Cruel Crown

Cruel Crown (Red Queen, #.1-.2) by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: three stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows. Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller RED QUEEN.

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 lie ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars: Captain 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.

Plus a Glass Sword sneak peek!

I have been loving the Red Queen series, and since I read King’s Cage, I decided to read this one next. I was most excited to read about Queen Coriane since what happened to her is a huge secret so far, though I do like Captain Farley so I was interested in her story as well.

Likes: I did like that the secret of Queen Coriane was finally talked about and looked at. I was so engrossed with this story, I honestly wish that it was a whole book. I loved the characters and the suspense. I also liked the second story about Captain Farley, though it did seem unnecessary. It was okay, but I didn’t feel like there was a point to it, or that there was a need for it.

Dislikes: Let me just say that I did not expect the Glass Sword sneak peek to be so long, it seemed like it was half the book! (I know it wasn’t, but I think it was an absurdly large part of it.) I don’t understand why there was such a huge chunk of Glass Sword in this book, I wish we had gotten another short story. This really upset me so much, because I feel like the other two short stories were so short that I could not enjoy them as much. I wish that they were longer and/or that there was a third short story instead of the Glass Sword preview. Also, the Captain Farley story just seemed to be put in there for content, which is annoying. Sure, I like her character. However, it just didn’t seem necessary. I would have much rather had the entire book about Queen Coriane instead of having a strange pointless story about Captain Farley and an extremely long preview to Glass Sword.

Overall, I did like the short stories. I thought they were fun and finally gave some answers to questions that I have been asking for the entire series so far. However, they seemed way too short and not flushed out at all, when they could have been longer and more complete if the Glass Sword sneak peek was not there! I took off two stars because there was the Glass Sword sneak peak that took up so much space that the other two short stories needed because they were lacking depth. The first short story was so good, which makes the other two seem so much worse. I just wish the whole story was about the Queen…

King’s Cage

Image result for king's cage

King’s Cage (Red Queen, #3) by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

I was finally able to pick up the third book in the Red Queen series, and I am so glad I was able to. Even though I rated the second book four stars, this is still one of my favorite series of all time. So the fact that it took me so long to pick up King’s Cage is sad, but I am so happy I waited until I a time that I could focus on it fully.

Likes: The whole situation that Mare is in is insane. The ending to Glass Sword shocked me, and seeing how that situation is playing out is CRAZY. Even though it would normally be boring because she is just sitting in a cell all day, somehow Victoria makes it entertaining. This book doesn’t have many physical fights, but the mental battles that go on are equally as intriguing. I love learning about psychology and how people think, and this book was full of that. I am not one of those Maven lovers who are hoping for a redemption arc, however, I can see how messed up his childhood is and I feel sorry for him. I do not think that it is a reason for him doing the things he did, but it does show some of the actions that caused him to become that way. All the character development throughout this book is wonderful, and I love reading about it. I also love one of the fight scenes that happens later in the book, the descriptions are so cool, and some of the characters involved were not as surprising as I wished but were still great.  

Dislikes: This story honestly seemed so slow. For some reason I was just dredging through it so slowly and it seemed like it was going on for forever. That was one of the only negative things that I found with the book, and it did make reading it not as enjoyable. The only thing that really annoyed me about this book was the ending. One reason is because of how predictable it was. The subject was brought up so much I figured that it had to happen sometime. But I didn’t want it to! Like what the crap, why even. I feel like there was so much character growth in all the characters that this scene shouldn’t have happened. In the first book it would have made sense, but these characters have grown so much, the last scene just seemed unrealistic and undoes all the good that the characters have accomplished personally.

Overall, even though the pacing was slow, and I did not like the ending at all, I still loved this book. It took me through a whirlwind of emotions, and the psychological aspect of it was interesting. I loved the character growth and how the characters grew together. This was just a deep book that solidifies why I love this series so much. I can already tell that the last book is going to wreck me.

Glass Sword

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: 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.

After reading the bookclub book of October, I knew I just had to continue the Red Queen series. I loved the first one and had high hopes for the second. I was not disappointed (though it was a little slower than the first one)!

Likes: I like all the new powers that are discovered in this book. On her tour to find more New Bloods, Mare discovers so many interesting and unique-to-their-world abilities. Watching each person learn more about their abilities and what they can do with them was a great time! How Mare is dealing with the responsibility she feels over the New Blood’s and the whole war in general is heart wrenching. She wants to save people while at the same time she doesn’t know how to do that without turning into somehow who she doesn’t want to be. This made me really sympathize with her and want to help her, Victoria described this conflict in such a realistic way. THAT. ENDING. No spoilers, of course, but man that ending left me speechless. SO good. I really liked the character progression throughout the book. We meet new characters and get to see them grow and change (for good and bad) throughout the book and that was exciting to read about. I love the new technology and cities that we get to see. The first book mainly took place in the palace, so it is nice to be able to see more of the world of the Red Queen series.  

Dislikes: I honestly didn’t really dislike anything in this book. It tore at my heart in places but that just made it better. There was a character that wasn’t my favorite in the fact that they seemed to be rude and hateful to Mare, when I don’t think they should have been. It seemed a little on the unrealistic side, but I guess I could see where they were coming from.  

Overall, I loved this book. I love the plot, the characters, the abilities, and the writing style. This story is becoming one of my absolute favorites, and I really hope that King’s Cage is as good as the first two.