Review | War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Page Count: 672

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all…starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?


“I am less than his crown, but he is less than my cause.”

With betrayal and heartache, deadly politics and a revolution, War Storm has the makings of a truly spectacular ending. I cannot remember the last I eagerly awaited for the finale in a series. And while War Storm is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, I want more. Even if I’ll always hold this series in high regard, I am disappointed. Perhaps I simply expect too much from it.

When I first bought Red Queen, this series immersed me into such a politically charged world. And yes, I admit that the tropes Victoria uses may not sit well with everyone. I cannot fault her for that though. However, I love her writing. And I love how I evolved my reading because of her storytelling. But I want her to take more risks and give Mare the ending she deserves. The finale seems underdeveloped. And I walk away from this series asking for more. Am I the only reader who feels this way? I don’t know.

I think sometimes we readers gamble with stories. We cannot predict what may happen to the characters we love. And we cannot dictate what happens. The story is the author’s design. And Victoria has taken chances many readers do not like. But this ending feels, to me, unfinished. Even though I leave this series disappointed, I credit Victoria for achieving what she has done. I respect her for sticking to the story she decided to write. And she forges her own path.

She weaves in current political issues that affect us today and creates multi-layered, albeit scary, world. And she writes real and conflicted characters readers can relate to. Mare has grown up from the thief roaming the Stilts to the poster child of the revolution. I‘ve cried with her, screamed at her, yet she’ll be one of my favourite characters. Now with Cal, I still want to throttle him. His crown comes before anything, but he soon realizes it isn’t worth the pain.

But Victoria misses an opportunity to make Maven outshine even his own mother. While I hate him, the author doesn’t explore the internal struggle he faces because of what Elara did to him. She offers you glimpses, but I want more from this troubled character.

Evangeline, the magnetron I wish suffered horribly, surprises me the most. And one reason why I enjoyed this book is because of her. Her character growth and overall arc make me root for her. And even though, at first, she’s an unlikeable character, I’ve grown to like her. Was I expecting this? No. Two years ago, I never would have uttered those words.

I will always respect what authors want in their stories. I may not agree with the final product, and I may too high expectations, but the story is their own. The Red Queen series will always have a place on my shelf, but maybe I expect too much from War Storm.

What are your thoughts on the final installment of Red Queen? Did you leave disappointed? What did you love the most from it?

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Extent: 464 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


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.


Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword is a heartbreaking, volatile, and twisted sequel that tests the strength of every character. Savagery seeps through and corrupts even the most loyal ones.

Betrayed, accused of murdering the King, and hunted by Silvers, Mare and Cal search for and recruit newbloods, Reds who possess Silver abilities. But they aren’t the only ones who do the same. They escaped their execution, but Maven, the new merciless king, now haunts them still. Lines blur, loyalties are tested, and Mare fears that what she’s demanded to fulfill will turn her into the very monster she thought she loved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Victoria revels in her readers’ pain. She has a knack for hitting you in the heart and expects you to turn the page. Clearly, I’m a sucker for her writing. She expands on her characters and gives you a larger scope of her world. She shows you the inner workings of the Scarlet Guard. And she has written a diverse cast of newbloods. Finally! I get more Shade, the brother who apparently faked his death in Red Queen. She even includes more scenes of Farley and Kilorn.

 

“No one is born a monster. But I wish some people were. It would make it easier to hate them, to kill them, to forget their dead faces.”

Maven’s cruelty over Mare intensifies. He finds new ways to taunt her and to control her every move. Some scenes shocked me, and not many do in other books. Glass Sword is dark. Victoria heightens the brutality of warfare, and you get a sense of how savage this world truly is. But she does gives you some light within the dark.

Cal and Mare know their love for this tainted king may be their undoing. But they understand the love they share between each other will also hinder their task. Their private moments make me tear up. They both live in chaos, pain, and guilt, yet they find solace in each other.

 

“I am a weapon made of flesh, a sword covered in skin. I was born to kill a king, to end a reign of terror before it can truly begin.”

Am I cruel to say I enjoyed reading Mare’s progression? I do. Her strength is in her pain. Mare secludes herself from the people she loves so they won’t feel the debilitating control Maven holds over her. While reading, I felt conflicted with her development. She questions herself on if she’s turning into Maven. Yes, she gives the newbloods a choice to join the Scarlet Guard, but she makes the hard decisions. Reading this growth tugs at your heart.

Cal is still the reluctant heir. He cannot come to terms with killing Silvers, even though they threaten the mission. He fears the group’s actions will simply put a new king onto a throne and not change the course of the nation. Taking down one monster but sliding in a new one don’t sit well with him.

Victoria offers you a better perspective of how Elara, Maven’s mother, infects and pollutes Maven. She turns him into her own puppet, and yet he has the power to destroy her. He commits to tracking down Mare and Cal, ending their mission, and getting her back. He develops an obsession with his lost red queen. But he doesn’t scare me as much as Elara does, though.

I’m intrigued with the Scarlet Guard. It offers sanctuary for Reds and aligns itself with new allies. You delve deeper into this secretive resistance and see how it works. But I sometimes question the loyalty it has now when it faces a new obstacle: the newbloods. The Colonel, Farley’s father, spares no trust for them. And I find him a difficult character to read.

The ending! Oh God, that ending. Why. Why, why, why?! Yeah, I knew that scene was coming. The book I’ve been dying to read gets spoiled by the author. How? Tumblr, that’s how. I can’t catch a break.

Glass Sword shapes into a fast-paced, gut-wrenching story. You’ll cry, you’ll yell, and you’ll more than likely curse. But it demonstrates how humans stay resilient, resist oppression, and stand up when they have little chance of survival.

FREE MARE!

 

What did you think of the ending? Are you excited to read King’s Cage? Let me know in the comments.

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Mini Review: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

25944381.jpgCruel 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

Source: Purchase


Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Queen Song

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.


Steel Scars

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.


Queen Song

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.”

IMG_0245 copyKing 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.

Steel Scars

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?

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