MILD SPOILERS BELOW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
When the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.
Goodreads Rating: 4.03/5 Stars
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’ll admit, this was one of the books that I had on pre-order earlier this year, so I have had a copy of this novel since it first dropped back in February. However, I felt myself procrastinating on this book like no other until a couple weeks ago, when I forced myself to read it and to just get it over and done with. This novel was a case of me beginning to read the story and then putting it aside when other books came along. I was able to finish the book when I was on vacation, but it was a hard fight to reach that point.
I’m not quite sure what it was that caused me to have such a difficult time with the novel. If I was to place one possible aspect, it would probably be the overall pacing of the book. For myself, it felt as if there was a lot happening, but also nothing at the same time. I’m not sure if that’s because I have spent so much time away from the story and the world itself, or if that was an actual problem with the writing in general.
I was also struggling with the characterization. It felt as if we have hit a rut with the character development. Since this is a four book series, there is a lot that Victoria has to balance out in terms of plot and characterization. With the first two books doing heavy lifting in with both of those aspects, I feel that this book plateaued with both. I simply wasn’t seeing Mare evolve into the hero that I want her to be – which, in some ways, is refreshing; but, it also meant that I grew quickly disinterested with the happenings of the novel. (However! The unveilings about Maven’s past with his mother, Elara, definitely suceeded in making me more empathetic towards our antagonist, even if I still dislike him.)
But, I was surprised to see Victoria weaving other character perspectives into the plot as well. With Mare being cut off from the Red Guard, it was a strong move to bring in the point of views of other characters within the story. While she used a couple minor characters to illustrate this, I found that I enjoyed these perspectives more than those from Mare’s perspective. I liked these other perspectives because they came from characters of varying ages and it gave us, the reader, the chance to view both Mare and the events of the story from new eyes. That’s something that is always refreshing and important to story telling, as it can completely alter the reader’s thoughts about the main character.
In the end, the novel didn’t start picking up for myself until the last two hundred pages or so. When my ship (Cal and Mare forever!) reunited, I grew more invested in the story. (What can I say – I’m a sucker for romance.) With the space between us and Maven, our villain, more suspense and tension grew for me. Not only that, but the relationship between Mare and Cal developed in ways that I wasn’t imagining would happen in this novel.
Overall, I definitely did not enjoy this book as much as Red Queen. Victoria’s debut novel simply cannot be denied its freshness and originality; nevertheless, the following two novels have not gotten to that level of awesomeness for myself. Here’s to hoping for a kick-butt finale!
Red Queen (Series)
“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
― Victoria Aveyard,