"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."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
*Spoilers for Red Queen ahead*
Red Queen was easily one of my favorite debut novels of 2015, and though I eagerly awaited Glass Sword, the second book of the series, I was concerned that the sequel would be unable to do its predecessor justice (as is the curse of the middle book of many YA series). My fears were assuaged by Glass Sword’s complex world building, intricate plotting, dynamic character growth, and lyric prose - all of the things that made me love Red Queen.
While most of the world-building in Red Queen was first introducing the reader to the general setting of the Stilts (and the differences between Reds and Silvers), and then Mare’s exploration of the vastly different world of Silvers and royalty, Glass Sword opens Mare’s (and the reader’s) eyes to the underground world of the Scarlet Guard. For those of you who’ve read Steel Scars, the novella detailing Farley’s involvement with the Scarlet Guard leading up to her meeting Mare for the first time, some details may not be new, but there are a plethora of new discoveries within the Scarlet Guard. What Mare thought was a small, hastily put together team of rebels is in fact a sprawling underground movement, with a network spanning farther than the borders of Norta. Indeed, Glass Sword introduces us to more countries than simply Norta and the Lakelands, further expanding Mare’s world - and possibilities for what’s to come.
In Red Queen, Mare’s emotions were plagued by her conflicting loyalties and guilt over her involvement with the Scarlet Guard, but her heart is far more bitterly turmoiled in Glass Sword. While Mare may rejoice in her long-lost brother Shade’s return, her feelings are complicated after Maven’s brutal betrayal. Mare is haunted by her former fiancé - alternating between a sickening thirst for revenge, and missing the person he pretended to be; her conflicting feelings toward Maven are mirrored by Cal, who lost his brother as well as his father through Maven’s deceit. Mare and Cal share their trauma and change as a result, but character development isn’t exclusive to them. Farley and Kilorn have grown and changed as well - and, of course, so has Maven, though it’s not so much growth as a slimy regression, shedding his former skin to show his true colors.
But Mare’s turmoil is quelled, at least temporarily, by her mission ahead: to find the other Reds that possess Silver powers and recruit them to the Scarlet Guard before Maven can kill them off. Worse yet, her mission is unsanctioned, her only allies a close few. But soon, as their figures swell, so does their confidence, though it belies the ever-increasing danger. A long-distance game of cat-and-mouse ensues, until Mare is too emotionally embroiled to see Maven’s careful plotting, and their carefully-wrought plans hang in the balance.
Glass Sword is carefully and smartly written, paced quickly enough to hold the reader’s attention and appropriately communicate the dangerous, high-stakes atmosphere, but thoughtful enough to not neglect the character development or other important details as the electrifying plot progresses. The story unfolds with Victoria Aveyard’s same graceful prose, straightforward but poetic, and is a deeply satisfying read. It does end on an infuriating cliff hanger, though, reinforcing the reader’s hunger for the next installment in the the series, King’s Cage (although I doubt readers need that specific motivation, as the Red Queen series has been highly successful thus far). I will be impatiently waiting until then.
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.