Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperTeen
Published on February 9th 2016
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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 second book of the series, Glass Sword still had all the good stuff that we fell in love with in Red Queen. So I wasn’t disappointed…but I also wasn’t blown out of the water by it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very intense read, but I think there was still room for improvement. As such, I give it 3.5 stars.
I think one of the strongest parts of this series is its protagonist, Mare. Yes, she’s moody and angry and always chews out everyone around her, but she’s realistic. She has hard decisions to make, and a world of problems at her feet to solve, and she picks what she deems is the most important. The fact that this book is in first person really accentuates Mare’s thought process and emotional journey, and it also made me more invested in her choices. There were so many times when I was like, “You go girl!”
…but there were also so many times when I just cringed.
I think the most relieving part of this book was the moment when the book finally felt self-aware of the fact that Mare as a narrator has a very flawed perspective, despite seeming to be a hyperaware narrator. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen until at least ¾ of the way through the book, so I spent a lot of time being annoyed with Mare being so one-track-minded and 1000% inept at polite social interaction.
Still, there’s a lot to be said for character development, of which Mare goes through a lot. This book touched on a lot of important issues, like valuing different kinds of people over others, and getting over prejudices. Up until the turning point in Mare’s conception of Silvers vs. Reds, I think the development was very well organized and spaced out believably. But then alllll the things happened and she had one argument and BOOM all of a sudden her worldview is different. We didn’t hear what went through her head at all—it just up and happened.
There’s also the question of character depth for the other characters in this book. I think some people are very well developed, but Mare’s family (including Shade at times) fell very flat for me. They were by far the most 2D characters in the book, which would be fine if they weren’t mentioned so often.
I wanted there to be more relationship development between Cal and Mare. Especially toward the end of the book, the two of them were spending a lot of time together, but we never got to see that. What did Cal want out of their relationship? It was unnecessarily vague, and left me wanting more (in a bad way). That said, I think Mare’s relationships with Farley and Kilorn were both interesting and true to their respective characters.
Another thing I didn’t like about this book was it just felt very slow.
It started off really well and jumped right in where we left off, but then it just felt like it stagnated for…the rest of the book. Don’t get me wrong: there was a lot of action, and a lot of character development, and just stuff going on in general, but it all felt so unnecessarily stretched out like not enough butter on too much toast. And to top that off, some really important points were just left out (like how easily all the newbloods just happily agreed to join Mare and didn’t have a life crisis about this HUGE decision)! Moreover, some parts were just unbelievable. If Maven knew exactly who was a newblood and who wasn’t, why didn’t he just post more guards at all of their homes? No need to tell the guards why, just give them the orders!
My last big qualm was Aveyard’s writing style. The book reads really well! It’s dramatic, it’s poignant, it works for the story. But I swear, every paragraph break was soooo melodramatic.
“I fear being alone more than anything else. So why do I do this? Why do I push away the people I love? What is so very wrong with me?
I don’t know.
And I don’t know how to make it stop.”
This may be picky, but one can only take so many <10-word sentences.
“I tell myself that I would still walk this path if I knew the consequences—save Kilorn from conscription, discover my ability, join the Guard, tear lives apart, fight, kill. Become the lightning girl. But I don’t know if that’s true. I honestly don’t know.”
And I honestly don’t know if you could read this and not cringe. Smh.
“For the first time, I have hope.
There will be an after.”
You can open the book to any random page and the next paragraph break you find will be the most dramatic thing you think you’ve ever read, 5-word sentences and all. I understand (and appreciate) a good share of melodrama, but this was just over the top. We know Mare is a conflicted teenage girl with a lot of burdens on her shoulders, but no need to drive in the nail that’s already flush.
With all of this said, it really wasn’t a terrible book—it just fell prey to being “Book 2.” Only so much can happen in Book 2, and Book 2 is always just that point between Book 1 and Book 3, and while it’s a shame that this was the case with this book, it doesn’t mean that Book 3 is going to be the same. I, for one, intent to read Book 3 the moment it comes out, and I hope everyone gets through this one for the inevitable awesomeness to come next year. The setup wasn’t a great process, but it was a great setup nevertheless, and I’m excited to see what comes next!
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