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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Glass Sword

Glass Sword

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

Sorry for the delay in this review, it’s taken a bit longer to get over my cold than I expected and I wanted to ensure that I was able to do this story justice by giving it my full attention. Glass Sword was written by Victoria Aveyard and first published in 2016. It’s the sequel to the excellent Red Queen and picks up the story precisely where its prequel left off. Aveyard has also published a collection of two short stories under the title Cruel Crown which are designed to be read between Red Queen and Glass Sword.

Mare Barrow is finally free of her Silver oppressors. She and Cal were rescued by the Red Guard and spirited away to their safe haven. Mare is overjoyed to find that the rebels have rescued her entire family and ensured that they are healthy and comfortable, however her joy is short-lived. The Colonel has taken a severe disliking to Mare and has no desire to help her to find and rescue other Red-and-Silver fighters like herself.

When Mare discovers that the Colonel also plans to trade Cal back to Maven, she knows that she can’t stand by. Mounting a daring rescue, she flees into the night with Cal and a small group of her most loyal allies. She knows that it’s her duty to locate the other new-bloods and bring them together. They each possess powers that are completely unlike anything that the Silvers have ever experienced before, and Mare knows that this will turn the tide of the brewing war.

However, time is not on Mare’s side. Maven also knows the identities of the new-bloods and will stop at nothing to find and kill them all before they can be recruited. The king’s methods are growing increasingly cruel and he desires nothing more than to break the Little Lightning Girl. And it’s working. With every failed rescue, Mare’s heart is steadily growing colder. Will she be able to find the strength to spark a rebellion or will she find herself becoming as big a monster as her enemy?

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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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