YA Book Review: Glass Sword

Warning! Spoiler alerts for book 1, Red Queen, are unavoidable so do not read on if you wish to start with the first book. Divert your eyes and click this link instead!

Glass Sword, by Victoria Aveyard, is a compelling sequel to the first but leaves this reader wanting more in both positive and negative ways.

This book picks up exactly where the Red Queen ended. Cal and Mare survived the Bowl of Bones execution much to Maven's dismay. Saved by the rebels, Cal (grudgingly) and Mare (fervently) join the rebel cause. Unable to trust anyone, let alone each other, Cal and Mare cling together to maneuver through the politics of a rebel stronghold, both not fitting in. He is a silver and who they wanted to defeat; she is the Lightning Girl, a mutation of a red and dangerously more powerful than
them all. As they set out to recruit and save other New Bloods like Mare, Maven is hunting down their recruits and murdering them, demanding her to return to him. The problem is, Maven the monster begins to rub off on Mare and she grapples to not lose herself in loneliness and a sickening addictive desire for revenge.

Sorry to say, but the whole premise of her becoming just like the evil Maven was too much for me, as I already viewed her as a monster before. She had wanted and had taken everything from Cal in book 1, so much so his betraying her then was only a slight sting. In this book, she betrays him to new levels speaking of him as a weapon, not a person, supposedly to save his life. You can tell from Aveyard's subtly about Cal that he loves her, despite everything, and yet there is only room for hatred in her heart for Silvers, not seeing them as human. She also sickeningly loves the idea of the fake Maven which seems misplaced as she always appeared attracted and in love with Cal deep down. Everything Cal does for her should warm her heart to him and not some fantasy of someone she never actually seemed to be in love with prior. It's like she suddenly fell in love with him when he became the monster; it leaves me in disbelief. I feel like she gets what she deserves in this book. I have no sympathy for her yet. Cal, on the other hand, I feel so bad for, as well as Kilhorn, her family, and all the New Bloods she seems to use for her own benefit. If Aveyard's goal was to create a monster, she did so most effectively.

The plot was not as exciting as the first. Again, romance is stilted and not by plot or characters' decisions, but simply a cut-to move by the author. Not sure why. I usually only see this in YA romance when it gets too risque for the readership and this is far from that. I wanted more. The plot dragged in places giving us a realistic timeline when jumps in time would be preferable. It's a lot of the same thing.

Onto the positives. The development of characters, even minor ones, was outstanding. Even though I dislike Mare, she is well rounded. I'm in love with Cal now, absolutely hate Maven--the author is playing me into her hand through her characters, making me need more. The emotion of this novel is staggering. So much sadness, hopelessness, and yet there are characters who uplift you (can't spoil that by saying who) and make you smile through the hard parts. I was fully vested in their fates. Again, the world building of cities and rebel camps make the reader feel a part of the experience. The exciting parts and the eventual progression of the plot are well told and page-turning. It leaves you satisfied and yet unsatisfied by wanting more. Aveyard has a great knack for starting the next book at the end of the former one, so you long to continue the scene. I'm honestly more addicted than I am annoyed by Mare.

I'm foreseeing that I'll love this series in the end but that a couple of the books perhaps could be condensed down together to make a trilogy instead. I also have the feeling that Mare will redeem herself in my eyes. She has started the journey, but I'm going to have to see a lot of her suffering before I'm on her side. Only reading the next book will tell me.

This book can be purchased here.

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