In this second installment of the Red Queen series (see my review of book one here), many bleed, but few will kneel.
Mare has escaped from the cruel new king Maven, but Cal her maybe friend maybe enemy is in chains and she doesn’t know where this tunnel will lead. Reunited with Shade, she hopes the Scarlet Guard will help her, but she is unaware of the length of the Guard’s great reach. She has to fight to stay alive and fight her own instincts. Trust no one.
Maybe it’s because I was PMSing, maybe it’s because I’ve waited so long for this next installment, maybe it’s just the truth, either way this is an amazing story. Mare is a complex young woman who knows that sometimes we live in a world that is not right or wrong but painfully gray. She struggles differentiating the Maven she once loved and the Maven she now knows. Her power grows and grows becoming more a part of her very soul with each passing day. However, above all else she must find the new-bloods, the ones like her, and save them from Maven and his mother.
In the fight to save them all, Mare begins to lose herself and we watch her begin to drift. Aveyard has done something truly inspired with Mare. Even though we watch her slip, losing sight of the real enemy, we support her in the decisions she makes. She is truly trapped between difficult choices and satisfying her anger. In every war sacrifices must be made, but who are we willing to give up? Reading about Mare, I see myself in her place trying to decide what to do, realizing that we each must pick are own battles and saving everyone means saving no one. I respect Mare as a woman and as a leader. I respect her for making hard choices, and I love her because I see the battle that rages in her head. Aveyard truly has created a powerful main character that earns the readers’ emotional connection.
Poignant. This story is poignant. It pierces your heart and wrenches you back and forth. Aveyard even managed to surprise me once or twice with a plot twist, and I promise that is a VERY difficult thing to do. And while Aveyard takes us on this emotional journey with Mare, it isn’t the typical whiney love story of a young adult novel. This story is filled with complex companions and a epic tales’ worth of action. There is no slow moment in the Glass Sword, the plot is constantly progressing and squirming and flying. While reading I found not a single moment where I could put the book down because I always wanted to know what happened next. This is one I had to read in a single sitting.
The second half of the book is especially notable. Cal and Mare develop a complex relationship based on needing someone who simply understands. They hold onto each other as a lifeboat in the storm, but they still each have their own agenda and different goals. I’m excited to see where their relationship goes in book three because eventually someone will have to give in or everything will explode.
And then there is Maven. I was definitely a big Maven fan in the first book. Screw Cal, Maven was my guy and then came the plot twist. Now I feel quite like Mare in that I don’t know how to let go of the little Mavey I loved and accept the King. I have to say though, he makes a d*** fine villain. King Maven is cruel, vindictive and will stop at nothing to get Mare back. Winning the war is his mother’s end goal, winning Mare is Mavens and it makes his villainy even more delicious. Even though he is only in the story briefly, his actions are everywhere and the evidence of his true black soul.
If I had to say something negative it would have to be that the first few chapters contained some stylistic mistakes. A few too many failed attempts at an epic chapter ending line. I think when Aveyard stops trying so hard and lets her characters do the work her writing definitely improves.
And the ending, oh the ending. No spoilers here, but keep reading this book! Honestly, I just finished this last night and I think I’m going to go read it again even if I am crying inside that book three won’t be out until next year.
I give it a 5/5 on my Young Adult scale.
Side characters: 5/5
World development: 4/5
Writing quality: 3/5 (depends on the section really)
Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen
P.S. God d***it Kilorn.