Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 9th, 2016 by HarperTeen
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color 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 Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive 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?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
This review may contain spoilers from the first book. Proceed with caution if you haven’t read Red Queen.
I wasn’t sure what ‘electrifying’ means, but I’ve seen it used very often when describing or reviewing books and movies, so I looked it up. According to my dictionary, electrifying means ‘causing a surge of emotion or excitement’. This is only half true in my case. Because while it didn’t cause a surge of excitement, Glass Sword did evoke a powerful emotion, and that emotion is annoyance.
When I started reading Glass Sword, I was hoping to like it more than I liked Red Queen. Not only because I see great potential in the story, but because Glass Sword is probably one of the most hyped books I’ve seen on social media (I never learn, do I?). I figured that there must be a lot of action and suspense and thrill in the second book to follow up what happened at the end of Red Queen. While all this did happen in Glass Sword, I had a colossal problem with it, and that problem was Mare Barrow.
Glass Sword started the moment Red Queen ended, and because I read this book right after finishing the first one, I still remember everything, or almost everything, that happened. Mare and the gang are on the run from you-know-who and trying to recruit the names from the list to join their army while facing her internal struggle and dealing with what happened to her.
Let’s start with what I like about Glass Sword. I really enjoyed the story, and while I don’t think it’s the most original, I like the concept a lot, and it kept me reading until the very end. The idea that society is divided by blood is fascinating to me because usually it’s always rich vs. poor, kings/nobles vs. peasants/working people, and while the Red Queen series has the same divisions, it has something extra; red blood vs. silver blood, powerless vs. powerful. And then we have Mare, who is a little of both; she has red blood with silver powers. I like how it’s more than just defeating a corrupted government; this series is showing how two different groups of people can be united. At least, that’s how I see it.
In Red Queen, I could see every single plot twist before they even happened. It was very predictable. So I was very happy to find that Glass Sword was not. A few things happened in the book that I didn’t see coming. And even though I didn’t like some of those surprises, they did keep me on my toes. I did have a problem with some scenes. I felt like they were too abrupt, and could’ve been explored more. To those who have read the book, one of these scenes is the end of Chapter 26 and the beginning of Chapter 27. How did that even happen? I also wanted to know more about the newbloods. I thought that their part of the story wasn’t expanded enough, and it would be very interesting to learn more about their powers. Instead, I got to read about Mare, the little lightning girl.
I felt like Mare was acting more like a villain than a hero in this book. She was very arrogant and contrary. Mare-y Mare-y quite contrary. One second she would think “Oh, I’m all alone, I’m in a group but separate. They don’t think I’m one of them” and suddenly she would change her opinion like “no, I’m the lightning girl, I’m special, I don’t need these peasants”. If I’m not mistaken, she only found out about her powers and lived as a noble for a few months, not even a year, but she acted like she’s lived like that forever. Constantly saying things like “I’m using the princess’ voice Lady Blonos taught me” etc. And she was so arrogant OMG. Whenever she’s not sulking about how alone she was, or how she couldn’t trust anyone, or how she kept reminiscing about who Maven used to be, she would point out how superior she was compared to everyone else. She actually said:
“…she’s (Farley) just human. She’s braver than I gave her credit for.”
Excuse me, Mare, are you not human? A few months ago she was just a thief in the Stilts, and now she’s this super amazing superhuman with no equal?
“I’m the greatest weapon of all on a ship full of warriors, and they don’t seem to know it”
Not to mention how she contradicts herself every few pages, and how she underestimates everyone. I really disliked the way she treated her family and friends, constantly implying that Kilorn was useless because he’s powerless and how he’s jealous of the newbloods because of their powers. In the entire book, she’s always saying how she couldn’t trust ANYONE. ‘Anyone can betray anyone’. Every time I saw a variation of that phrase, I swear I rolled my eyes. I felt sorry for her, actually. I feel sorry for anyone who feels like they can never trust anyone ever. Because even though anyone can betray you, doesn’t mean that everyone would. I actually have a lot more to say about Mare, but I think this is enough.
The other characters weren’t really much better either. I’m still indifferent towards Cal, and I still like Kilorn. I prefer the minor characters more than the main characters in Glass Sword. I thought Farley was really cool; Shade was an interesting character, and I really do want to know more about the other newbloods. This is one of those books where I think a third-person narrative would be better than a first-person narrative, but oh well…
So in the end, I’m giving Glass Sword 2 stars; it was okay. If I were rating this based on Mare’s character alone, I would probably DNF it. I actually almost did a few times. But I liked the story enough to keep reading until the end. I noticed that Red Queen would be a four book series, but I can’t imagine what else there could be in the third book because all I can see after Glass Sword is the ending. I don’t know if I want to read the next book. I know I won’t be buying my own copy, so if a friend has the third book, I might borrow it. But who knows? Maybe I will; maybe I won’t.
“Anyone can betray anyone.”
-Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword