Reviews

Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard [Spoilers!]

Glass Sword continues right where Red Queen left off, and tells us more about the Red Guard and their fight against the Silvers. Based on the list she received from Julien in the last book, Mare then starts recruiting other newbloods with help from Farley, Kilorn and of course Cal. But pursued by Maven, and having to confront the consequences of her actions, Mare has to understand what the path she’s on means for her and the world she lives in.

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I do not like this book. I’m saying that now as a warning for anyone who doesn’t want to read about how much I don’t like this book. Enough warning? Good then let’s go ahead.

I had a really hard time getting into this book, because i was just a few pages in when I thought ‘Huh, I read this story before, haven’t I?’ and realised that I was essentially reading Hunger Games with superpowers. Of course it’s not exactly the same story, but the basic elements are there. A somewhat reluctant heroine who becomes the symbol of a revolution? Check. The best friend who could be a love interest? Check. The guy she falls in  love with but it’s also complicated? Check. A rebellion that’s essentially not any better than the existing system? Check.

I could go on, but if you’ve read the novel it’s not too hard to find more parallels, if not, you’ll have to believe me that there are more. Maybe some people don’t feel like that but for me it was a massive problem while trying to get into the story. it took me about the first half to finally move on from the Hunger Games similarities and feel like this is a different story.

And this is the point where the second reason why it took me a lot longer than planned to finally finish this book comes into play: Mare Barrow. I always thought Katniss annoyed me a little because of how much she worried about herself instead of thinking about others, but she has nothing at all on Mare Barrow. I know she has a lot going on in her life, but the amount to which she doesn’t care about other people and their very real problems is unbelievable. If Aveyard wanted me to hate Mare she did a great job, because that’s exactly what I’m doing. And it doesn’t stop there, on top of being so wrapped up in her own problems, Mare has a serious attitude problem. She keeps talking about how she wants to free the Reds, just to turn around and talk about how they can’t do anything and need her protection because they’re weak and powerless. She herself has been a part of this group for most of her short life, but she keeps looking down on them like they’re lesser than her. And when someone calls her out on it, she reacts entirely unreasonable and completely dismisses any concerns others have. Whether it’s Cal, calling her out on becoming the very kind of person they are trying to destroy, or Cameron telling her how it is, Mare dismisses their concerns and just goes on doing what she has been doing before.

Something else that takes away from what could be a decent and maybe even a good plot, is the continuous reiteration of the phrase “Anyone can betray anyone” and its variations. In the first moment it just got on my nerves to read it over and over again. In fact, it feels like it appears at least once a paragraph. But as I kept reading and thought a bit more about it I realised that it actually took away from the plot. Because at some point it starts to affect the  reader’s perception of the characters.Mare’s distrust becomes our own. There comes a point in the novel  where I just couldn’t stop myself from doubting motivations. It just feels really weird to not trust any of the other characters. Even more, it just feels really weird from a personal point of view. Not trusting anyone at all just feels incredibly lonely, and unreasonable. Yes, in theory anyone can betray anyone, but can you imagine doubting everyone around you because of that? Including people you have trusted all your  life? I’m sorry but I can’t. And maybe Aveyard is trying to make a point in the long run, but if she is, it doesn’t translate at all for me. Less reiteration of the same point over and over again, please, we got it the first five times.

Then there is the death of the queen. She has been built up to be this great, fearsome villain, and then this? Its so very anticlimatic and completely wasted by its absence. Her death is reduced to be one death of many. And hers is not the only wasted death or character. Shade’s death would have a lot more impact if he had had any significant relationship with Mare. And along with this one practically every relationship in Mare’s life that is not with Cal and maybe Kilorn, is severely underdeveloped. She could be friends with Farley, but she’s so completely focused on herself and her own misery that she doesn’t even try to build a friendship.

Last but not least, I do have things I like about this book. The world building continues to be interesting (even though it does feel more and more rooted in the real world instead of a fictional one). Also Cal and Maven are probably my favourite characters in the entire series. Cal is just too good for Mare and I would have loved it if we got to see more of his inner conflict; I also really loved how he was able to make decisions Mare was unable to make, thanks to his military training. Cal is definitely a character I could root for.
Meanwhile, Maven has partly become my favourite because I just want to see everything burn. I don’t usually like characters who betray others, but Mare has made me dislike her so much that I’d be fine with Maven burning everything to the ground. In fact, the two things I’d most like to see are Mare going full dark and becoming the tyrant queen Maven currently is, or Mare and Maven becoming some sort of dark tyrant duo.

★☆☆☆☆ (1 Star)

Additional Information

Publication Date: 9 February 2016 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 444
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
ISBN: 9780062449634

Summary:

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?

(Source: Goodreads.com)

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