Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard is the second in the Red Queen series and continues the story of Mare Barrow and her struggle to end the oppression of the non superpowered Reds by the Silvers.
When we left Mare at the end of Red Queen she was not in a good place, both in a practical sense and emotionally. She feels betrayed by those she cared about and many of her allies are lost or alienated. Nevertheless, she focusses herself on the goal of rescuing those who, like Mare, are of Red heritage but display Silver abilities.
Although that is the goal of the book, the focus is far more on Mare’s psychological distress as she attempts to come to terms with what she has experienced as well as what is expected of her. The title is clearly a metaphor for Mare; she is a weapon, but is very fragile and could easily be shattered. In this respect, Glass Sword is faintly reminiscent of Catching Fire or Mockingjay which also deals with the protagonist’s PTSD.
What I liked
Vulnerable protagonist. I enjoyed that the main character is struggling to deal emotionally with the situation in which she finds herself – it feels more realistic and relatable that young teens who seem to breeze through their crises. Mare’s psychological trauma was well written and was a natural and logical progression of her circumstances.
Some interesting plot developments. There were a few plot developments in the novel which were unexpected and reengaged my attention at times when it was flagging.
Strong premise. I really enjoyed the main premise and worldbuilding in Aveyard’s world. The Red/Silver conflict and the addition of the newbloods made for gripping reading.
What I didn’t like
Bland characters. Yes, I know I said that Mare’s vulnerability made her more interesting, but despite that, the characters in Glass Sword are still rather bland, typical YA heroes/heroines. Perhaps I am being unfair here; I have just started A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab and within a few paragraphs, Lila Bard had already leapt out of the page and had me completely engaged in her story in a way that Mare never did.
New characters not fully developed. Some interesting new characters were introduced in Glass Sword such as Nanny, Cameron and Nix, but none of them were given enough page space to be developed fully. That is perhaps due to the first person point of view and Mare’s own emotional struggles, but I would have liked to have seen it handled better.
Despite these issues, I did enjoy Glass Sword and gave it three and a half stars out of five. I will probably read the final book whenever it comes out.