Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
My rating: ★★★
Goodreads summary: 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.
Let me just start off by saying this book might’ve received a higher rating from me if it wasn’t for the main character, MARE BARROW.
Or should I say the “lightning girl”, since that was repeated about 1000 times in Glass Sword.
This sequel was clearly a character-driven story, but unfortunately because of the extremely annoying protagonist I really struggled to get through it. I found myself longing for multiple perspectives or something so I could have a break from reading Mare’s selfish, arrogant inner dialogue. There were quite a few times I wanted to chuck this book out a window because of how much Mare got on my nerves; never have I wanted to punch a lead character in the face so badly! How do I even begin to describe her personality? She was terribly self-centered and cynical, but to frustrate you even more, she was constantly contradicting herself. One moment Mare would be placing herself on a pedestal, thinking herself far more valuable than any of the other “newbloods” or especially any of the reds without abilities. Then a page later shes wallowing in self-pity, complaining that she’s no better or worse than anyone else and that everyone treats her differently than the others. Well what do you expect Mare when you go around Lording yourself over everyone?? This back and forth nonsense between holier-than-thou and self-pitying attitudes went on throughout the whole book! Speaking of repetition, she also managed to mention her lack of trust for anyone and everyone 24/7. “Anyone can betray anyone.” — Alright I get it! Enough already!!
I’m starting to wonder if Aveyard was going for an “anti-heroine” character with Mare in this book, judging by how her character growth was anything but positive. Now I’m not saying that a female anti-hero protagonist can’t work, because it totally can (Exhibit A: Adelina Amouteru, The Young Elites series). However in Mare’s case, it just didn’t work for me. I think in order to have a good anti-hero character there must be a balance between his/her good as well as bad traits. They must be flawed of course, but they need to have some relatable, redeeming qualities about them as well. That being said, I cant think of any real redeeming qualities possessed by Mare. She trusts no one, she manipulates others into doing what she wants while giving them a false sense of having a choice in the matter, she blames everyone but herself for any hardships or suffering she faces, she easily forgets about her family/ doesn’t make them a priority even when they need her most, and she is a godawful friend.
Aside from my obvious distaste for Mare, there were a few other issues I had with this sequel. I found the pacing to be quite slow. The recruitment process dragged on and on, and I often found myself skimming through paragraphs trying to get to an interesting part. It wasn’t until the last 100 pages or so that my interest was actually piqued. The addition of Cameron to the story was one of its saving graces; her presence made up for me not being able to punch Mare in the face. I loved her attitude; she didn’t mince words, especially when it came to telling Mare what she thinks of her.
Other than Cameron, Cal seemed to be the only character with the guts to call Mare on her crap. It is thanks to these two that I didn’t give this book a 2 star rating!
All things considered, I would say that this book suffered from a case of the second book blues. It really felt like a filler to me, but I’m glad I trudged through it because at least by the end of it I had some desire to pick up the third installment. Which is a good thing, because I already bought it before reading Glass Sword! Hopefully my opinion of King’s Cage will be a more positive one. If you read this book and enjoyed it, I’m glad for you! I really wanted to love it, but it just wasn’t working for me for 90 percent of the book.