Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I loved Red Queen, the first book in this series. It was the first unique dystopian I had read in a while. Mare, its protagonist didn’t feel recycled, and her world felt compelling and different (for my full review of Red Queen, click here).

Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard’s second novel follows in the footsteps of Red Queen in creating a vivid, lifelike setting.  I could feel the woods surrounding the Notch, and smell the saltwater waves around Tuck (both places Mare and her crew travel).  The fantastic
world building is perhaps the strongest element of the book, but Glass Sword, may disappoint Aveyard fans in other areas.

Aveyard’s writing is naturally cinematic and suspense driven perhaps because of her career as a screenwriter. Red Queen unfolded like a movie.  In fact, Elizabeth Banks of Hunger Games fame is in talks to direct a Red Queen film.  In Glass Sword, it seems Aveyard is trying to write more lyrically. Instead of sounding flow-y and beautiful however, I found the writing to sound forced and unwelcome and her exciting cinematic style to be gone. Honestly, had it not been for my loving Red Queen I probably would have given up on Mare and her world – at least for the time being.

That’s another thing. Although Mare is clearly written to be unlikable, there are  times I felt Aveyard crossed the line and made her character annoying. Mare simply would not listen to others or learn her lesson. I found it frustrating how oblivious she was to others’ feelings. This would be bearable if Aveyard had more fully developed Mare’s character, but she did not. It wasn’t as if there was no chance for it. At numerous points in the story arc, Mare had the opportunity to grow, but did not.

One thing I really appreciate about Mare though is how she handles romance. Yes, she has romantic interests but they are in no way her priority. Unlike many YA heroines who more often than not choose their love interest over their duty, Mare always put herself and
her cause first. I applaud Aveyard for choosing this path for her heroine. I read an interview where Aveyard said romance wasn’t her strong suit. I beg to differ

The plot of Glass Sword brings up another problem. It seemed much too familiar and quite similar to Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, sometimes to the point where I felt if you changed around the names of characters, I wouldn’t be able to tell the two books apart. This was especially disappointing considering how unique and different Red Queen felt compared to other recent dystopian fiction.

Maybe Glass Sword suffers from sequel-itis. I have met Victoria Aveyard on a number of occasions. She is a talented writer, and dedicated to providing her readers with unique and
compelling characters like Mare.  I hope she will return to the amazing path that Red Queen blazed.

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