Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Series Review: Remnants

Dystopian. Fantasy. Action. Adventure. Romance. Intrigue. The Remnants series by Lisa T. Bergren delivers all of these things, and then some.

I'm quite a fan of Lisa's other YA series, the River of Time. (There will be a post on that series coming up soon!) While I was suffering withdrawal from the River books, I discovered the Remnants series. I finished the second Remnants novel this evening, so I am once again facing the crisis of a book hangover. 

To help me cope, I'm sharing my thoughts on the series. Besides letting me process my feelings, I'm hoping this post will draw you into the world of Remnants as well. After all, I need someone to discuss these stories with! 

(Never fear, I've left out any spoilers.)

What is Remnants about, you ask? 
The Remnants are a small, sacred group with a massive destiny. They must save the world, rescuing what remains of humanity from the clutches of darkness and restoring faith in the Maker. Each Remnant has been uniquely gifted by the Maker, and provided with the protection of a knight, for such a time. Andriana is one of the chosen, and she has grown up training for her future alongside her knight, Ronan. But when the time comes for Andriana, Ronan, and the other Remnants to answer the Maker's call... Nothing could have fully prepared them for the dangers ahead. Can they overcome the darkness and bring light back to the people of their lands? Or will the Remnants be extinguished before they can kindle a blaze? 

There is far more to the story, of course, but I promised to avoid spoilers. Rather than sharing specific details, let's discuss a few elements of the book. 

There are some fantastic characters in this series. Andriana, the main protagonist, is strong but also deeply emotional. She exasperated me at times, but I also related a great deal to her. Ronan, her knight and oldest friend, is one of my favorites, with his blend of confidence and sensitivity. I was especially happy that he received his own POV in the second book, Season of Fire. The other Remnants, who serve as secondary characters, are diversely endearing. Bellona can be brusque but is also loyal and intelligent. Vidar, who for all his wit and teasing, is steady and kindhearted. Niero is brilliant yet mysterious; Killian is the skeptic but has a soft side, too, and Tressa manages to be mighty despite her gentle shyness. I also love the different relationship dynamics among the Remnants. There is romance budding between some; others experience friction; but they all share a deep bond of loyalty and kinship. Time and again, they risk their lives for one another. They all feel like real people, with struggles and desires. When it comes to protecting each other, though, they rise above all that. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, if I had to fight to save the world, I would want this group alongside me. 

The modern world is gone, and the divides between rich and poor are gaping. Scarcity abounds, yet a select handful of individuals have access to the inventions of a world long past. I think Lisa did a great job with the setting of Remnants. I appreciated that it was rawer and more simplistic than the high-tech, automated places where dystopians are usually set. It felt realistic, and I especially liked how the various areas contrast each other. On the Remnants' quest, we journey through deserts, a magnificent forest, and cities both corrupt and beautiful. While I wouldn't want to live in this world, it was quite a visit.

Plot / Pacing: 
Much of the story is a quest. Perhaps it's just me, but I sometimes have trouble tracking events during journeys. Overall, though, I didn't have any problems with the plot of Remnants. It's been tying together nicely, and I'm looking forward to seeing it come full circle in the final installment. 
As with any series, there are some lulls. However, in both Season of Wonder and Season of Fire, I felt there was more action than relaxing. Lisa writes some killer battle scenes, and in several, you can feel the characters' adrenaline pulsing through the pages. There are chase scenes, kidnappings, raids, escapes... Sometimes all within a few chapters! Remnants made me want to begin training immediately, should I ever need to fight off the armies of an unjust empire. 

Final Thoughts: 
Join the Remnants cause! I genuinely enjoyed these stories, and I was pleasantly surprised to find them inspiring me in my everyday life. Not to take down tyrannical governments (okay, maybe, but that's not the point.) These books present a solid allegory for spiritual matters, but it isn't done in a way that's stifling or unnatural. The supernatural aspect of the story weaves in seamlessly. Unlike some novels by Christian authors, Remnants doesn't feel preachy. It's simply encouraging, without taking anything from the excitement levels. It was also one of those books that prompted me to step into the characters' shoes, to learn as I walked alongside them. So read the first two novels, Season of Wonder and Season of Fire, then join me in suffering waiting for the final installment, Season of Glory. It's going to be an unforgettable journey! As the Remnants would say, Welcome to the call, sister!

1 comment:

  1. yes yes yes yeys yessssssssssss

    :DDDD I love this (thank you for no spoilers but also being thorough). I need to read Season of Fire but I haven't had time and I don't want to keep going back and forth back and forth a little at a time. I want to enjoy it fully (aka I want to read it in a few hours/days and just sit there for a while and cry about how I don't have the third book, right?)