Book Review – ‘Broken Throne’ (#4.5 Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

Filling in the gaps in the Red Queen series.

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 480

This gorgeously designed package features three brand-new novellas, two previously published novellas, Steel Scars and Queen Song, and never-before-seen maps, flags, bonus scenes, journal entries, and much more exclusive content.

Fans will be delighted to catch up with beloved characters after the drama of War Storm and be excited to hear from brand-new voices as well. This stunning collection is not to be missed!

A bind up of novellas for the Red Queen franchise that follow secondary characters in this universe, and the final short story lets us glimpse into the further of Mare and Cal after ‘War Storm.’

It pains me to say, but this was the least interesting read of the series so far. That, in addition to the publishers doubling up on releasing two short stories previously published in another bind-up. Which left two novellas that I had not read that were so steeped in politics and descriptions of the nation (and historical research) that the tone was dry and boring. I seriously had a difficult time trying to stay focused on the page.

The ray of sun that broke through the clouds, was the inclusion of Mare and Cal reuniting in the last novella. Though not really explored, just a brief moment where they address feelings (not getting too deep) before the story ends.

So I got a brief moment of joy in a sea of lengthy beaurocratic red tape descriptions and two already-read short stories. I kinda feel ripped off.

There were moments of Victoria Aveyard’s writing that really drew me in, especially in the final novella, but the rest of the time the pacing was off and the plot so bogged down with situational recount, no compelling protagonist, for me to feel connected to the narrative, or even care where the story is going.

Broken Throne’ is more for the die-hard enthusiast for the Red Queen series. It has snippets from other characters, description of political movements and wars, history from present day to this dystopian powered world of Reds and Silvers. A great companion for the fans; but for me, a lover of the supernatural powers and a strong tale of a protagonist overcoming the odds, much of this did not appeal.

Overall feeling: It was just not for me…

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookporn

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My last book haul had me completing my collection of the Red Queen novels. I love it when you get to finish a series. What is your favourite collection of five books or more that have all been published? I’d have to say mine is a toss up between Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

#bookporn

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I’ve been enjoying this series by Victoria Aveyard – but I need to carve out some time to finish off the collection with ‘War Storm.’ Lets hope it’s an epic culmination to wrap everything up for Mare and her friends.

Book Review – ‘King’s Cage’ (#3 Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

A masterful crafting of plot, but suffered with pacing. Still captivated my imagination.

Kings Cage Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

No. of pages: 528

From Goodreads:

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.

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It’s not like ‘Red Queen’ where I was fascinated by the world of Norta and the novelty of Silvers and their X-Men like abilities. With this I find long chapters of inner musings about the past, ponderings on strategic moves for gains in war and politics. And while interesting, after a while I became a little bored.

We get more mixed perspectives in ‘King’s Cage,’ Mare, Evangeline, Cameron, and as much as each narrative added something to the plot, they were similar in tone. I found myself wishing for a different style of words and sentence structure to really separate the voices. If not for the description and characters around them (and the title headings) I would not know who’s perspective I was reading. I had enjoyed the single narrative and pacing of ‘Red Queen,’ With ‘King’s Cage’ comparatively the pacing felt slow from the changing perspectives adding extra “mess.” The varying perspectives could have been used as a tool to pump in some action and entice the reader with mini cliff hangers… which it did to some extent, but I wasn’t sold.

Much like Mare’s prisoner routine – it felt repetitive and didn’t go anywhere.

Kings Cage Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpgAs much as I love Mare, the strong, downtrodden protagonist. The lightning girl. A red. This wasn’t the book for her to shine. This felt more like a middle book in a trilogy where all the pieces on the chess board are being moved into place for the final battle. I didn’t get any resolution. And I felt as though Mare didn’t develop so much, more like she suffered through challenges. For a hot second I thought things were going to get really interesting for her when she started training her abilities which exceeded what she had accomplished in the past with Cal, but it kind of fizzled out (pun intended.) Though I hope it’s a promise of something really cool to come in the fourth book, ‘War Storm.’

Maven is a bit of a mixed bucket of nuts for me, both literally and figuratively. While we get his backstory to drag out some compassion and understanding; he really rubbed me the wrong way. And even though he is pretty evil, I don’t see him as the “big bad” of the Red Queen universe. I have a few predictions and am keen to find out what happens next. Plus you get a strong sense that Maven is always playing a strategic game, figuring out multiple moves ahead.

Cal was just as confusing – as mentioned, all of their voices were hard to distinguish if not for the chapter titles. But I felt less engaged and frustrated with the political drama. I was praying for action and powers flying about. Cal is painted with different strokes in ‘King’s Cage.’ Aveyard lets crack appear and exploits them beautifully. Mare has a lot on her plate with this King-to-be.

Cameron – why was her perspective even here? To add background information to the story? *confused face*

The snarky dialogue wasn’t even that entertaining any more. It wasn’t funny, more like a sullen teenager’s lame attempt at annoying someone. I hope Aveyard isn’t losing her touch.

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With a slow pace, long paragraphs of cast members not in the action, but in the periphery, it all had me putting the book down frequently. But just as I was starting to get bored, things switched gear at the halfway point and I started to get all the bits and pieces I was craving – Mare and all the abilities in one big clusterbang! Whoo-hoo!

A few Easter eggs are thrown our way in ‘King’s Cage’ and I am really eager to get all the answers and read an explosive end to this collection in the last instalment due out 15th May, 2018. Evangaline, and Cal suddenly got way more interesting in ‘King’s Cage’ and I am eager to see where the story takes us. *drumming my fingers in impatient anticipation*

The plot and story itself is still something I find enrapturing.  I love the battling factions, the tone of discrimination and apartheid. Rebel forces fighting against an unfair regime. And don’t get me started on paranormal abilities! It is all so intriguing. The politics can be fun too, although it started to feel long-winded and dragged down in my opinion of this series. But it is certainly leading up to a very interesting position for the finale.

I don’t know how to comment on the predictability of the novel though – as very little was resolved. Yes, things happened that I expected, there was a twist or two that you knew was coming, but I didn’t get any massive ‘oh shiz’ moment when I got to the end. Honourable mention to Evangaline though – a few scenes with her really blew my mind, she is definitely my favourite character for this book and added the much needed tension.

There is definitely a lot of work Aveyard has done in weaving this storyline. It is truly an amazing feat of beauty.

The writing style is still fantastic. The descriptive turn of phrase, the analogies, are rich and drip with colour and meaning. I’m still impressed with Aveyard’s writing style, the symbolism she uses feels unique and helps create an accurate picture of the Red Queen world. However with the pacing issues, I put down ‘King’s Cage’ a number of times due to wandering interest. It wasn’t that I was bored, or found the story no longer captured my imagination, just that the plot did not move forward. In all honesty, if this book was half its length, I feel it would have been extraordinary. But as it stands, I have to say I had very little compulsion from one chapter to the next throughout most of the novel.

Overall feeling: erm… loved it and was simultaneously underwhelmed…

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Just finished reading ‘King’s Cage‘ and starting to get into the world of Mare and the mutant-like abilities of silver bloods and red bloods… it’s a pretty gruesome war. Can’t wait to see where it all leads in the next book in the series.

Slavery, oppression, all those kept in the dark will always fight for equality!

Still Slaying that Series…

In February of 2016 I started a quest to complete all of the series that I had begun (slay that series,) but had yet to finish. I knew I wouldn’t get it all read in that year, so let’s check in to see where I’m at now…
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Of the 18 series I listed last year, I completed 9 – so half way. Not bad. I probably would have read more, but kept getting distracted by new releases. Plus, I tend to not enjoy marathoning books so much, I like variety. Also if you read many series end to end, some details start to feel repetitive as the author usually has to re-introduce you to the world, or summarise the story so far with each instalment of the collection.

But my TBR for slaying that series has also grown. Books which I thought were standalones have turned into many more. And sometimes I could not resist picking up another novel which is a start of another collection… glutton for punishment anyone?

Now my new ‘slay that series’ tally stands at 19. How sad to feel I’ve made no progress staring at that number. But going back I have completed 11 series that weren’t included in this read-a-thon I’d set myself over the year.

So here’s where I’m at (in no particular order):

The Lunar Chronicles:

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I kind of stalled with this series, I don’t mind fairytale re-tellings or science fiction, I think after a break away I’ll polish them off in quick succession.

Shadowhunter Universe:

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Slay that Series The Infernal Devices by Casey Carlisle

Slay that Series The Bane Chronicles by Casey Carlisle Slay that Series Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy by Casey Carlisle

Slay that Series The Dark Artifices by Casey Carlisle

It’s like when your at a candy store and there’s so many yummy choices that you end up catatonic. Must. Read. So. Good.  I really want to marathon the rest of this series, and I know there will be more to add to my collection, but I’m not letting myself buy any more Shadowhunter goodness until I read the rest of these.

Darkest Minds Trilogy (and Novellas):

Slay that Series Darkest Minds Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Again, another crowd favourite that failed to impress me. An average sort of read, though I’ve only read the first novel, there is plenty left in the series to blow my britches – fingers crossed! Plus with a screen adaptation on it’s way I want to finish off this trilogy before viewing.

The Caster Chronicles:

Slay that Series The Caster Chronicles by Casey Carlisle

I absolutely adored the debut novel, but held off after reading bad reviews for the subsequent installments, but I’m getting that itch again. Maybe I should stop looking novels up on Goodreads and just enjoy the experience as I turn the page – let the words cast their own spell on me… (see what I did there?) Plus there hasn’t been a witchy read in by reading list for years.

Unwind Dystology:

Slay that Series Unwind Dystology by Casey Carlisle

Teens for spare body parts – love it! We were just on the verge of rebellion in the first novel, so I really want to get back into this series. I don’t even remember why I stopped.

Lux Universe:

Slay that Series Lux Universe by Casey Carlisle

Ahh, hot glowy aliens… need I say more? A guilty pleasure with angst, heavy petting, and high school. With two more books just added to my collection I need to get on to it! There are lots of other Jennifer L. Armentrout series waiting for me to sink my teeth into next.

Translucent series:

Slay that Series Translucent Series by Casey Carlisle

A new series I recently got into. Easy, fast sci-fi reads. Invisibility and dark matter. Not the best written series, but a great way to spend an afternoon. I can’t wait to see what Dan Rix will do with these girls… but the final book was published in e-book form over a year ago and I’m still waiting for it to be released in paperback form to complete my collection – so frustrating! Get a move on Mr Rix!!

Deathworks Series:

Slay that Series Deathworks series by Casey Carlisle

A Grim Reaper. A multi-national company of Grim Reapers! And it’s set right here in Brisbane, Australia! Such a great seires by some local talent, took me ages to track down the rest of Trent Jamieson’s books, but now I have them in my hot little hands.. mwah ha ha! (that was my maniacal laugh btw.)

Under The Never Sky Trilogy:

Slay that Series Under the Never Sky Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

While I haven’t been all that impressed with this trilogy, there is only one novel left – and it’s typically the best one. Looking forward to putting this series behind me.

Fetch Series:

Slay that Series Fetch Series by Casey Carlisle

The second of this series is yet to be released, but I had fun reading about this dystopian world. Not sure if it will remain a duology, or continue expanding, but its fun light reading. And dystopians always remind me of my highschool days for some reason :/

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Collection:

Slay that Series Miss Peregrines Peculiar Children by Casey Carlisle

Heard lots of great things. I was so-so on the first book, but love the mythology. Really keen to see where Ransom Riggs will take as.

The Lady Janies Trilogy:

Slay that Series My Lady Janies Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Scarcasm and hilarity in this historical fiction fancy. Can’t wait to see what they do with other Jane’s from the past. Eagerly waiting for the relese dates to complete the trilogy.

Elemental Series:

Slay that Series Elements Series by Casey Carlisle

Picked up the first book on a whim and sped through it. Along the lines of Jennifer L. Armentroug’s Lux series. A guilty pleasure paranormal romance full of tropes and hot boys. Nice to break up the more heavier reading content.

Red Rising Trilogy:

Slay that Series Red Rising Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Struggling with the writing style of this series, but with only one book to go am determined to finish. Then I’ll decide whether I want to attack Pierce Browns new Iron Gold trilogy in the Red Rising Universe set to start releasing in 2018.

Between the Lines Duology:

Slay that Series Between the Lines Duology by Casey Carlisle

An interesting contemporary, and am curious to see where the story does in the last part of the duology. Fictional characters coming to life – yes please!

Red Queen Collection:

Slay that Series Red Queen Collection by Casey Carlisle

I’m having a love/hate relationship with this series, sometimes I am raving about it, sometimes a bit meh! But just have to wait for one more release in 2018 and we can call it quits. Plus I’d like to see what Victoria Aveyard will write after this series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy:

Slay that Series A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Really enjoyed the first book, the second I struggled with a bit, but am expecting an explosive thrid installment in true Sarah J Mass Style. I thought it was only going to be a tirlogy, but in the end pages of A Court of Wings and Ruin we are teased with a new realease in 2018 – WTF!

No Ordinary Star Trilogy:

Slay that Series No Ordinary Star Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Wonderful premise, but this is a trilogy that I’d rather poke my eyes out than read, but my OCD won’t let me just drop it – lucky they are short novellas… let’s hope M.C. Frank can turn my opinion around.

Zeroes Trilogy:

Slay that Series Zeroes Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Such a fun gritty series and incredibly well written to boot. I have the second book ready to go and the third preordered to satisfy my Zeroes lust.

Sidekick Squad:

Slay that Series Sidekick Squad by Casey Carlisle

A new series that has captued my imagination – funny, witty and just enough sass! Not sure how many novels will be released in this seires, but eagerly waiting for ‘Not Your Villain’ out in October this year.

The Illuminae Files:

Slay that Series The Illuminae Files by Casey Carlisle

Hurry up May 2018! Have been having a blast reading this series and hope it continues with its masterful tragectory. Who hopes this is more than a trilogy too?

Children of Eden:

Slay that Series Children of Eden by Casey Carlisle

Children of Eden’ was a bit of a surpise for me, and I got toatally invested in the story. Let’s see if Joey Graceffa can keep it going with the next book due for release in October this year.

Warm Bodies:

Slay that Series Warm Bodies by Casey Carlisle

Two short stories and a trilogy from our all-around favourite zombie, R. Love Isaac Marion’s writing and eager to complete this collection and find out how the world recovers from a zombie apocalypse. Hopefully all the books will be released by the end of 2017.

Tales From Foster High:

Slay that Series Tales From Foster High by Casey Carlisle

Something about the topical writing with gay main characters struggling through high school (and much adversity) has wormed its way into my heart. I think I’m committed to see this series through to the end – another one of my guilty pleasures. It’s like finding out what happens after the fairy-tale ends…

The Girl With All The Gifts:

Slay that Series The Girl With All The Gifts by Casey Carlisle

Upon first reading ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ I didn’t totally love this series – but it grew on me, and am excited to see what new discoveries about the zombie-like world can be made in the sequel…

 

That leaves 66 books left to read to finish off all the series listed here – so it’s definitely going to take me longer than a year to read them all – especially given I like to sprinkle in stand-alones, new releases, and am making my way through Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler’s back catalogue. Plus some of the titles above have not been released yet, or not confirmed as complete, so this list will continue to evolve and change… but hey, I’m not adverse to adding more books to my TBR. It keeps me excited.

What series are you determined to finish of this year? Got any opinions on any of the books listed above? Your works might just push a book to the top of the pile…

In the meantime – happy reading 🙂

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookporn

I’ve been enjoying Mare’s journey through the Red Queen series – though it’s not one of my top rated, I love the class distinction between Silvers and Reds… and of course, superpowers! Hope ‘King’s Cage’ ups the anty!

Book Review – ‘Steel Scars’ by Victoria Aveyard

A behind the scenes story from Red Queen and Glass Sword…

Steel Scars Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

No. of pages: 85

From Goodreads:

Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

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This was a great little addition to the Red Queen Franchise, we get glimpses around events that happen before and around ‘Red Queen.’ And even introduced to Shade Barrow and his role (which becomes more pivotal in ‘Glass Sword’).

I was a little worried I’d get more like ‘Queen Song,’ where it didn’t add much to the story, but a quarter of the way in and things start to get interesting.

There is mention of familiar places and characters that kept me flipping through this novella, little lights kept dinging on in my head… a great little piece bridging the gap between ‘Red Queen’ and ‘Glass Sword’ Though, given that it is so short and many events that are described in ‘Steel Scars’ will either spoil the main books of the franchise, there is not much more that I can say other than it offers a pleasant perspective on secondary characters in this universe.

More Aveyard goodness.

Overall feeling: Pretty cool.

Steel Scars Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Steel Scars Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Glass Sword’ by Victoria Aveyard

From the slums, to the castle and ending up in the trenches, Mare is in for the fight of her life.

Glass Sword Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

No. of pages: 444

From Goodreads:

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?
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It wasn’t long after the release date that I began reading this follow up to Victoria Aveyards debut, and it had some big shoes to fill with all the hype surrounding this release; but did it meet my expectations? ‘Glass Sword’ has definitely surpassed ‘Red Queen’ in my opinion. More complexity. More characters. More supernatural. More action and character development. It impressed me on so many levels.

Glass Sword Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpgPicking up the story not long after where ‘Red Queen’ concluded our protagonist, Mare and her (kind of) beau, Cal’s relationship for most of the novel was…. I want to say distracting… because of the nuances of their history and situation. And though it made good reading I’m not sure if I was completely sold on the pairing until after half way. Mare is not the type of girl who needs a man. And Cal certainly does not see her as a damsel in distress. They are warriors with equal gifts to use in their arsenal. A great team for the rebellion. There is distaste and attraction equally present for Mare, she is battling with what she thinks of Cal. War is a difficult time to form romance, it shows our nature at its ugliest and most basic.

 

Cameron was a great addition to the cast – a realistic portrayal of a tween and not quite an antagonist. I really appreciated the dynamic he brought to the relationships and it was relieving to read a story which strains many of the typical tropes of characters in YA.

Maven has transformed into someone else entirely and immerses himself fully into the role of the antagonist. This is where I was a little disappointed: I wanted to see some humanity or inner struggle with Maven. All the other characters were written so beautifully, where Maven tended towards a stereotype.

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Though the narrative style – easy to read – had occasional moments where a sentence felt clunky, and had me rereading the line several times to understand what was being conveyed. ‘Glass Sword’ is definitely high on my recommendations list and is helping me get into a fantasy mood after a past year heavy the contemporary titles.

Plenty of surprises. Great character development.

The ending was bloody brilliant!

Bring on Red Queen #3 – no title yet and just an expected publication date as somewhere in 2017 – Argh! I’ll just have to fill up my time with some other great series 🙂

Overall feeling: Damn girl!

Glass Sword Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Glass Sword Book Review Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.