Review: Glass Sword (#2, Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Glass Sword (#2, Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

My Thoughts

An intense, volatile sequel packed with
more heart-pounding, jaw-dropping moments.

3halfstars

Synopsis

Feb-09The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

My Review

Reading a book you’ve been dying to read for close to a year is always a nerve-racking thing. It’s even more nerve-racking when it’s a sequel, because there’s that dreaded curse… that a sequel can never live up to what the first book delivered. Glass Sword was definitely at the top of my most anticipated in 2016 and although it delivers intensity and anarchy—in spades—it had a decidedly different feel than Red Queen, which was one of my favorite books last year.

Aveyard, whose debut took the book world by storm, is an expert storyteller, weaving suspense, intrigue and romance all while erecting a cutthroat world where the color of your blood dictated your destiny. We all sped through page after page of Red Queen, devouring the story as our hearts pounded mercilessly until the shocking end. Glass Sword picks up where we left off, as Cal and Mare attempt to escape the clutches of a newly crowned king, in addition to processing the deep cut of betrayal and forget the spill of King Tiberius’ silver blood.

“Yesterday he was a prince; today he is a king. I thought he was my friend, my betrothed, now I know better.”

The Mare Barrow of the Stilts is gone. The lost Princess of Norta, Mareena Titanos was left behind. A new Mare Barrow emerges… a girl determined on saving others like her, a powerful wielder of lightning, the face of a revolution… a weapon intent on finding its silver mark. And wherever they go, King Maven relentlessly hunts her.

“Run, murderer! Run, lightning girl! Run fast and far!… There is nowhere I won’t find you!”

There is a duality to the story’s core. The first, is the struggle between the Scarlet Guard and the Throne. Julian gave Mare a list, one Maven knows as well, and they must find these others like her—Newbloods—before they are killed.

“Red and silver—and stronger than both.”

Each Newblood has a never-before-seen power, critical to the rebel army’s fight. This part of the story reminded me of X-men and how they amassed abilities that would help determine the fate of their revolution. But with each Newblood search and acquisition, more blood, more bodies, more sacrifices lay in wake. Aveyard unflinchingly approaches the cruelty of Maven’s minions, just as we also see her boldly tackle Mare’s character arc.

As the plot unfurls, we see Mare’s conviction morph into something darker, something unyielding, something familiar. She is becoming the very thing she seeks to annihilate. It’s a chilling and jarring perspective to see crystallize. This is the second focus of the novel—seeing Mare become someone her friends are powerless to stop her from becoming. Yet Mare still struggles with all sides of herself, with her emotions. She continues to feel the sting of Maven’s betrayal, feels alone despite being surrounded by those in the cause. She gravitates towards Cal once more, who is struggling to deal with the loss of his father, his kingdom, his life. But even Cal’s voice of reason goes so far as more blood stains Mare’s hands.

“I am a weapon made of flesh, a sword covered in skin. I was born to kill a king, to end a reign of terror before it can truly begin.”

I loved the intensity of the plot. Loved the new characters we met. Loved that we were able to see more of the actual world Aveyard created. Yet despite the intensity, the story’s pace lagged. Also, as each character dealt with their own issues and Mare evolved, I felt the loss of connection between characters, the softness and vulnerability we saw in Red Queen. There were moments of it, but I would have loved to see more. That being said, I understand that this is the second book in a four-book series, so I expect we’ll experience the full trajectory of Mare’s character arc as she accepts the wisdom of others and finds her humanity. After all, she’s been through so much already.

It’s honestly a tough book to process, but as the story reached its final stretch, Victoria Aveyard once again ends it with a jaw-dropping conclusion that desperately has me waiting to see what happens next.

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