjoyed) and a little of Ferren and the Angel. and helped me nurse my Disappointment Wounds from The Beauty of Darkness.  I enjoyed this one.  I think it would read well before or after the series (or as a filler while you wait for a hold to come in at the library).  It takes place a long time before the trilogy.
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