Published: 11th February 2016
Source: NetGalley (Orion)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult
If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.
Mare's blood is red - the colour of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
I was looking forward to this book in that vague way you look forward to any sequel in a series you’ve started reading. I acknowledged I wanted to read it and continue Mare’s story and then promptly put all other details of it out of mind. When I requested it from NetGalley I felt that excitement you get from continuing a series you know you enjoyed and then started reading.
It’s The Same But Different If You Know What I Mean?
I felt this book both was what I expected and was something completely different at the same time. It’s hard to explain because after reading Red Queen I did feel that sense of having read this story before. It’s hard to make dystopians stand out when the YA genre has been awash with them in the past few years, so Red Queen had never felt groundbreaking, but it was original. In that way I expected to feel the same about Glass Sword… but I didn’t. This is actually a good thing, sure it still felt like other dystopians with the usual obstacles, but the actual tone and path of the book felt different somehow. This may be because this book has a darker tone to a lot of other YA dystopians, most other dystopian series don’t reach a despairing dark tone until the third book, this one just gets right in there.
It’s Dark, But Is It Enjoyable?
I liked the dark tone of this book, at least initially. Aveyard very smartly reflects the turn the story has taken. Mare has been betrayed by someone she was close to and trusted almost implicitly and that has quite an effect on her and on Cal. They have learnt that they have to be wary and it means Mare turns to dark introspection at every opportunity. At first, her thoughts and doubts were interesting and refreshing, but it does begin to grate on you after a while. I understand why she feels the way she does, but it does get a bit boring as her thoughts don’t change and she continually lashes out at those around her and then feels guilty and apologises.
Thankfully, there is more than the refreshing dark tone of the book to get you through. Sure, you spend most of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop and for a betrayal to happen, but there is an interesting story going on as well. Mare and her little band of misfits are on a mission to find others like Mare and train them up and it was interesting seeing the recruiting happen and seeing how the group interacts with one another. I loved the relationship between Mare and Cal, that was interesting their lack of trust and dependency upon one another was interesting to read. But more important than that was Mare’s friendship with Kilorn and the fact you get no awkward love triangle there. The only potential love triangle in this book is the one which includes Maven. Can we take a moment to appreciate Maven’s skill at being a villain, he barely appears in the story but his presence is continually felt. He has wormed his way into Mare’s head and she can’t shake him, which is creepy and a complete sign of an abusive relationship, but insanely interesting to read about as well. You want Mare to be able to move beyond the past but she is in continual turmoil clinging to wait happened and unable to move ahead.
Overall, What Do I Reckon?
I don’t know, I’m in two minds about this book. I loved so much about it, I loved the development of the story and the development of the characters in very real directions, but at the same time I was annoyed by it. I’ve mentioned Mare’s repetetive frame of mind was boring in the end, but even that gets called out in the book so it was intentional and genius. I mentioned that I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and for grand betrayal to happen and that building of anticipation for some big event built throughout the book and that was genius too. The characters were amazing, I fell even more in love with Farley, she had my favourite line in Red Queen and she was great in this book too. I did find myself getting annoyed with some characters, but that’s a book for you, it wasn’t enough for me to stop reading. It’s really hard to say.
Sometimes I find myself being annoyed with this book because it didn’t meet some of my expectations, but then other times I love it and want to shout about it. It’s ridiculous, it is a book I think will stay with me for a while with me mulling over it, and I like when a book does that to me.
Have you ever read a book that gave you conflicting emotions that you had to take the time to reconcile before you could form your full opinion? And do you find yourself still venturing into genres you’re normally bored of and discovering hidden gems?