The conclusion of Pearson's Remnant Chronicles was a slow-burn buildup filled with heartache and fragile hope. Lia's hero arc culminates in a fierce, driven protagonist who is admirably self-assured without being arrogant. She believes wholeheartedly in her role in Venda's prophesy and doesn't flinch when it comes to fulfilling it. Her sharp, unapologetic nature is reinforced by the struggles she faced in the Komizar's captivity, molding her into a fearless heroine that is easy to root for.
Lia's link to Venda feels incredibly organic, as does the solidifying of her bonds with Vendan characters like Griz and Eben. It adds a depth to her connection with Kaden, as well, though the continuation of his unrequited love for her is sometimes hard to read. As a whole, this installment really tugs at the heartstrings for hopeless romantics like me. There are no sunshine-and-roses romances in these books. I suppose that's part of what I like best about Pearson's writing. She doesn't give you happily-ever-afters. Instead, you get to see the small, precious victories of the heart, the stolen moments of joy between long stretches of darkness, a hundred tiny victories that give far more depth to these relationships than the tidily-packaged triumph fiction so often provides. Pearson's characters fight for every scrap of joy and sometimes settle for the small glimmers of light fate offers them, even if it's not everything they wanted. Her stories speak of gratitude for the now, for the things right in front of us, and of the grasping impermanence of life.
In the end, I found myself wishing I'd read this trilogy first. There were many nods to the Remnant Chronicles in the Dance of Thieves duology, and I regret not being able to fully appreciate them. The trilogy adds a lot of backstory and context to the world Kazi navigates. I think I'll have to read those books again just to soak up all the details I missed the first time around.