BOOK REVIEW: Glass Sword – by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Glass Sword
(Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: February 9th 2016
Finished reading: March 21st 2016
Pages: 444
Rating 2,5qqq

“No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone. They become that way, through choice and circumstance.”

myrambles1review

I don’t remember if it was because I set my expectations low or if the hype wasn’t too big then, but I really enjoyed Red Queen the first time I read it last year. Before starting the sequel earlier this month, I decided to do a reread because the details were a bit fuzzy. While I still enjoyed it second time around, I did have more problems with it. The thing that bothered me most is probably Mare; her character can become really annoying after a while, especially with the whole love triangle (square?) situation going on. And unfortunately things got worse in Glass Sword. Not only becomes Mare more whiny and self-centered than ever, she also doesn’t stop craving for the guy that betrayed her in the first place. (Is that a spoiler? I promise I won’t be giving names…) On top of this, the pace of the second book is a lot slower than the first and the plot is really repetitive. The sequel is basically a repeat sequence of the following: Mare blindly trusts someone –> person betrays Mare –> Mare is in deep trouble –> somehow she manages to not get killed. Sure, the new special powers spice things up a bit, but that doesn’t take away that Glass Sword is basically one big disappointment. And I’m not even talking about the ending! I know cliffhangers are good for future sales of the third book, but in this case it only made me want to read it less.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Mare Barrow has been born Red, but somehow she has a Silver ability. She no longer belongs to the common folk, but she isn’t considered Silver either. She is something new, and that fact is frightening both Reds and Silvers alike. Her power to control lightning is a weapon the royal court wants to control, but Mare turns out to be not so easy to control. She secretly tries to find a way with the Scarlet Guard to help end the suffering of the Reds, and Mare finds out to her surprise that she isn’t the only one with special powers. They are called newbloods, and Mare is determined to find them before the enemy does and kills them all…

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I really want to like this series and the first book was quite promising, but things go downwards from there. The general idea behind Red Queen is quite interesting even though it might not be completely original, but Mare and the love triangle (or square since technically it is Mare-Cal-Maven-Kilorn) ruin this story for me. In short, Glass Sword is a mediocre sequel to a story I’m now not sure I want to continue reading… Especially since the third book doesn’t even have a name or publish date yet.

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WWW Wednesdays #82 – March 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally picked up my last TBR jar pick The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney a few days ago, but I am not exactly enjoying it so far. The story is pretty bad and I don’t like the prose or the main character for that matter. The way the story is told feels really unnatural and forced… So I decided to put it on hold and continue my Red Queen marathon first. I finished the first book last night, so I’m about to dive into Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard as soon as I can find some free time.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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I ‘only’ finished three titles since last week week, with one of them being a quick reread… Why? We were invited to a wedding party last weekend! 😀 A lot of fun, but it did take away a lot of my reading time.
* The first title I finished was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It turned out to be a really interesting read and I loved the Amsterdam setting and its many descriptions! Not perfect, but without doubt recommendable.
* I then finished Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover; a book a really wanted to love, but unfortunately I didn’t. I really didn’t like the main characters or their actions and some of the prose really annoyed me… That doesn’t take away that I still think Colleen Hoover is a genius though.
* The last book is a reread I’m not going to review again, because I already wrote one last year: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Just as enjoyable the second time around and I’m glad I did the reread, because I had forgotten a lot of details that will help me enjoy the sequel a lot better.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I finish Glass Sword… I’m trying to read/finish as many series as possible this year, and since the third book is recently coming out in September I’m counting this one as well. I might read Random by Tom Leveen or The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for though…  And I have a new TBR jar pick: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I read the first book of the series last year and really enjoyed it, but somehow I never continued the series until now. I guess my renewed TBR jar thought it was about time. 😉

BOOK REVIEW: Steel Scars – by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Steel Scars
(Red Queen #0.2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: January 5th 2016
Finished reading: March 2nd 2016
Pages: 100
Rating 2,5qqq

“Information is more dangerous than any weapon we possess. We learned that early, after decades of failed uprisings, all laid low by one captured Red in the hands of a Silver whisper.”

myrambles1review

After not enjoying the first novella, I wasn’t sure whether to pick up Steel Scars or not. I decided to give it a go anyway since I already had a copy ready… This second novella turned out to be slightly better than Queen Song, but not by much. There is a lot more action involved in this story, but it still reads a bit slow. The fact that Farley is actually quite a boring character and didn’t manage to convince me didn’t really help either… And all those decoded messages really slowed down the pace as well. Imagine having to read a similar message to the one below over and over again…

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 If it would have been only a couple of times, the structure probably wouldn’t have bothered me, but after seeing one too many it became really annoying. Combine this with a slow pace and bland characters (except for Shade and Mare Barrow), and it becomes clear I wouldn’t really recommend reading this novella either.

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Farley has been raised to be strong and the fact that she is a girl doesn’t hold her back in participating in all kinds of dangerous missions to help the rebellion. People who underestimate her will soon discover her real strength… But still, her new mission to help start the rebellion in Norta is more difficult that she had initially thought. Farley will have to enter the city to find new recruits and help for the rebellion, including black market traders, smugglers and other people that don’t have anything left to lose. Soon she will find someone who will turn out to be the key to the success of their rebellion… Or at least that is what they hope for.

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Like I said before, Steel Scars was slightly better than Queen Song, but that doesn’t take away that both novellas are not nearly as good as the actual series. Slow-paced with not that interesting characters and in the case of Steel Scars prose that becomes annoying; if you ask me, I would suggest definitely skipping the novellas and start reading Red Queen straight away. You won’t be missing anything that important…

BOOK REVIEW: Queen Song – by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Queen Song
(Red Queen #0.1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: September 1st 2015
Finished reading: March 2nd 2016
Pages: 100
Rating 2qqq

“Fire can destroy, fire can kill, but it can also create. Forest burned in the summer will be green by spring, better and stronger than before. Cal’s flame will build and bring roots from the ashes of war.”

myrambles1review

Now the sequel Glass Sword finally has been published last month, I decided to do a Red Queen reading marathon this month and read both the novellas and the first two books together. I’ve heard before the novellas weren’t as good as the actual series, and now I’ve read Queen Song I can completely agree with that. To be honest, I felt that this first novella didn’t really add anything new to the main series and it was actually kind of boring. The story is mostly about king Tiberias’ first wife Coriane. The novella tells us about her life both before and after she became the Queen and how she came to an end… Coriane is Prince Cal’s mother, but other than that doesn’t really play a big role in the main story and I don’t think it’s actually worth reading the novella either. Skipping this novella won’t make you miss essential information about the series, so I would recommend to just start reading the first book straight away.

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Long before Coriane became the Queen, she had a whole different life. She’s a Silver, but doesn’t have any ‘strong’ powers and her family isn’t that important. Both her brother and Coriane want to escape the suffocating environment they call home, but her family has different plans… Somehow, the crown prince shows interest in her and slowly starts courting her. This is not how the powerful families wanted things to go; normally the new Queen is chosen during the Queen Trials. Things are going to be complicated if King Tiberias and Coriane want to go through with this wedding… Because some girls will never give up trying to win the crown for themselves.

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It looks like it’s going to be a pattern that I don’t like the novellas as much as the main series. I’ve had it happening a number of times before and Queen Song isn’t an exception… It’s actually quite a slow read and for me it doesn’t add anything important to what I already learned by reading the first book last year. In short, I would recommend to just skip the novella and go straight to the first book (unless you are intrigued by Coriane as a character).

BOOK REVIEW: Red Queen – by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Red Queen
(Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: February 10th 2015
Finished reading: April 11th 2015
Pages: 383
Rating 4,5

“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.”

myrambles1review

There has been a huge hype around Red Queen ever since it was published, and to be honest I wasn’t sure whether I should read it or not. Hyped books in general let me down, but I’m glad this novel by Victoria Aveyard turned out to an exception to that rule. The general plot of Red Queen might not be the most original one when you compare it to other YA fantasy novels, and the existence of yet another love triangle made me frown, but the story itself is still awesome enough to deserve the 4.5 stars I decided to give it. I love the fierceness of the main character Mare. Even if the fact that various boys seem to fight over her made me cringe, her personality and special power seriously kick ass. The world building is interestingly done and I loved the many details and descriptions Victoria Aveyard incorporated into her story. Red Queen is an interesting read with a fast pace, supernatural powers, a kick ass heroine and a lot of action. Definitely recommended for YA fantasy fans!

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It’s the blood that sets them apart – the Reds and the Silvers. The Reds are living in the shadow of the Silvers, forced to obey and work for them. The Silvers are different; with their supernatural powers they form the elite of the society and treat Reds as their servants and slaves. Mare Barrow is a Red girl without an interesting future, or so she thinks. When one night she meets a mysterious guy, she finds herself shipped off to the Silver palace the next day. The stranger saved her from her terrible fate by getting her a job as a servant at the palace, and suddenly she is surrounded by those who she hates most… Soon after that, something spectacular happens that will change both her life and those of the Silvers forever. Mare Barrow then becomes Lady Mareena Titanos as the Silvers try to disguise who she really is and maintain their control over the Reds… But will it be enough to keep the Red population calm and the Scarlet Guard rebellion under control?

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This novel definitely lived up to my expections. The dystopian world Victoria Aveyard created an interesting setting for this story, and I loved the prose she used in the Red Queen. I have highlighted so many sentences with my kindle! While not all characters were exactly to my liking, they fit in perfectly in the story. So many plot twists and betrayals! The Queen reminded me of Cersei Lannister (Game Of Thrones), especially how she treated the King and her son… And Arya could be a good Mare. (Does it show I’ve recently watched the first episode of the fifth season?!)  To go back to Red Queen, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel and I will be waiting anciously for the sequel to be published next year. I’m sure the wait for the sequel will drive me crazy at some point!

WWW Wednesdays #35 – April 15th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

thestorytellerI’ve finally picked up my copy of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult yesterday. This novel was first chosen with the help of my TBR jar a while back, but at the time I wasn’t in the mood for a historical fiction read… I guess right now I am. 😉 I’m not too far into the story yet, but so far it’s definitely good. I will have to check out more of her work in the future if The Storyteller stays this good!

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

redqueenandthentherewerenoneI managed to finish And Then There Were None yesterday, and I must say I instantly became an Agatha Christie fan. I don’t know how I’ve managed to not read her work for so long, but I will definitely be starting to read more of her novels in the future. I also finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard a few days ago. I was afraid this would be yet another overhyped book, but I ended up loving the story. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long for the sequel! (Although the estimated publish date is set for 2016 and there isn’t even a title yet; sigh…)

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

evensongSince I will have only three months to complete my Ready For Spring Bingo chart, I decided to pay more attention to the empty squares when deciding my next reads. I picked Evensong by Krista Walsh for the Plants On Cover square… It’s an Amazon kindle freebie I found thanks to the BookBub page. Access at your own risk; this page is dangerous! 😉 Credit goes to Ashley @ Dear World… for first introducing me to that page… Make sure to check out her blog. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays #34 – April 8th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

ataleoftwocities???????????I’ve put A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens temporarily on hold because I wasn’t in the mood to read classics and I didn’t want to end up hating the novel because of that. I’m currently reading Funereal by Giacomo Lee, an ARC provided by the publisher that I’m really enjoying so far.  Fingers crossed it stays that way!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

ruinandrisingwewereliarsI finished Ruin And Rising yesterday, and with that I have completed yet another trilogy! I love Leigh Bardugo‘s writing and I’m definitely looking forward to read more about Ketterdam in Six Of Crows. It will be a long wait until september… I’ve also read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart during the long weekend, although I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I would have hoped. I guess it’s another case of a seriously overhyped novel… Full reviews of both titles are probably up before the weekend.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thestorytellerredqueenMy TBR cup got me The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult last week, but I haven’t been in the mood so far for a historical fiction WWII novel. It sounds like a great read so I will probably read it next though! If not, I will most likely end up reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.