by Victoria Aveyard
4.5 / 5
Mare is a sword, a sword made of glass, and she is showing signs that she may shatter. In this fantastic continuation, Mare and her Scarlet Guard comrades are attempting to track down and recruit the Newbloods (Red bloodied, but with abilities stronger than a Silver), to create a force that is capable of overthrowing the Silver Dynasty. Glass Sword is a pulsating read that has more twists and turns than a double helix which resides within the Reds, Silvers and Newbloods alike.
The one thing that everyone will talk about when discussing Glass Sword will undoubtedly be the ending. I could write endless amounts about the events that happened leading to this moment, as well as speculating about the events to come, but this review will be unspoilerery for those yet to read it. I can already feel an invisible force trying to make me write about the thrilling moments of unbridled action and suspense, perhaps its Queen Elara entering my mind. I will try my best to compose a review which is two-pronged in approach. Firstly, to persuade those yet to delve into Mare’s world of Red and Silver that they should discover these brilliantly written books which are sure to be the next big book series to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. But I will also try to write a review which does justice to Aveyard’s incredible work. She has created a world which I willingly fall into every time I pick up the book. The characters are interesting and three-dimensional, and there is never a moment where you can relax as the line that is now etched into the minds of her readers is that “anyone can betray anyone.” Both in Red Queen and Glass Sword this line is enacted by someone, which adds an unpredictability element to the proceedings. Unpredictability is the key theme that runs throughout the book, even with a Newblood with incredible seer abilities, and the unknown nature of what will happen next is idiosyncratic of Aveyard’s style, perfectly shown in the cliffhanger ending.
It is hard to acknowledge weaknesses in a book that has brought me such enjoyment over the last few days, but I had slight reservations about some aspects of Glass Sword. The first one is my chagrin about the amount of times Aveyard used the word “chagrin”. I have never seen the word chagrin so many times in one book! The next either lies with Mare’s character of Aveyard for mentioning it: the lies. Countless times Mare has some dialogue then it is usually followed by “- I lied.” In both of these examples, I feel that the vocabulary could have been expanded more rather than recycling the same word or phrase over and over again. My last criticism concerns an aspect in the middle of the book, where Mare and her merry band of Scarlet Guard have recruited lots of newbloods, and it was a little hard to keep track of who they were and what ability they possessed. Over the course of the book though, some newbloods became more prominent, such as; Nix, Ada and Cameron. Despite these minor reservations, Glass Sword gallops along at a speedy pace with action scattered throughout the book with no lulls in proceedings, only planning, training and character developments which provide a good balance between action and the non-action parts.
Maven, the villain in the saga, demonstrates his villainy whether he is involved in the action personally or through other means that are equally dastardly. Aveyard has created a villain who not only displays the characteristics commonly associated with such characters, but also, through Mare’s recollection of him during the Red Queen, provides a glimmer of hope for redemption. Though this seems unlikely, to Mare and to some extent Cal, they still hold some semblance of what he used to be like and what he could still be. This could prove to be their undoing in the next installment of it could again take the story down a different avenue in this already shape-shifting tale.
Glass Sword is a fantastic read, that entertains, thrills and excites the reader from beginning to end, and the reader still clamours for more! There is a perfect balance between scenes of action and excitement and those where the suspense is built in the planning and training phase, as well as time for individual characters to demonstrate their evolving personalities as well as introducing new characters who require our attention. This is, in my opinion, an improvement on Red Queen, as I felt I was drawn deeper into the storyline in comparison to the first installment. The pages are now singed at the corners, testament to the speed that I read and lived the words on the pages. Whenever the next book arrives, the pages will be more than singed, they will be on fire as I devour this exhilarating book series which is fast becoming one of my favourites.
Also, a thank you to Orion Publishing for a Scarlet Guard bag for being one of the first 400 people to pre-order Glass Sword!