Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard 
Series: Red Queen #2 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: February 9, 2016 
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: 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?

Rise, Red as the Dawn

To be honest I don’t quite know where to start. This book was complex. I can’t just say AAAAAH, I LOVED IT any more than I can shout I didn’t. Even though I felt like screaming both at some points. Mainly because of Mare. So let’s start by saying it’s really good. I really like Aveyard’s writing and world-building. It’s very compelling. The book sucked me right back in even though it had been a year since I’d read Red Queen. And if it hadn’t been for life getting in the way, I probably would have gone from page 1 to 448 without pause. Yes, it was that intense.

I really liked the plot. We’re completely gone from the royal court of Norta and instead we get a life within the Scarlet Guard, the center of the Red Rebellion. Mare Barrow and her new group of allies set out to find other newbloods who can help their cause. Newbloods with extraordinary abilities (even within a Silver world) whose retrieval often causes more trouble than they’re worth. And there’s also Maven – playing a crazy cat and mouse game with Mare and his brother.

But despite the good plot, the characters make this book. I was surprised to find how layered and grey they all were. Aveyard did a really great job. There went a lot of effort in every single character. And she has a very good reason for everything her characters do or don’t do. Everything’s perfectly planned out and only at the end did I realize exactly how much sense it all made.

What began as Cal’s breakdown has become mine. One dark night I spilled my secrets to him, on a road thick with summer heat. I was the girl who tried to steal his money then. Now, winter looms, and I’m the girl who stole his life.

Let’s start with Cal, because he is by far my favourite character. He’s lost. After losing everything, there is not a single place in the world he can go. So he follows Mare – even though he has no reason to join her rebellion. His beliefs are different, but he’s still drawn to her and at least she provides him with a path, even if it may not be the right one for him. Cal is strong though, he remains loyal to what he thinks is right. But there are so many more reasons why I love him. Cal is kind, loyal, brave, strong and compassionate. He cares more than people give him credit for. He’s also honest and his heart is troubled, but remains true. Most importantly though – he keeps Mare in check. He’s the only one who truly sees her as an equal and he’s not afraid to call her bullshit when necessary.

I am afraid of waking up to emptiness, to a place where my friends and family are gone and I am nothing but a single bolt of lightning in the blackness of a lonely storm. If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.

Which brings me to Mare obviously. My feelings are very conflicted towards her, and so is she. She’s struggling and trying to find her place in this messed up world. She makes many, many mistakes. I felt there were very few moments when she was truly herself. A lot of the time she was ‘the lightning girl’, which was in fact just an act. Her pretending to be tough and to know what she was doing resulted in her being over-confident, controlling and often cruel. She rose high and fell hard. And that’s why I still love her. Because in the end she did realize just how wrong she has been. Just how many people she has hurt along the way and her remorse felt very real to me. She annoyed me a lot of times, especially in the middle of the book. But now that I’ve read everything – I have to admire Aveyard for making her as she did. Because like I said, this actually makes a lot of sense.

But still, you feel no remorse for the dead. You do whatever you can to forget them. You abandoned your family without a word. You can't control yourself. Half the time you run away from leadership, and the other half you act like some untouchable martyr, crowned in guilt, the only person who's really giving herself to the cause. Look around you, Mare Barrow. [...] You are not the only one to make sacrifices.

Other characters I greatly admired are Farley and Shade. I fell in love with both in Cruel Crown and I was so happy when they remained important characters here. They both have strong a sense of loyalty and righteousness. Farley is very controlled while Shade has this easy, charming nature but I’m crazy about both of them. (Which resulted in me getting my heart shattered. *sobs*)

I liked Mare’s best friend Kilorn a lot less. I can’t really say why. He’s brave and kind and all that, but mostly I found him annoying. Meh.

And last but not least, Maven. He’s not a huge character in this book. He sets everything in motion, but he isn’t physically present. Not often at least. Which made him feel a little flat and weak. He seemed cruel for the sake of being cruel, not because he really had a game to play. I think that might change in the next books though. He’ll definitely become more important again and I think that will result in him being more complex. Also, is it really messed up for me to still like him a little?

Don’t lie to a liar, and Maven is the grandest liar of all.

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  1. Ahhh, your love for this series is just so great <3 I started it a couple of days ago but need to read Red Rising first, I can't wait to read this after. Great review! :)

    1. Aaah, I know. Is that a bad thing? I know you didn't really like Red Queen, but I did.. somehow. And despite the fact that I can name at least ten things that weren't good about Glass Sword, I still very much loved it. Ah well, love blinds. Thank you!


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