Genre: Fantasy (Dystopia) Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Yes - book 2
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for RED QUEEN*
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?
The 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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The second book picks up exactly where RED QUEEN left off, right in the midst of the action. The consequences of the first book play out chillingly. As Maven was portrayed positively, until the reveal, GLASS SWORD has to quickly cement his villain-ness, and the true colours Aveyard reveals are ones of an unsettling maniac. He’s very unlikable, particularly thanks to his obsession with Mare.
We get a closer look at the Scarlet Guard, a hint of its extent and structure. I liked seeing more of the rebels, and how organised it was. Unlike many rebellions, the military nature means I actually thought it had a chance of success if this was reality and not fiction. They have a hierarchy, experienced commanders, resources and allies. They’re successes feel real, particularly considering the over-stacked advantage of the Silvers, rather than serving the plot.
This is the first book Averyard wrote under contract, I believe. It certainly feels like it was written in a much shorter time – the reason many second installments in debut series don’t quite live up to the first.
GLASS SWORD is slower than RED QUEEN, the middle taking a bit of a push to get through until the action packed finale. There’s a bunch of dithering over boys – not romantic such as actions irritating friends and no one talking properly. The writing isn’t as tight and the plot not as intriguing. It’s still good, but not as good.
This next bit is going to be vague to avoid spoilers. At the end, there are two massive events that shake the story. One is told in full detail and then there’s a line about Mare not remembering what happens next. In the next chapter, we get told in ONE LINE what that massive thing was. It took me a while to work out what had actually happened. It felt like this event was an absent thought, rather than something fully planned and thought through.
This is a tiny, tiny, thing but there’s a chapter, when Monfort is introduced, which seemed to contradict the information we gain in later books. Maybe I’m remembering KING’S CAGE and WAR STORM wrong, but it’s something I certainly want to check. I spent the whole chapter thinking but, wait, they do the complete opposite of this in another book. This could be my own fault, but it jerked me out of the story entirely.
Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen (this series):