Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Release Date: February 9, 2016
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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.