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

23174274Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

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.


I feel like there are two majority groups for readers of this book: those who stick along with the series despite many misgivings (me), and the fans that suck up every exciting word that is written on the page. I can’t argue that Aveyard is a gifted writer; her conclusions are heavy in dramatics and ultimately gets your heart pounding hard, and she manages to make even the most cliche scenes seem original and intense. But when I take my eyes off from the way she engages the readers through her words, I find that the plot and characters – even the setting, to an extent – are so banal and lackluster that I can’t get into this series as much as others can.

I know many a reader would agree with my annoyance with Mare, the main character. While I do like headstrong characters, she can be so selfish. The actions that Aveyard gives her are only there to set up the plot. In one scene she’ll be using her powers, and in the other her party will be losing because she doesn’t use it (which I see as a cop out move). Once you move away from the embellishments of the writing, it’s really easy to notice just how hackneyed the actual plot is. In this book we even get introduced to the “blind prophet” archetypal character that we learn about in English class. He’s mysterious, blind, and can see into the future – quite reminiscent to, oh, several hundred other character in literature. The rebellion plot was quite laughable to me at this point, seeing as Aveyard meshes up many plots from other books to create the one in this one.

I don’t even want to talk about the romance (but I will still do so lol). The love triangle with Mare, Maven and Cal made me pretty exasperated in the first book. My total apathy with these characters continued on with this one. Now it’s Mare and Cal versus Maven in this book, with Maven very much in the background as he’s trying to capture Mare. We have cliche scenes of each pushing the other way and all this unresolved angst that had me rolling my eyes. The engaging intrigue in the first plot isn’t as visible to me in this book, with the plot more focused on the action going on. As a lover of action, of course I would enjoy the majority of this book. As a person who appreciates creativity and originality, I was sorely disappointed.

The world was infused with some weird technology used as weapons. They were an odd and spontaneous addition to the story. The science was added randomly and otherwise offered no addition to the plot. I for one didn’t really like it, as it just wasn’t integrated in the plot really well. I also didn’t realize how the world of this trilogy takes place in another version of Europe! Apparently I was one of the last persons to realize that it’s classified as a dystopian (I’ve been led to think that it’s a fantasy). I guess some people would like this ambiguity, but WOW after finding that out, my interest for this trilogy dimmed a lot. If this was a dystopian, why do we not get explanations of the world in the past, and how we got there? If it was an alternative world, where are the things that could somehow connect it to the time period in the real world? I know many other readers are baffled as well by the odd and off putting setting, which just adds to my qualms with this book.

My last point were certain phrases that Aveyard just LOVES to use. Mare is constantly going over the same phrases of “I don’t know” and “Anyone can betray anyone” and “I’m a liar” and a multiplicity of others. After the third time mention of “anyone can betray anyone,” I just shut the book for a moment. It wasn’t like it was written 4-6 times already in the first book! We get it even now in the second! I love it when the same phrases are shoved in my face!!

Even though the writing could be quite exciting and really gets the reader into the book, it can’t cover up the lackluster plot and bizarre setting. I’m never one to opt out on action, so I really enjoyed that aspect. However, I’m also a reader that deeply appreciates the unique stories that stem out of brains, and the only unique aspect in this book was the implementation of previously-seen works. The only thing that impressed me Glass Sword was the stellar ending that (while laughable, now that I think back on it), definitely set up for a thrilling conclusion. I’d recommend this for fans of action and readers that don’t get too involved with the plot. Readers of Red Queen should definitely stick on to this. But if you’re looking for a book that offers a new, fresh perspective of things, then skip this one.


22 thoughts on “Book Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

  1. Ahh, thanks for the review Aila! I’m always so mixed about starting this series, because you are so right about there being two kinds of readers! The main appeal for me is really the world, to be honest, it sounds so awesome! But yeah, Mare just sounds super annoying, and I DONT KNOW, IM SO CONFLICTED – especially with series’, I know I don’t like reading the first book, and never reading the rest because the rest are so bad you know?? AND I FEEL LIKE THAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I READ RED QUEEN AND GLASS SWORD.
    So yeah tl;dr – I’m so conflicted!!! 😦

    1. Ahh I think you should try it out if you’re so curious about it! 😀 It’s definitely worth it. If you end up falling in love with it, then AWESOME! If you don’t, then at least you’ll have a good rant about your problems with the book (like I did, hehe).
      SO GO FOR IT! What’s holding you back? 😉

  2. I didn’t like Red Queen and so I don’t plan to continue with this series. The concept and the plot just turn me off, since it wasn’t so original. It feels like Hunger Games and the Selection, but the powers… make it also feels like a Fantasy. And the romance… Oh God it was so bad! What is it, a square or something… And yeah Mare is really annoying. She’s stubborn and reckless. I did remember enjoying some parts of Red Queen, but I guess it wasn’t enough for me to continue. I hope your next read will be better!

    1. Thanks Tasya!

      I pretty much agree with everything you said above. 😛 The only reason why I read this was so I could keep in the know while everyone was fangirling, and I also received an ARC (lol). At least I know what people are talking about on Twitter now! But yeah, I wouldn’t expect you to continue this series too, hehe.

  3. I saw all the hype for this series,so I was curious about it and had planned on reading it once the series was complete.BUT. I totally trust your judgement and the issues you have with this book are issues that *I would have so.. (Diva alert!)I’m like 99.9% sure I’m not going to read it. OK, honestly, that’s not true. I’m *100% sure I won’t read it. You’ve pointed out too many things that bug me, so.yeah. I’ll pass. That said,I hope the third book is really great and you end up loving it!

    1. HAHA Sarah I don’t think that’ll happen :’D I’m only hanging on because 1) the books look so beautiful on my shelf and 2) I need to know what’s happening when other people are fangirlin about it. (LOL) But seriously, I’m glad I steered you away from this one! Now you can save more time for the books that are really worth reading. 😀

  4. I think you perfectly summed up how I felt about this book. If Victoria Aveyard certainly knows how to make us want more, and how to built up some kind of suspense and everything, I couldn’t go past the annoying Mare in that one. If I could bear her in the first book, it just went downhill with Glass Sword,… but that ending, though. I still don’t know if I’ll read the next book, haha! Great review! 🙂


      I think Aveyard really knows how to create a climactic and spectacular ending that keeps readers on their toes. The rest of this book was a giant blob for all I care. BUT THE ENDING? *CLUTCHES HEART* GAWD.

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t really enjoy this! I read Red Queen last year, and I found it to be pretty bland. It was a gripping story, but I thought the plot was completely unoriginal, and the characters were really bland. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me, so I don’t think now I could recall any of the events, or many character names!
    I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this one or not, but now I think I’ll pass. Because I didn’t love Red Queen, this doesn’t seem like the book for me. I just can’t be bothered to keep up with the series! A lot of people have said similar things to you, as well. Great review, as always! ♥

    Denise | The Bibliolater

    1. Thanks so much Denise! ❤

      And GIRL YOU KNOW WHERE IT'S AT. I totally don't fault you for not wanting to continue the series. I think the main thing that's making me continue is: CURIOSITY. 😀 At this point I just want to know how it ends, LOL. And so I can complain in other reviews too. At least the ending was memorable in this one!

  6. I agree with a lot of what you said here. I really loved Red Queen (it’s one of my all-time favorites) but I didn’t think Glass Sword was as good. I’m one of the few people that doesn’t dislike Mare in GS, but I definitely found her frustrating. And I definitely found the scenes between her and Cal making me roll my eyes, too. I like them as a couple, but I don’t know – their scenes were just frustrating to me. I felt like there was too much angst and not enough of everything else.

    As for wanting to learn more about the dystopian aspects of it, Aveyard has mentioned on Tumblr that the dystopian setting isn’t her focus and that it’s really just more of a background, while the main focus is on the fantasy elements. I can definitely see why people would want to learn more about what happened to get to the world as it is in the series though, especially since I’m a big fan of dystopians myself.

    1. I can roll with what Aveyard said about the setting! As a personal preference though, I’d like one where I know more exactly what and where the world is, and a more extensive background of it, rather than just using it as a backdrop to the story.

      Gosh, I’m so sorry this one wasn’t for you! Here’s hoping the conclusion manages to surprise us both – in a good way 😀

      1. I’m okay with not knowing what happened, but I do think it would be really interesting. I’m hopeful that the next book will be more enjoyable and have me as interested/excited as RQ did 🙂

  7. THIS. I completely agree 200% Aila. It’s almost like Mare is a completely different person here – she’s so selfish and I couldn’t believe how much she looked down on the people who were trying to help her. And the way she kept putting herself on a pedestal and saying she was “too special to die.” 😑 Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    1. Thanks so much Zoe! ❤
      AND OMG RIGHT? I just couldn't stand the way Mare acted. I feel like everything done was for the sake of moving the plot forward, with no regards the characterizations other than that added angst with the ridiculous romance.

  8. Nooooo we STILL don’t get explanations for the world? That is just so frustrating! I was one of the ones that wasn’t a fan of the first book either with Mare’s annoying decisions and special snowflakeness. IT sounds like there’s lots of cliche phrases used here as well. A shame about this, I haven’t read any positive reviews for this sequel at all.

    1. Me neither! Other than the ending being quite climactic AND dramatic, the rest of the book just feels like a hazy blur. The only reason why I’m staying with this series is because 1) it looks good on my shelf (great reasoning, I know) and 2) I’M JUST CURIOUS ON HOW IT WILL TURN OUT.

  9. This is a harsh review but one I think is very important to read. I have had this book since it’s release but I am sorta afraid to start it because of all of the negative reviews. I think I’ll read it eventually, but I am going in with very low expectations.

    I think you really put into words how I feel about Victoria’s writing

    Great review!

    1. Thanks so much Cody!

      LOL “This is a harsh review” mannn you should see the SCATHING ones that I’ve posted. 😛 I really hope you get to enjoy a bit of the book when you go in with low expectations! I mean, that ending will still blast you away, I hope.

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