After reading Red Queen: ehhhh…
After reading Glass Sword: maybe…
After reading Kings Cage: okayy…
After reading War Storm: THIS BOOK—INCREDIBLE. THIS SERIES—INCREDIBLE. THIS AUTHOR—INCREDIBLE.
Victoria Aveyard has always had me on the edge of intrigued. She’s written one of the best antagonists I’ve ever read and yet, I could never fully commit to loving the series. Something was missing—and now I know what: the stunning conclusion.
The Lightning Girl
Mare Barrow finally (FINALLY) won me over. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan in the beginning; she had ‘chosen one’ written across her forehead and read like a typical whiny, hung-up-on-two-guys-who-happen-to-be-brothers protagonist. Her character development though was absolutely award winning. By introducing more electricons and new bloods, Mare no longer was one of a kind but simply a victim of chance (…or maybe not chance…), and she grew into a decisive, strong willed, and driven character.
Also a moment for how great it was that Mare insisted on calling Cal Tiberius when he was being a stubborn ass.
Tiberius Calore VII, Rightful King of Norta, Flame of the blah blah blah
The title is almost as ridiculous as Cal’s inability to make one
good decision. The poor boy might be a military genius (or at least that’s what we keep getting told), but he’s a helpless lil cinnamon roll when it comes to much else. He spent a majority of the book and the series refusing to consider a future that his father would not have imagined and required a push from beyond the grave to accept change. There was an eventual redemption point, yes, but I still wanted to strangle him for a good part of the book.
Unpopular opinion: Part of me wished that Mare would have just moved on with Tyton (oops)
Do we love him? Do we hate him? Is all of the above an option???
This immoral, occasionally evil, poisoned-by-his-own-mind-that’s-not-actually-his-own boy king is my favorite antagonist OF ALL TIME. I could write an entire post on why Maven is an incredibly well written character, but most importantly, we can empathize with him. Even when he’s doing these despicable things, we can still pity him and understand what’s driving him (*cough* Elara *cough*).
One of the most surprising parts of this book was Maven’s early capture and the conflict transferring from a civil war to a war with the Lakelands. It was fitting; the series began and concluded with a Lakelander war.
Iris Cygnet was such a surprising gem. She came out of nowhere and became this intensely formidable opponent. Iris could have easily been our protagonist in a different story; she is relatable and motivated by her loyalties instead of a cruel disposition. She is difficult to classify as the enemy because although she’s working against Mare, she also respects her and works logically towards a more peaceful solution (revenge plots aside).
I would LOVE to see Aveyard revisit the world of Red Queen through the Lakelands in the future. The transition to silver and red equality would be a killer storyline if she could set it apart from Norta.
Expanding from a single narrator to a revolving multi-POV, I think Aveyard did an exceptional job maintaining a unique voice for each individual, especially while she was writing in first present consistently. I barely had to check the chapter headings to know who was narrating. I truly enjoy reading Aveyard’s work and will be first in line to pick up her next publication.
A Final Note for the Red Queen World
Red Queen started with the microscopic world of the Stilts and War Storm concluded with an immensely complicated political landscape divided between multiple countries and government styles. The amount of detail work woven into this series is fantastic and it will forever be one of my most favorite and most respected series. If you haven’t picked up these books yet, I highly recommend it as an impressively original and enthralling fantasy series.