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Glass Sword: Thoughts

2 Stars. Glass Sword is the second installment in a so-far unremarkable series. While in the first book, Red Queen, Aveyard was able to pull me along with witty writing, here it lost its charm.

We pick up exactly where we left off at the end of Red, with Mare traveling to meet the rest of the (seemingly) shattered rebellion. The odd setting of this world wasn't so jarring this time, I found, as I knew what to expect...though again, where does it fit? The modern machinery plays a bigger part, complete with submarines and jets, so I suppose I'll call this a dystopian mid-fantasy. 

*ponders for a while*

Yea, sure. We'll stick with that. Anyway, the whole of Glass Sword focused on Mare and her group traveling (flying by jet) from city to city, abandoned clearing to abandoned clearing, in search of more of her kind - the red-blooded, yet magical people whose gifts are stronger than anyone has seen in the high-class Silver society. Again, the premise of the story is intriguing, but Mare falls short as both a badass warrior and a flawed heroine. 

I believe what Aveyard was attempting here was to explore the depths to which her MC could sink, as Marie Lu so excellently accomplished with Adelina in The Rose Society. I did, if you recall, mention how much I longed to see more Adelina-like characteristics in Mare in my review of Red Queen. But where Lu has the amazing ability to make us care about her character despite the terrible course she's on, I'm afraid Aveyard falls short. Mare is annoying, and selfish, and while some of her actions start pushing moral boundaries, they happened far too late in this book for me to still care.

I also feel Glass is suffering from middle book syndrome, as the story really only moved forward in the last quarter and the cliffhanger at the end was weak. I'm hesitant to label it a cliffhanger, actually, as that would imply proper plot construction and build up, whereas this just simply...stopped. Hence middle book syndrome; the first three quarters of the book dragged - I mean dragged - and just when some interesting developments start happening BAM, the end.

*Spoiler Notice* Skip ahead to remain unspoiled!

Fortunately, we've moved past Mare brooding over whether she's cutting Cal out of her life or not. Unfortunately, those hollow declarations are replaced by her staying with him for now, but thinking every time she leaves his side how she is using him only for the moment - she's lonely, his ability is helping their cause, he'll leave anyway soon when their goals no longer align. This is part of where the moral blackness *supposedly* comes in, but really Mare is just selling me on being a self-absorbed brat. The love triangle has shifted from Mavin-Mare-Cal to Kilorn-Mare-Cal, but as I never felt any real chemistry between Mavin and Mare, this is a bonus. It's a shame, actually, that I was never sold on those two, as an interesting area Aveyard was just beginning to delve into before the abrupt ending was the love both Cal and Mare still feel for Mavin. Despite what he has done, he is still Cal's brother, and I foresee some complications in defeating him on Cal's part in the future. Aveyard is trying to sell us on Mare still being in love with him, but as I said, I was never sold on their "love" in the first place, so this will need some serious building if I'm to believe her attachment to him going forward.

I have to comment on the death of the queen, which after so much build up - especially in Red Queen - and the fear Mare has of her, was incredibly underwhelming. Elara has thus far been the main villain in the story, the one essentially pulling the strings behind Mavin, and I can barely remember the scene in which she dies. The most memorable aspect is the broadcast with her head the rebels put on afterword. For such an important character, and for how many people feared her and her unique ability to control minds, I'd expected the scene surrounding her demise to be more climactic. Maybe it was meant to be, but this was at the point of the book when things were just beginning to get interesting (almost the end), so Elara's conclusion felt sudden and glossed over. 

*You're Safe* End of spoilers :)

While I plan to read the (hopefully last) book in this series, its pub date is more than a year away, so I'm wondering if I'll even remember much besides where Mare ended up in the "cliffhanger". I care enough at this moment and time, however, to keep it on my to-be-read longlist.

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Virginia DeFeo