I wasn’t exactly over-gushing with glowing praise for Red Queen or the prequel novellas, and yet I obviously liked them well enough that when I saw book 2 of the series on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to continue reading Mare’s adventures. Usual spoiler warning: in mentioning characters, etc in book 2, that may give away information about events in book 1. Go read that first! 🙂
I found Glass Sword rather difficult to get going with. We pick up events immediately from the end of the previous installment, and unfortunately that includes Mare somewhat wallowing in self-pity. As this is first-person perspective, that means a lot of “woe is me” waffle in the opening chapter that I found really grating. Fortunately the narrative swings back to action pretty quickly, but there are a lot of ‘inner thoughts’ drama throughout the book that remained slightly irritating at times. There’s also at least one instance of being told what’s going on inside another character’s head, which is a huge red flag for me: there’s no way Mare, our narrator, could have known such things.
Fortunately, the story itself manages to overcome most of all that. It is a rather bleak outlook, and I personally missed the little glimpses of glamour from the palace life Mare has left behind. However, she’s still very much the outsider: not silver, but not entirely red, either. The toll this takes on her psyche, especially as she goes out on increasingly dangerous Red Guard missions, does at least give the inner drama a good base!
Unfortunately, Glass Sword does the whole middle-book-ending-on-a-cliff-hanger thing – argh! As such, it doesn’t feel like a complete tale in and of itself, and I’m docking it a mark for that.
If you enjoyed the first book, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this. But be prepared for a nail-biting wait for the third installment and some resolution!
NetGalley eARC: 448 pages / 30 chapters (including epilogue)
First published: July 2016
Series: Red Queen book 2
Read from 7th-23rd July 2016 (week off with the flu in the middle, bah!)
My rating: 6/10