Glass Sword: A disappointing follow-up to Red Queen

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard YA fantasy book reviewsGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Warning: Will contain spoilers for the previous book, Red Queen.

After escaping from Maven and Queen Elara’s clutches, Mare soon finds herself on a new mission for the rebel cause. While she quietly processes Maven’s betrayal, Mare must race against the clock to rescue other “newbloods” like herself and recruit them to the rebels’ side. All the while, Maven and his army are pursuing her, and they are willing to take down anyone who gets in their way.

I hate to say it, but I’m disappointed by Glass Sword. I loved Red Queen because it was fast-paced and engaging. Unfortunately, the majority of Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword gets bogged down in a slow, repetitive plot. Whereas I flew through Red Queen in a single day, I found it all too easy to put off finishing Glass Sword.

Glass Sword’s character development doesn’t make up for the slower plot. The nuance that characters displayed in the previous book have all but disappeared. All the characters suffer for it, but Maven most of all. Maven has become a stereotypical bad guy who kills babies and tortures Mare for little discernible reason. Aveyard makes some attempt to realistically portray the mix of emotions that Mare feels about him, despising Maven while also missing the boy she had thought him to be, but Aveyard doesn’t quite succeed. Other characters, such as Mare’s childhood friend Kilorn, don’t fare much better. Kilorn didn’t have much to do in the first book anyway, but now he appears to exist solely to be petulant and jealous of any man who gets too close to Mare.

It isn’t until the final 50 pages or so that the plot of Glass Sword picks up again, but when it does, it’s exciting enough to give me hope for the continuation of the RED QUEEN series. There is no whopper of a climax to take you by surprise this time, but Aveyard opens some interesting possibilities that I hope she takes advantage of in the next book.

Published February 9, 2016. 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. 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?

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KARIMA AL-ABSY, one of our guest reviewers, currently lives in Nebraska. She's been hooked on fantasy ever since she read The Search for Delicious in third grade. In her spare time, she volunteers for a local publisher, The Backwaters Press.

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3 comments

  1. It’s a shame that you didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first! I hope the third book will be more exciting.

  2. The dreaded second-book syndrome! It’s sad when you love the first one and the second one disappoints, but I will join Jana in hoping things get better with the next one.

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