Cruel Crown

Cruel Crown

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Red Queen. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Cruel Crown is an anthology that was written by Victoria Aveyard and first published in 2016. It collects the short stories Queen Song (2015) and Steel Scars (2016), as well as the first four chapters of Glass Sword. The stories are both set within the universe of the Red Queen, a world where ordinary humans (Reds) are slaved by a race of people with super powers (Silvers). While the short stories are prequels, they are designed to be read between Red Queen (2015) and Glass Sword (2016).

Queen Song reveals entries from the secret diary of Coriane, daughter to the House Jacos and mother of Prince Cal. The story follows her from her early teens, growing up in isolation with only her brother Julian and best friend Sara for company. When she meets Tiberias, heir to the Nortan throne, she finally experiences true happiness. However, as Tibe proposes to her, she finally learns how dangerous Silver society really is.

Steel Scars follows Diana Farley, a young captain in the Scarlet Guard, as she receives her first real mission. Farley’s job is to lead a covert team around Norta, forming a web of contacts that can be trusted to traffic people, arms and secrets behind enemy lines. However, her plans start to derail as she meets a deserter by the name of Shade Barrow. Shade has a secret, one that Farley believes could turn the tide against the Silvers once and for all.

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Red Queen

Red Queen

Red Queen was first published in 2015 and was written by Victoria Aveyard. It is a dystopian high fantasy novel and is the first part of a planned series. The novel recently won the Goodreads Award for best debut novel. Its sequel, Glass Sword, and a collection of two short prequel stories titled Cruel Crown are due for release in early 2016.

Mare Barrow was born a Red and is therefore destined to live in poverty. Her people are seen as nothing more than slaves for the Silvers – aristocrats who possess God-like powers. The Reds are given no choice to work for them, doing the tasks that the Silvers feel are beneath them and fighting on the front lines of their wars. Refusal would mean instant death.

Naturally, Mare hates the Silvers but still finds herself working in the royal palace as an alternative to conscription. After surviving a terrible accident, she discovers the unthinkable. She too possesses powers – the ability to control electricity – something that no Red has ever done before.

Realising that they must cover this up, the King poses Mare as a lost Silver Princess and betroths her to his youngest son, Maven. Thrust into a world that she barely understands, Mare is forced to learn how to act like a Silver and play their games of betrayal. One false step could mean her death but that’s not the only danger. The Scarlet Guard – a band of Red rebels – have begun a systematic assault on the Silvers and now Mare is in the perfect position to help them oust the King…

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