I loved Red Queen and Glass Sword!
and I totally dig a political book.
But … ugh!
Disappointment is a bitter dish my friends!
SPOILER ALERT: From this point on, there may be unmarked spoilers for previous book in this series. There are no unmarked major spoilers for this particular book.
This book takes place after the conclusion of Glass Sword with Mare Barrow, the lightning girl, now the captive pawn in King Maven’s game of deceit and lies and political power. What will become of the little lightning girl now that her power has been taken? What will become of the rising rebellion on the heels of retreat and their intentions called to question? Battles, hearts and lives will be won and lost in book three of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. But who will win the war?
What I did not like
I live for politics, backstabbing and rebellion in books. Honestly some of my all time favorite subjects to read. This book had it all … but unfortunately, related in the most boring way possible. This book lacked the emotion, the tension and excitement that raptured my attention and held me captive through books one and two! All of the political strategy and rebellious activity felt too far removed from me as the reader, I almost didn’t care at all. I felt like someone could have been chronicling that time their cat sat in the window for seven hours and then yawned. Like … who cares this is boring?
I’m pretty sure this was a point-of-view issue. Mare’s character was too wrapped up in Mare and the mundane day-to-day of her new, very routine and separated life, that her pov really had little to offer to the story. Mare was not a part of the action most of the time and was too distant from the politics or the planning to be able to give an exciting account of any of it. I wonder if perhaps a Maven pov would have been a better move on Aveyard’s part. As a result, Mare and everyone around her as well as the events just felt flat!
Speaking of pov, we did get a few new pov in this book. Honestly I was expecting to see a Cal pov and was deeply disappointed to find that this was not the case. Instead, we were given Cameron’s pov in order to relate the events surrounding The Scarlet Guard and their dealings. I use the word “events” loosely here as it honestly felt like, again, very little actually happened. I found Cameron to be a very dull character, not to mention self-centered which resulted in a limited view of other characters I DID care to see more of currently on the rebellion side of things (i.e. Cal, Farley, and Mare’s entire family). Cameron spent most of her time moping and relating a rather monotone inner monologue. Cameron really only cared about Cameron so the actions and descriptions of those around here were extremely limited and detached. In a sea of boring pov, hers was the dullest. We got a VERY limited view of Cal (who was mostly just described in passing as a brooding character in the corner) … as well as a limited view of Farley (although slightly more interestingly so). Again, I feel like perhaps a Cal pov or even a Farley pov would have been a better choice here. There was one fleeting moment where I found Cameron’s pov to be interesting, but that could easily have been translated into a different pov and still been successful.
I knew going into this book that I was not going to get the Mare/Cal dynamic that I was able to really enjoy and fall in love with in the previous books. However, I was expecting to get a warped and depraved Maven. Like I was REALLY excited about it! I mean COME ON! The words “I kneel” taunted me for over a year with the expectations and anticipation of a perverted and toxic Mare/Maven dynamic! I was EXTREMELY disappointed to actually receive a Maven who was distant and reserved and flat. There was very little interaction between Maven and Mare at all which feels like a VERY missed opportunity by Aveyard. I was legit HERE for the Maven/Mare dynamic … and I got none.
What I did Like
What I did get was a little more understanding as to Maven’s past actions as well as some decently well placed political moves between the kingdoms and families that should lay the groundwork for book four.
The writing itself was really great, and A few other characters underwent some character growth in this book and a little more backstory on a few others which was nice. Specifically, Mare, has grown exponentially since the timid girl of Red Queen. This book highlights a Mare who has been shaped by loss and responsibility. She is angry and she is kickass and she is strong. Unfortunately she spent most of the book being oppressed and unable to summon her powers … but let me tell you … once she was unleashed … IT WAS ON!
I also really enjoyed the last perhaps 30% of this book exceptionally well. What we see take place in the last bit of this book is, (again) some pretty great political strategy (which I will refrain from spoiling), as well as the addition of a surprisingly epic Evangeline pov, and of course a few reunions and battle scenes that really brought out the action and the emotions for a super strong ending to this book!
I mean THAT ENDING WAS EPIC AND BEAUTIFUL AND UGLY and I just want to wrap myself in it like a blanket and forget that the rest of the book ever happened!
With a really strong finish, I am actually still really excited for book four to this series. I will try to keep my expectations pretty low though because this book was basically a heaping pile of disappointment. We see some interesting groundwork laid out for the inevitable conclusion of this story, but the overall feel of this book was stagnant with very little rise and fall to hold my interest. Hopefully book four will have a stronger arc. AND EVIL MAVEN PLEASE!