Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Dystopian
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Kindle Edition: 448 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase
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 of her own heart.
“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”
Red Queen was not the best book I have read, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. In spite of it being predictable and a bit formulaic, it was still a fun filled, fast paced fantasy. And if you haven’t noticed, I am sucker for all things fantasy. So, I was really excited about Glass Sword. When I bought it, I was bouncing in my chair excited to see what would happen next in the Red’s struggle against Silver tyranny.
Glass Sword did not live up to my expectations. I wanted more of Red Queen, and got something completely different. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the sequel had been new and improved. Instead, it felt like the writing and development took several steps back.
For starters, the first half of the book was really slow. A lot of things happened, but none of them felt important. They were running from the Silvers trying to salvage The Guard and save the Newbloods, but I found myself not caring. Scenes that should have had me on the edge of my seat fell flat. It picks up a little in the second half, but not enough. The ending would have needed to be Half Blood Prince levels of good in order to make up for the crawl that was the first 250 pages.
In Red Queen we got to know Mareena. In Glass Sword we got to know Mare. I prefer Mareena. The Mare we get in Glass Sword is unlikeable. Maybe this was intentional on the author’s part, but it still drove me insane. She’s winy and self-obsessed. I understand that the book is in first person, so we are getting Mare’s inner dialogue and her views about the world around her. It’s just not a pretty or enjoyable view and the other characters suffer for it.
Glass Sword trades the well-developed and interesting supporting cast of Red Queen for a crowd of stick figures with powers. I know, that’s harsh. But, I couldn’t help but feel that way. Mare went around collecting people for her little army and all you ever really learned about them was what they were capable of contributing to the cause. Basically, you learned their powers and that was it. I wanted to love new additions like Cameron and Nanny, but the reader was never given enough time with them or information about them to develop any kind of emotional connection. There were times where I know that I was supposed to be afraid that one or all of these characters might die. Sadly, I wasn’t. Because they didn’t really feel like people. Remember, never get attached to a Redshirt.
I wouldn’t include Cal in that group. Though, I do think he could have used a little more development, we did see him grow throughout the book. He seems poised to act as Mare’s conscience moving forward. Which, is preferable to their awkward “romance”. I knew it was coming. I just thought it would be more interesting. Instead, it felt tossed in to fill the required YA romance quota. I would have rather read a book with no romance at all since it brought very little to the narrative.
Speaking of narrative, where were the bad guys? Our band of revolutionaries are haunted by Maven and Elara, but you never see them for more than a couple of minutes at a time. You glimpse the destruction that comes in the wake of Maven, but that doesn’t have the same effect as interacting with the character. Especially since he was one of the more interesting and better developed characters in the first book. Villains should be absolutely terrifying, especially Elara, who is the mastermind behind this entire debacle. Unfortunately, they are both strangely absent which really lowers the scare factor.
In the end I couldn’t find much of anything that I enjoyed about this book. Honestly, it was very difficult to finish. I put it down at least five times in favor of better options. That said, if you like dystopian fantasy novels that are action packed with a powerful female main character, this one may be for you. Sadly, it didn’t do it for me.