Book Reviews

Review: “Glass Sword,” Victoria Aveyard

March 12, 2016
Review: “Glass Sword,” Victoria AveyardGlass Swordby Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Published by Orion on February, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 444
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

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?

Glass Sword took me forever to read. Did I particularly enjoy it’s predecessor, Red Queen? No. Why did I want to pick up the next instalment? Well, despite feeling no allegiance to any of the characters or the plot, after the penultimate ‘Bowl of Bones’ scene in Red Queen, I did harbour some hope that Glass Sword was going to improve. I’m sad to say that I was wrong.

Glass Sword is more of the same. If you didn’t like Red Queen, then you’ll find yourself in the same boat as me. The characters remain incredibly unlikeable (particularly Mare) and it offers nothing new in the way of fantasy/dystopian young adult.

 “I fear being alone more than anything else. So why do I do this? Why do I push away the people I love? What is so very wrong with me? I don’t know. And I don’t know how to make it stop.”
– Mare

Mare is, and let me stress this, EXTREMELY unlikable. If she was bad in Red Queen, she’s worse in Glass Sword. Mare has developed this complex that she’s ‘more valuable’ than anyone else, and that everyone else – friend or not – is beneath her. She’s constantly observing that the people she’s supposed to ‘love’, such as her brothers and Cal, are stupid and merely boys in the world of men. I mean, have a little respect for these people that are still at your side despite your god complex.

Instead of hardening and growing from her trials, Mare is this whining, unlikable character that manages to bring the whole series down. She uses people and freely admits to it, and yet we’re supposed to feel some kind of sympathy for her? She doesn’t even think about her family that are straight Reds. She’s just the worst. And for all her ‘smarts’ (I say this lightly. I mean, Mare thinks she’s smart, obviously –why else would she be calling everyone else stupid?!) she sure is dumb. Mare makes stupid decisions… and then blames everyone else when things go south.

I cannot even fathom why characters like Cal and Kilorn are scrambling for her affections. I mean, I harbour no warm feelings toward either of these guys, but they must be gluttons for punishment. Mare is constantly swapping from self-loathing to self-importance that she doesn’t have any time for romantic feelings. To be honest I had no inkling as to WHO she even liked, what with all the put-downs and judgement to those around her, so imagine my surprise when she’s in the Notch kissing Cal and proclaiming how dangerous their feelings are for one another.

What feelings, Mare? You barely even touched on them throughout the majority of the book.

“Fire and lightning raised Maven up, and fire and lightning will bring him down.”

Ugh. Glass Sword was just a mire of grumbling for me. I have to also admit that it’s the only book in the history of ever that I had to put it down in the middle of a chapter. Usually I wait for a chapter end or break, but I just couldn’t press on with this one at times. It was sluggish and hurt my brain. Even with the climactic point of action, I put it down for later. What does that say about a book?

This books also suffers from being ‘overly quotable’. Instead of it being beautiful and wonderfully crafted, it simply comes off as ‘trying to hard’. It’s as if Victoria Aveyard is pushing too hard to get all those creative readers out there making graphics of her characters alongside ‘meaningful quotes’ and it just rubs me the wrong way. There’s also a lot of the structure that bothers me; for instance, Mare is constantly saying things like: ‘where it leads – I don’t know’ and ‘what it means – I cannot say’. There are tonnes of variations within the book and it just started to bug me because I was noticing it so much.

“But I can’t shake the feeling that, while they stand with me, there’s no one beside me. Even with an army at my back, I am still alone.”
– Mare

There was also a slew of new characters within Glass Sword. Do we get to know them or even develop feelings for them? Nope. Instead we’re merely told how they came to the group after the simple recruitment of the first Newblood, Nix. Suddenly we have around 10-12 new characters stirred into the mix, with no idea how they got there or why we should care about them. Character development for what could have been interesting side characters was merely swept under the rug in favour of Mare and her never-ending self-importance.

Glass Sword gets by with a two-star rating purely because it was a constructed story. If I didn’t save my one-stars for the most ludicrous books I read, this would have been up there. I can safely say that my relationship with this series is at an end. After giving it a good go, I figured it out that it just doesn’t work for me. I have no desire to read about a ‘heroine’ I absolutely despise.

About Victoria Aveyard

After growing up in small town Massachusetts, Victoria Aveyard attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She graduated with a BFA in Screenwriting, which is exactly the degree being sought after in a recession. She tries her best to combine her love of history, explosions, and butt-kicking heroines in her writing. Her hobbies include the impossible task of predicting what happens next in A Song of Ice and Fire, road trips, and burning through Netflix.


  • Reply Anissa @ She Reads Too Much March 19, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Oh gosh, it’s exactly so many of these reasons that make me hesitant to start reading Glass Sword. I was not big fan of Red Queen, but I was hoping GS would be better. I’m still going to give it a try just cause though, haha, but I have a pretty strong feeling I won’t like it too much. Ugh. Mare.
    Anissa @ She Reads Too Much recently posted…17 Reasons I would be the worst YA heroineMy Profile

  • Reply Zoe @ Stories on Stage March 12, 2016 at 8:37 am

    THIS. I just finished Glass Sword and I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. Mare’s attitude here irked me as well – she was so selfish and arrogant. Sorry this was such a disappointment for you too, but thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. ♥
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…PassengerMy Profile

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