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.”

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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.

WWW Wednesdays #83 – March 23rd

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 needed something light and entertaining after a few disappointing reads and I decided to give in to my guilty pleasure. I loved watching the first seasons of True Blood a few years ago, and I finally found the time to pick up the first book in the series the show was based on: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. So far it’s definitely working; I’m flying through this book! I’ve also started The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell yesterday evening, but it’s too early to tell what to feel about this book about books.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* It took me literally ages to finish Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, and that wasn’t a good thing at all. My Red Queen reread left me liking the first book slightly less (mostly because Mare), but I still really enjoyed it. The sequel was a different matter. Glass Sword is pretty slow, Mare is really annoying and the whole plot 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. More complaints in my full review…
* The other book I managed to finish is Disclaimer by Renée Knight. Unfortunately yet another title I didn’t enjoy… March has been pretty unlucky so far! I couldn’t connect to the characters and the plot is a bit of a chaos and not exactly believable.
* The last is actually a DNF (probably my first DNF ever!): The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney. It was really hard to make the final decision to just stop reading this book and I still feel a bit guilty, but the thought of having to waste more time reading this story was even worse. DNF at 42%; bye bye annoying characters, unnatural and forced prose, character development and unbelievable plot!

  • 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’m in the mood to read fantasy again… If not, I might read Random by Tom Leveen or Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. My new TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl… I’ve also been wanting to start a new fantasy series; feel free to vote on my poll to help me decide which one to start next. 🙂

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.

finalthoughtsreview

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).

WWW Wednesdays #81 – March 9th

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’m normally not a romance fan, but ever since reading and loving November 9 I have been wanting to pick up another Colleen Hoover book. It was between Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, but the first one won… I’m still not that far into the story yet, but hopefully I’ll find time to continue soon. I’m also still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; I really like it so far, but I haven’t been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I don’t want to rush it. Fingers crossed I’ll feel like reading historical fiction again soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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A lot of finished reads this week, but most of these are short and easy reads…
* The first novella I finished was Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, a Star Wars-themed story she wrote for World Book Day and very entertaining!
* I then read both Red Queen novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard. I can’t say I was impressed… The second was slightly better than the first, but I don’t think they are actually worth reading.
* I then read One by Sarah Crossan, which turned out to be a superfast and interesting read. The prose reads almost like poetry and the story itself is intriguing.
* I decided to continue with Eve by Iris Johansen afterwards because I didn’t want to bring my kindle with me during my trip… I kind of wish I brought another book instead because it was almost a torture to have to read this story. I will have to work on my DNF skills…
* The last book I finished was a lot better: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I already knew I liked her writing style after reading Why Not Me? and this one is without doubt entertaining as well (although a bit slow at points).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to finish my Red Queen series read and both reread Red Queen and read Glass Sword… Although I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. I have also been wanting to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch since I really enjoyed the first book; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #80 – March 2nd

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’m still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and so far I’m really enjoying it. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that my reading slump is making it hard to concentrate for a long time and I have been reading ‘easy’ reads instead… So that’s why I decided to start reading Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell as well. It’s a short read so I will probably finish it today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I always enjoy a good historical fiction WWII story and this one has to be one of my all time favorites. Such a beautifully written story!
* I then read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which ended up being a very interesting read with a lot of funny moments. Warning: make sure to read it when nobody is around because you will probably laugh out loud!
* I also finally picked up my first Spanish read in ages: Bestiario by Julio Cortázar. I really liked the combination of ordinary things with magical realism elements… But I have to be honest and say that some stories were a lot better than others.
* The last book I finished is The Secrets Of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, a book I picked up on a whim and turned out to be a really quick read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen depending of which genre I’m in the mood for… Although I will probably start my Red Queen series marathon by reading the first of two novellas Queen Song. In case I don’t want fantasy, I have Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover lined up as well; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.