Book Rating: ★★★★ ☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)
A year has passed since Kanna sealed her second irregular inside of her. Now a shell of her former self, Kanna is struggling to maintain her friendships and focus on the tasks at hand. But, when a competition for her hand in marriage suddenly sends her life into a spiral, Kanna is forced to keep her head high, while also searching for the last two irregulars… as well as the origins to her own past.
In the conclusion to the Dark Irregular Trilogy, we finally are given a chance to see Kanna embrace her destiny. She parades this resilience with pride and courage, and despite every trial and tribulation, she comes out stronger for it. Kanna, as the cornerstone of the trilogy, is an admirable character, each of her decisions made on her own, after weighing all options. She is never the one being rescued; no, she is the one doing the rescuing, even if people don’t want it to be the case.
The overall conclusion of this trilogy is satisfying; it gives Kanna, Kenneth, and their friends the closure they need, with an ending that will leave fans smiling. In reality, the Dark Irregularity trilogy is a critique on light versus dark. Not everything light is good, and not everything dubbed “evil” is bad. Sometimes, there’s this gray area…just like Kanna’s heart.
As I’ve said with Kaitlyn Legaspi’s writing before, there is room for improvement. There is so much potential worldbuilding in the Dark Irregular Trilogy, that there could be spinoffs just about some of the side characters! Some of the side characters fell flat, but those with personality shone through like diamonds (such as Bel, Ronan, Neel, and Cedric). I really wish we could have spent more time with them, expanding on the universe of the irregulars and the magic system.
What ultimately brings this story to 3.75 stars for me is the romance in this story. Spoiler warning ahead.
While I love both Kanna and Kenneth, starting with Dark Irregular, I saw them more as brother and sister, mentor and mentee, rather than “lovers”. While Legaspi does spare us the details of a relationship between a minor and an adult at this point, where ultimately the two of them don’t get together until many years pass, it couldn’t help but feel a little off to me. Perhaps this was due to my own preconceived notion on their relationship, which hindered my enjoyment of their slow-burn romance.
Overall though, while there were some things I wanted to learn more about, Gray Heart provided a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy. I’ve already seen how Legaspi has improved since this trilogy in her Cardholders Series! I cannot wait to see what she introduces us to next!
What’s it about?
After a year of having two irregulars sealed inside of her, Kanna has shown no sign of ever regaining her lost voice or taken emotions. As a result, life has become more monotonous and repetitive than it was after the first transfer, and Kenneth and her close friends are starting to give up on the idea of her former self ever returning.
Thankfully, a new sport known as Soul Slicing has risen to newfound popularity and has given her a single reason to feel a semblance of a rush of excitement. Unfortunately, it is also the bringer of some unexpected news the queen declares on Kanna’s seventeenth birthday: her marriage to one of five champions of Sylenia as a condition of the merging of the two sides of the kingdom.
As the competition to gain the princess’s favor ensues, an even greater problem arises as she learns more about her origins, her powers, and the devastating fate that she will do her absolute best to change.