Mare the RED QUEEN returns with an edge in GLASS SWORD!
It’s rare when the second book in a series impresses us more than the first, especially when the first is quite strong, but Victoria Aveyard has outdone herself with her Red Queen follow-up, Glass Sword! After the success of the first book, Aveyard could have rested on her laurels. Instead, she gives us more action, character development, and deeper sense of chaos in Mare’s world that extends beyond Norta.
Barely escaping the wrath of Maven, the new king of Norta, Mare finds herself in the top secret camp of The Scarlet Guard. While she’s reunited with her family and her oldest friend, Kilorn, that doesn’t mean she’s comfortable in her new surroundings. Mare’s time in the royal palace changed her. Maven’s betrayal has taught her to trust no one. She aches for Cal, who she betrayed and The Scarlet Guard keeps behind lock and key. She knows Maven has seen her list of newbloods– Reds with special abilities– and will soon set out to destroy them all. She has plans to save the newbloods and redeem herself to Cal, but The Scarlet Guard doesn’t care about Mare’s opinions.
That means Mare is forced to break all the rules with only a few supporters at her side in order to save the newbloods of Norta!
The majority of the book is spent seeking out newbloods, which is not an easy task. They all live under Silver rule and each new acquisition gives Maven clues as to where Mare may be. Each newblood also has a particular strength and unique personality that adds a new level to the resistance. We particularly loved Nix– who has a bone to pick with a certain exiled prince, Abigail, Nanny, and Cameron, the sassiest and most reluctant of the group, though we’re not going to spoil their powers or roles in the story. Thankfully, these character grow with the help of old favorites including Farley, Shade, and the power-free but undeniable Kilorn.
While the story does have that “preparing for the events of the next book” feel that often comes with the second book in a series at points, Victoria Aveyard does a great job breaking them up with palpable action sequences, two of which really stand out by showcasing the characters’ powers and dropping in some insane twists that will make your jaw drop. There’s also plenty of dark, emotional moments that really drive the character development. If you thought Red Queen was dark, Glass Sword is absolutely going to rattle your bones.
The character development this time around is pretty delicious. Mare’s mission in Glass Sword molds her into someone who is powerful, more emotionally aware, and less distracted than the girl we met in the first novel. She hasn’t gained complete control of her power, but she’s works on it and gathering up some worthy leadership skills to boot. Cal is with her almost every step of the journey. He comes into it from a place of reluctance– The Scarlet Guard certainly isn’t on his side. With no one to truly trust and so little to depend on, how will his royal, military upbringing shape him?
Then there’s Maven. The last book left Maven as a devious betrayer who arranges for the murder of his own father and frames Cal and Mare for it. If you thought that was despicable, you may not be able to handle the pure evil Maven exudes in Glass Sword. Rule over Norta is finally his, but his actions are more horrendous than ever. His obsession with gaining dominance over Mare and her cause is creepy and unforgiving, making him a more concrete villain… unless you’re into that abusive dictator stuff. (Fangirls, man!)
On the romance front, we’re happy to say that this book offers up some sweet, tender moments that will leave readers smiling– we won’t say who is involved, though! Character connections run deep. Thankfully, this novel also takes steps to break up the sometimes frustrating love square presented in Red Queen. Because even when you’re a kickass, power-wielding revolutionary, it’s a little outrageous when every young, eligible hottie is deeply dedicated to winning your heart. Instead, we explore the many sides of Mare’s relationships, not all of which work in her favor.
Fans of world building will also be pretty thrilled. Traveling through Norta allows readers to explore the different landscapes and cultures throughout. We also getting our first inkling as to how the outside world is responding to the uprising in Norta, meeting some surprising friends and possible foes. All of this opens up big plot possibilities for the remainder of the series.
But really, this story comes down to its ending. It’s maddening and thrilling and oh so very cliffy! Fans will be begging for the third book from the moment they finish the last sentence.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Glass Sword hits shelves next Tuesday, February 9, 2016. Order it now!