This review is a big deal!
I never reread a book! I've only reread children's books and The Bible. That's it! Never done it before, but this book has managed to squeeze a second chance out of me and for a couple of reasons. One: Because a second book was released- with higher accolades that the first. Secondly: There was a book issuing a backstory on a few of the characters. I expect a richer, more developed story and I expect a better carry-through. Will I get it?
We shall see...
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard is a two story book. Listed as 0.1 and 0.2, these books are introductions to particular situations and characters. The first novella is Queen Song and the other is Steel Scars.
Queen Song is the story of Queen Coriane, the first wife of King Tiberius Now since I've read Red Queen already, about a year ago, I already sorta remembered who to like and dislike- which is why I don't reread books! Anyway, because Queen Corianne wasn't in Red Queen, I didn't know her, but I guess this book gives explanation to Cal, or Crowned Prince Tiberius the 7th. His gentle nature, kindness and desire to be free of war unless necessary.
This story was the best of the two and a half shared in this book. I wish it gave more into Cal's up-bringing and the integration of Queen Elara into the royal fold. That would have given this intro so much more meat to chew! And I probably would have hungered for the Red Queen read all over again. Sadly, it gave none of that. This book was partially successful in its release to me- only making me slightly regret purchasing it.
Now, I disliked Steel Scars completely. Yes, I saw where it brought me and I saw a few events play out from my memory of Red Queen- especially during the attack on Reds in the market place. What caused me to dislike it were the exchanges between the factions on the... well, I can't say much without giving anything away. But let me tell you, seeing:
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE HAS BEEN DECODED
CONFIDENTIAL, SENIOR CLEARANCE REQUIRED
Day 11 of Operation RED WEB, Stage 1.
Operative: Captain REDACTED.
Origin: Albanus, NRT.
Destination: RAM at REDACTED.
-ALBANUS/STILTS WHISTLE willing to collaborate w/Stage 2.
-Has eyes inside SUMMERTON/King’s seasonal palace.
-Also mentioned contacts within the Red Army at CORVIUM. Will pursue.
RISE, RED AS THE DAWN.
repeated page after page, over and over again, in-between the story was annoying as all getup! I wanted to throw the book against my wall! Yes, it fed me info on Farley and how Mare fell into her plan but still- it was boring. Eventually it leads you to Mare, but that's all I can really say. I don't want to give anything away.
Did I become a bigger Aveyard fan with this book? Nope, but I immensely enjoyed Queen's Song! There are 208 pages in total, but only the first 54 were truly worth reading. Thank goodness I had book one to fall in to. I know nothing of Glass Sword. I sure hope it's full of excitement.
Rating: 👓👓👓out of 5 specs
"Anyone can betray anyone"...
Since I read this once, I made sure to pay extra attention to the tale, ensuring I didn't walk away as dry as I originally did. I wanted so much to really fall for this book. Everybody else did!
So Red Queen is about Mare Barrow, a poor girl is forced to make a difference, starting in one kingdom but hopefully the world! Civilization is separated into Red's and Silvers (your blood color). Red's are practically enslaved, made to serve the Silvers, who are considered gods incarnate. They possess gifts, from telekinetically controlling machinery to making things grow and even mind manipulation. But what happens when a lowly Red shows the gift of a Silver- in public!? That's what Mare that's what the story is all about!
This is my second time reading this book. The first time, I totally hated it. I thought it was interesting but weak, because there were way too many dystopian worlds where young adults were saving the world! Grown-ups were so flaccid, they all needed their kids to either fight in wars or over-throw governments! Most kids aren't into that and with books like Maze Runner series, Hunger Games and more, I was just tired. It all became literate babble to me. An incessant hum of "Wolverines!" but on a futuristic level.
So on the second-go-round, I found... I was still slightly interested, but not caught up. The story idea is good, and in my mind's eye, I saw all things happening, but it was still kinda lame to me. Now, as the reader, we discover why Mare/Mareena is an abborition but the reasoning for the kingdom to steal her was moot! They never tried to discover why she was different, they just thew a new identity over her. It didn't make sense! Then (it could be a me thing), Mare came off as the perfect version of Female Fickle! She bounced with love and admiration from Cal to Maven so many times, my mind was discombobulated! She was too evidently. She kept going from wanting to be a hero and save her people to being a love-sick puppy with the two men she didn't really love! To her, Maven went from a supportive, near-love to cunning and disgusting- it was funny! Mare was lost man and she had me lost too!
Now the twist at the end, with Maven and the Queen- that was awesome (Mare deserved it). It was still silly, using the "Little Lightning Girl" for a simple game to usurp the throne... it could have been done without her. It didn't fit as nicely for me as it did for others. I still give it three specs, but maybe Glass Sword will do better for me.
Rating: 👓👓👓 out of 5 specs
In Glass Sword, Mare turns out to be the BIGGEST idiot! She's almost as bad as the lead heroine of the Razorland series (reviewed on 9/7-11 of 2015)! And that series sucked big time! I think this is the first series where there were back to back to back backstabs! Seriously! And each time, the one stabbed was our hero- yours and mine: Mare Barrow! Ugh!
The story picks up where Red Queen ended, the escape. Mare and Cal got away from Mavin and his army, but they ended up in another snare of their making. I got about five chapters in before just wanting to throw this book just as hard as I'd tossed its predecessor! But you know what, this is a slight reality to having kids trying to save a country that grown-ups run, powers or not! And I cracked up when Cal has the nerve to say:
"He isn't a child, Mare. You don't have to protect him anymore."
"But he is a child; he's a teenager"- I screamed at the book!
It's not like they've all aged and this has taken place a few years later- it's been a month! I know, I'm insane for screaming at books. It's a Reader thing!
Lastly, I began to feel like Mare and the Gang turned into Professor Xavier & The X-men when they began rounding up Spark Plugs! The various powers and such was a bit much and I found myself not very happy with the story again. I really got bored with the series. I think The Red Queen series has turned me off of dystopian reads. It's all the same and I miss the Lunar Chronicles...
Rating: 👓👓👓 out of 5 specs
So in conclusion, I have to say, I give Victoria Aveyard's The Red Queen series (after going through half the series twice) three stars. I may not even touch the final book. If I do, it's only to complete the series, not because I want to know how it all ends. Sorry guys: predictability, similarity to other stories and annoying characters; I'm still not a permenatnt fan, but very good writing. I was entertained, but not enough...
Rating: 👓👓👓 out of 5 specs
*Multiple Choice is next.
**Audiobook of Cruel Crown was from my Audible.com collection while Red Queen and Glass Sword were from my personal library.
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