Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: War Storm
Author:  Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins Publishing 5/15/18
Length:   546 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #4



Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

My Thoughts

I started this book when it first came out in May and for some reason i was stuck in the first 50 pages….having the hardest time ever getting into it.  I think that part of it was due to it being so long since the previous installment came out and partly because to be honest, the first few chapters were slow moving.  I’m not one to ever let a book beat me though, so for the last few days, i’ve hunkered down and read it.  Let’s just say that by page 100, i was sucked back into this book like i have been with all the others and i’m both really happy with how it turned out and really upset.

We pick back up into this story at a time where Mare is still living the same predicament as always, loving Cal but not being able to be with him, having this interesting love hate thing with Maven, and really just wanting to find a way for everyone to live together happily.  It’s a pipe dream and there’s too much at stake for everyone if that happens.

what i’ve come to really enjoy about this series, and this final installment especially is the fact that it’s the women, the Queens who are truly powerful here.  i’m not going to get on a soapbox and start talking about how women should have more power, but Iris (Maven’s wife), Eve (Cal’s betrothed), Anabel (Cal’s grandmother), Mare, Farley…the list goes on and on…well, they are the one who call the shots – they manipulate, sure, but they are decisive and emotional and powerful and it’s amazing.

There are so many social causes here in this story too – it’s not just about growing into your role in life, creating the world in what you want it to be, realizing that you perhaps see things differently than your parents (which is the theme of all of these types of books when we see our main characters taking their own stance in life).  But in this story, we see counties dividing, fighting and looking to conquer one another for no reason aside from the feeling that they need to.  When in reality, they are all after a similar cause – to have something for their family to be proud of, to have equality, to have a better quality of life.  to love and cherish whomever you want.  family or friends or otherwise.  Yet, it takes 4 books, 500 pages a piece for these characters to come to that conclusion.

It’s sad though, there are so many characters that we continued to invest ourselves in throughout this series, and sadly many of them do not make it to the end.  Brothers die, friends are killed, people are manipulated to their own demise, and what should be a happy ending isn’t.  Even where the epilogue leaves us isn’t a happy ending.  it’s a statement – sure.  one that is meant to take you in one direction or another, but it’s not the ending that i know that i wanted and i’m sure that a lot of others wanted as well.

Questions becomes, does love conquer all?  is love strong enough?  is hope for change real and is there a way to change what was once destroyed?  i guess you have to read to find out and then maybe someone can let me know what they think too.  Now i’m off to find something else to read – and maybe cross my fingers that Ms Aveyard will write another novella in this series so that we can get more!  Enjoy!

Review: Kings Cage (The Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard


Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishing 2/7/17
Length:   430 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #3

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And 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 continues 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.

My Thoughts

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s something so powerful in this book that it is a tough call between Red Rising and this one!  What we have here is the continuation of a story that you really have no idea where it’s going to end.  We’ve been on the journey of Mare having to fake being a silver because of an ability that she just happened to have, and then being the betrothed to Maven, the 2nd son of the king.  Then that all goes to crap when the first son has his mind controlled and he kills the king, and then flees for his safety.  We then saw Mare do the same essentially, with the help of the Scarlet Guard.

Then, the story took us through book 2 where they were discovering the newbloods – essentially what Mare is – one with red blood but stronger powers than silvers.  We learned that Shade (Mare’s brother was alive), we saw Mare sort of fall in love with the first son Cal, and we see that Maven has taken on the role of king and has a bone to pick because he actually has these emotional feelings for Mare.

When Maven gets too close during the 2nd book, and Shade is killed, Mare trades herself for the safety of everyone and that’s where we begin this third installment.  She’s Maven’s captive, and she’s having her powers stripped from her by Arvens, ones who have power to silence other’s powers.  We see that Maven has some strange pull to Mare even though he’s not betrothed to Evangeline (ironically the girl who was linked with Cal before), and we see that it’s because he’s got some tie to her, he can’t kill her.

The gist of this third book is that we see a huge bunch of plot twists.  There are questions on whether Mare will ever get free, and what role Maven will play.  We also see the other side of things with the Scarlet Guard and their hope for more equality and a way to overthrow Maven’s reign.

There’s so much going on here.  We see Farley pregnant, we see Mare make a decision about love (one which i wasn’t necessarily buying earlier in the series) and we see not only a lot of death but a lot of mistrust. A new kingdom is formed with the help of someone totally unexpected, and we see that there’s still so much that’s unsettled that there’s really no way to know if Maven will win.

Maven has been married to the daughter of the kind of the Lakelands in the hopes that he can gain their army and power, while also ending part of what’s caused the war – the division of Reds and Silvers.  He doesn’t know what he’s getting into and that’s to the benefit of everyone else i think.

I thought this was a trilogy so i was expecting resolution but thankfully the story continues since there’s SO much that’s left unsaid.  Where’s Maven, what’s next for Mare, what about Cal?  is Monfort really the holy grail of safety and peace and living together?  What’s Evangeline’s next move and what’s the motive with Anabel.  So you can see why it was so great – Ms Aveyard gave us so much to enjoy reading but so much more to question and wonder about.  I’m bummed i have to wait ages for book 4, but at least the story goes on!!!

Review: Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2) by Victoria Aveyard


Title: Steel Scars
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 1/5/16
Length:   65 pages
Series:  Red Queen #0.2


In this digital prequel novella set in the Red Queen world, Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance as she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital. She was raised to be strong, but planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected—until she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation: Mare Barrow.

My Thoughts

I really enjoy this series and getting to see bits and pieces into what made our characters into what they rae is great.  We get to see a bit more about Farley’s rise to power and then when she came in contact with Mare. (and Shade).

Throughout the 2nd book in the series, we see a budding romance between Farley and Shade and now we get to see how they met and what was potentially there at the very beginning of things.  I think that it humanizes Farley a bit – and i think that it’s a side of her that we need.

On top of that, we get a bit more intel on the relationship that she has with her father and what happened to make it so tense throughout that second book.  We know that there’s a unique thing there and its no surprise to watch the progression.

The other nice thing that we see here is that we see that Shade knew of his ‘powers’ for a bit but didn’t know that anyone else was like him and then they see the Queenstrial and alas – end scene.

I love these novellas though – where we have a little snippet to hold us over until something else comes along.  and on that note  – have a great night all!

Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard


Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 2/9/16
Length:   402 pages
Series:  The Red Queen #2


The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

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?

My Thoughts

While it took me far longer than it should have to read this book, i have to say that we were taken on an exciting path here.  I think that there are a lot of lessons being shared and learned in this second installment, and that’s something impressive to carry us through the series.

In this 2nd book, Mare is in the unfortunate position of not only having to escape the Bowl of Bones and then joining the Scarlet Guard in a sense to get away from ‘King Maven’ – but she learned that she’s not alone in being a Red but having Silver powers, and that’s something that is completely new to everyone in the country.  Where she goes from here is a very precarious place given that she’s not even sure if she can survive, she doesn’t know exactly what it is that Farley and the Scarlet Guard do, and she’s got ‘Prince Cal’ with her, the prince who we’re not quite sure who’s side he’s on, yet it seems like he’s got this soft spot for Mare.

We see relationships grown and shatter in this book – there’s an interesting dynamic that we see between Farley and Mare, and we even learn Farley’s ties to the leadership of the Guard.  We also see that there’s a LOT more to Cal than we ever expected, and wonder if there’s a future there for him and Mare – and on what level.  Then there’s the fact that Shade – Mare’s brother who was assumed dead, well he’s not.  And we have to see what role he’ll play throughout this.

The biggest piece of this story is that there are ‘new bloods’ – others who have these abilities like Mare and they are abilities that the Silvers don’t even know to expect.  Remember that the Silver powers all fall into specific categories and you know exactly what you’re going to get.  With the newbloods – there are so many unknowns that the assumption is that they can be more powerful than anything the world has seen.

The question is – will Mare get to them in time, or will Maven hunt each down, and hunt her and Cal down, and who’s going to live.

The ending of this story is not at all surprising – the journey itself a lot more complex and twisted than i had imagined.  There are friends and allies that you really aren’t sure what to make of them, and like i said earlier, relationships being built and broken.  There’s the constant wonder of who you can trust and who’s got motives of their own.  I think that there are so many unknowns here that it makes for a fantastic story.  Really, our author – Ms, Aveyard has something really impressive here – the means to write us a story that keeps you engaged but still so confused that and curious that you can’t help but to continue on and want more.

On that note – happy tuesday everyone!

Review: Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1) by Victoria Aveyard


Title:  Queen Song
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/1/15
Length:  56 pages
Series:  Red Queen 0.1


In this 55-page prequel novella set in the Red Queen world, Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard


Title:  Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins 2/10/15
Length: 322 pages
Series: Red Queen #1


Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

My Thoughts

I don’t know why it took me so long to read thins since it’s actually a good story – but it did.  I had to pick up and put it down a few times over the past few weeks and i’m still trying to sort it out.

just like the description tells us, we have an interesting mix of Graceling where there are folks that have these magical powers and The Selection – where the 2 Princes have to choose their princesses through a variety of performances.  It’s interesting to see the two mix, and it’s not until we see something very strange happen that really shifts what people’s expectations were to be on the choosing.

The other piece to back up a bit is that we’re immersed in a society where there are the Silvers – who are these people that have extra powers, and their blood of course is silver.  They have abilities to heal, amazing strength, can create fire, control minds / metals etc.  Then there are the Reds who are common folks – they are the ones that are living paycheck to paycheck, they are the folks that do all the labor and hard work and live in semi squalor.

We meet Mare who’s a Red, but who after getting captured and demonstrates a weird ability of her own becomes a ‘faux silver’ in order to protect her while the royals protect themselves.  In addition to being taken in by the royals, she’s also become the betrothed to one of the princes, and that makes things even more complicated.

The path that this story takes us on is complicated since we see things unraveling at a fast pace.  we quickly find that there’s a secret rebel army that Mare becomes a bit of a player in – because she’s on the inside.  We also see that one of the royals, Maven (her betrothed prince) is also working to help the rebels, and where that will go is still to be determined.

What i love about this story as well is that you get a little bit of a love triangle, Mare’s entangled with both princes a bit, and i think that we’ve still yet to see who’s going to come out as the winner.  the other thing is that we’re slowly learning the truth behind the deaths of a lot of questionable folks, and that in itself is a great story.

So where we’re left off after the end of this first installment, there’s so much up in the air and we don’t yet know who’s on what side and what that will all mean.  I’m glad that i came across this first book in the series though since i feel like we get a great intro into a world where there’s clearly a big divide just based on the type of blood that folks have, and you really can’t say for sure which is the better side to be on.  There’s a lot of strong characters that you want to root for and you learn that some that you hated aren’t so bad and vice versa.  Mare is one of my favs since she seems really strong, yet she’s not the teen angsty type girl that we’ve encountered a lot in the genre.  The other piece is that there are quite a few male leads that really contribute a lot to the series.  Maven seems like the brother in the shadows yet the one that will stand out for one reason or another.  Cal who is the guy that Mare met in the shadows one night only to learn later that he’s a prince and well, i feel like he’s quickly going to become a favorite of mine.  Then there’s Killorn who is the guy from Mare’s past that i feel like has a romantic quality yet i don’t know if that’s meant to be.  So on that note – we’ll have to wait a bit for installment #2, but i’m definitely looking forward to it.  Happy Wednesday all!