Tag Archives: Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

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If you haven’t read Red Queen yet, be warned… This review will contain spoilers for the first book. So turn away if you haven’t. (By the way. Why haven’t you read it yet? It is a lot of fun. Go read it and come back.)

SPOILER ALERT for RED QUEEN

Maven still searches for Mare. Her power to control lightning and electricity makes her an awesome weapon. The royal court fears and covets her power, and has labeled her traitor and murderer. But Mare has discovered that she is not alone; Reds with supernatural powers, stronger than those of the Silvers, live in secret terror as commoners, afraid of being discovered and turned over to the ruling Silvers.

The race to find the newbloods is on. The Red Guard wants them in the rebel’s forces, before newly crowned King Maven finds and kills them all. The search will take Mare and Cal and their group of rebels across the land, trying to stay one step ahead of Maven and the Silver Army.

But in the search, Mare herself is forced to make decisions she would never have thought possible.  She must answer the question: what is a life worth?

I am not as impressed with Mare this time around. Actually, I don’t like her at all. Seriously, how long can the pity party continue?  Yes, Maven betrayed her. He betrayed EVERYONE. Get over it, move on. She finds herself alone, at the head of a revolution, but her loneliness is self-imposed. She pushes everyone away, even those who are loyal and stand with her. Is it arrogance? Ignorance? Maybe it is fear, but she does not change. She does not learn or develop. The entire book is filled with her internal monologues, and it gets old, quickly.

Also, the revolution is about equality. Yet Mare treats Kilorn, loyal, devoted Kilorn, like crap. Why? Because he has no special powers.

Cal, on the other hand, the lost and exiled crown prince, still retains remnants of what made him the king-in-waiting.  He brings his military expertise and knowledge of the lands to the fight, and he grows stronger. He is the more interesting of the characters as he struggles to figure out who he is without his crown. But his strength is lost next to Mare’s inner turmoil and self-hatred and arrogance.

And Maven is a wonderful villain. He is evil, strong, cold, and without conscience. He was woven throughout the entire story; even when he was not present in the scene, he overshadowed everyone’s thoughts and made it impossible for them to rest. I like him, even as I loathe him.

The book needs a map. All the cities sound similar, and I can not picture their locations in relation to each other. (And I like fantasy novels to have maps.)

The plot never really moves along, and the ending? Well, it definitely sets up the third book, but it seemed rushed and anti-climactic.

All in all, I did not enjoy Glass Sword as much as I did Red Queen. It has the same elements, but I hoped for more. It will not keep me from reading the next instalment, but I do think Aveyard has a great idea that she needs to focus more sharply. This book reads like a middle chapter.

Glass Sword was published February 9th, 2016 by HarperTeen.

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Red Queen

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In a world divided by colour of blood, 17 year old Mare Barrow is a professional pickpocket, and a  Red. She fears her 18th birthday and her conscription into the century old war, fears for her three brothers’ lives who went to battle before her, and fears for parents. Their one hope for a fairly safe life is their youngest daughter, Gisa, a talented embroiderer.

The Reds are impoverished slaves to the Silvers, who rule over them with their supernatural powers. Whether it be power over the earth, over metal, over water, or even incredible strength, the Silver live in unbelievable luxury, while the Reds starve.

After a chance meeting with a Silver, Mare is hired to work in the Palace, saving herself from conscription, but putting herself at the Silvers’ mercy. Or lack thereof.  Until Mare discovers, against all odds and in spite of her Red blood, that she possess abilities greater than those of the Silvers. Her mere presence could change the balance of power.

Let’s get this out of the way. You know I can’t help it. WHAT A FANTASTIC COVER!

Ok.  Moving on. The main characters – Mare, Cal, and Maven – were inconsistent. But that does not take away from their story. In fact, I think it was why I warmed to Mare, specifically. She has lived a life of poverty and fear, does not trust easily, and without preparation, is offered everything. But everything can also be taken away on a whim. She is constantly off balance, has no idea whom to turn to or trust, and that includes her own instincts. Her biggest fault is her inability to commit, either to a friendship or an ideal. She believes she does, but waffles back and forth with her decisions, unable to totally accept the consequences.

Princes Cal and Maven are alternately brothers and foes. They love and mistrust each other at the same time, are each others’ best allies and yet, underneath it all, rivals. And a not-really-love-triangle with brothers?  I’m pretty sure that’s an off-limits competition. Oh, and gross.

The other characters were a bit hit and miss. Farley, Kilorn, Gisa, Evangeline, Lucas and Julian, were, I felt, underdeveloped and a bit forgettable. Hopefully they will be more fully addressed in the coming sequel.

I did not find the plot to be anything earth shatteringly new, but it is good.  Fast paced, action packed, electric (no pun intended); the scenes fly by, leaving small clues and cliffhangers throughout.

The world building is underdone, but, like the secondary characters, hopefully will be fleshed out in Glass Sword. The radiated area has been done (hello, District 13), and it feels  unnecessary to the story. The abandoned subway tunnels would have been sufficient headquarters for the Red Guard. Mare’s home village of Stilts, the Silvers’ city Summerton, the Hall of the Sun, Archeon, Gray Town – all have the potential to be incredible backdrops, but are never quite thoroughly drawn.

I will smugly say I figured out the bad guy pretty quickly. In the interest of honesty, however, that was more luck and wishful thinking than actually knowing definitively. Victoria Aveyard does a good job of keeping you on your toes, and changing your mind with each page turned.

For all my nitpicking, Red Queen is a total page turner, a lot of fun to read, and I really had trouble putting it down! It is appropriate for any age; although there is some violence and gore, it is not graphic.

Red Queen was published February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen.