Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Published by: HarperTeen on February 9th, 2016
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy
Find It: Goodreads
Rating: 2 Stars
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.
Picking up exactly where Red Queen left off, Glass Sword promised to be as action-packed and thrilling as its predecessor. Poor pacing, where the plot seemed to be stuck on repeat. Even poorer characterization. Both kept me from fully enjoying the few good things Glass Sword did have to offer.
Red Queen had me hooked from the beginning. Glass Sword, on the other hand, took until the last few chapters to prove that it had been worth reading at all. Focusing almost exclusively on recruiting the Newbloods, Glass Sword’s plot was stuck on loop. Fly to a nearby town. Use a Newblood’s ability to help them remain unseen. Convince a new Newblood to join their cause. Return home. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It definitely didn’t help that when something threatened to break the loop, like when Maven ambushed them for example, Mare would “black out” and the promised action would disappear. Instead of getting to experience the action first-hand, we would be told about what had happened, efficiently destroying any tension that might have existed.
The pacing issues in Glass Sword could have been mostly overlooked if the characters had been able to make up for it. Unfortunately, I found myself constantly irritated with most of them, Mare most especially. Despite the confidence that others seemed to have in Mare’s abilities, and despite possessing an arrogance about her powers’ strength, Mare was constantly in need of being saved.
I see you as you could become, no longer the lightning, but the storm. The storm that will swallow the world entire.
In moments of anxiousness, Mare would call to her lightning, to remind herself of her inner strength. When the moment came to truly use her powers, however, it was Shade or Cal who had to step in to get the job done.
Mare also possessed this unwavering insistence that she could handle virtually anything, because she’d suffered worse during her month with the Silvers
Luckily, I have experience in this kind of thing.
But I think the trait that bothered me the most throughout Glass Sword was Mare’s reckless selfishness. She claimed to do everything in the best interests of the group, but her actions seemed to conveniently advance her own agenda. I think her selfishness stood out so much more in Glass Sword because of how easily she forgot about her family, despite spending so much time worrying about them inRed Queen.
It Wasn’t All Bad, Though
One of the things I did enjoy about Mare’s characterization in Glass Sword was how she lived with her guilt. The guilt of having killed someone. Of having abandoned her family without a second thought. And of promising the Newbloods she would keep them safe when that wasn’t a promise she knew she could keep.
I feel something like hands around my throat, threatening to squeeze the life from me. Each word tightens the grip, as if ink alone can strangle me.
I also LOVED that she had to grapple with her feelings for Maven. Considering everything he’s done, it would have been really easy (and believable) for Mare to hate him. And while there’s a part of her that hates Maven’s actions, there’s a bigger part of her that is disgusted with herself for missing him. For loving the boy she thought he was.
Even though I didn’t like that the focus of Glass Sword was on Newblood recruitment, I did appreciate that it allowed the world to grow in front of my eyes. I also enjoyed small moments of the world-building continuity:
He flushes silver, the tips of his ears turning bone white in embarrassment.
Once I got through the first three quarters of Glass Sword, I really started to enjoy it! Enjoying the last few chapters was definitely not enough to make up for the overall poor pacing and characterization issues, though. 2 Stars.