Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian
Extent: 208 pages
Rating: Queen Song: 3.75/5
Steel Scars: 3.5/5
Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.
This book is certainly a quick read. I wasn’t expecting huge revelations, but I needed more history than what was in Red Queen.
“There is nothing so terrible as a story untold.”
King Tiberius Calore VI, Cal and Maven’s father, refuses to follow the path of other kings when he looks for his queen. So when he chooses Coriane Jacos, a singer from a poor family, he angers many families and powerful daughters who are aiming for that gleaming crown. Victoria transports you back through Coriane and Tiberius’ love story. Their marriage isn’t shiny by any means, but you see how they loved each other. And I truly enjoy the lack of blood lust in this marriage, like the others from the Queenstrial, where teenage girls from the High Houses compete against each other and display their abilities in front of the royal family. I also love how Coriane, while she isn’t there in person in the Red Queen, influences Cal on a much deeper level than I previously thought. Like her, Cal loves to build, a trait he inherits from his mother. Unfortunately, the King and Queen’s marriage does not survive after the birth of their son, Cal, when unforeseen forces tear down the protective walls in Coriane.
Yes, yes, yes. I get more Coriane! Her life has always intrigued me. And while I knew who killed her, I never understood how Elara breaks a singer. Tiberius and Coriane’s story is what I was looking for in this dreary universe. Something I see as real and beautiful. Victoria really sparked my interest in this piece of history. How her prose changes in this story brings out Coriane’s POV. You get a lot of spunk and sarcasm when Mare takes the stage, but with Coriane, you hear her quiet but determined (albeit sad) voice.
Victoria shows Farley’s roots in Steel Scars. So finally you watch how Farley, the Scarlet Guard captain from Red Queen, transforms into who she is now. She has a deeper backstory and a stronger rage than any of her scars. Farley’s story lays out the leg work for the eventual exposure of the Scarlet Guard and the attack on the Silvers in Red Queen.While this story doesn’t instantly capture my interest as Queen Song does, I love how Victoria wraps up some burning questions I’ve had since I first read Red Queen. And finally I understand Farley’s conviction behind her decisions to do what she must. Victoria incorporates top-secret correspondences among the ranks. And she also shows you how the the Scarlet Guard works, something I’ve been trying to figure out for quite awhile. And I get more Shade Barrow! What more can a woman ask for?