Books 3 & 4 of 2016
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard is a combination of two novellas, Queen Song and Steel Scars. Both of these stories are linked to the first book in Aveyard’s Red Queen series. I would recommend reading both novellas after reading Red Queen. My reviews are below.
Queen Song follows Queen Coriane, mother to prince Cal, who readers know from Red Queen. Queen Song takes us back to before Cal was born, when Coriane first met King Tiberias as an adolescent. Coriane keeps a secret diary of all the emotions she feels while living in the palace and falling in love with the king. Once she marries the king, many of the royals felt that Coriane wasn’t worthy of her new title. Unfortunately, while she started wondering which royals she could trust, she also started to doubt herself and her own sanity, fearing people were plotting against her.
I don’t want to give too much away, and since Red Queen readers already know a little bit of Queen Coriane’s story, I won’t go into detail of how her death came to be. What I will say is that her tale ends up being an upsetting one, and will leave readers feeling angry.
To be honest, I wasn’t as captivated by Farley’s story in the Steel Scars novella as much as I was by Coriane’s story in Queen Song. Farley is a character that readers met in Red Queen and is a human chess piece in the Scarlet Guard, hoping and trying for a revolution. While Farley is a strong, fierce female character to read about, I just found the details of the war, as well as the telegraphs that are inserted in the story, a bit boring.
On the bright side, Tristan, Shade (Mare Barrow from Red Queen‘s brother), and Farley’s father are all interesting characters who I didn’t mind reading along with. I am sure we will be seeing more of them in Glass Sword (the second book in the Red Queen series) as well. Shade was especially intriguing, and we know after reading both Red Queen and now Steel Scars that he is going to play a bigger role in the revolution moving forward. It seems as though he has won Farley over with his charm and smarts, and will require her help in order to rescue his sister, who is trapped and monitored inside the palace.
If you haven’t read Red Queen yet, these reviews will be quite confusing for you. I strongly recommend reading it though; Red Queen has been optioned for a movie and the second booking in the series is highly anticipated. But, as you know, I’m a bit biased when it comes to Young Adult literature and strong female characters. 😉 I guess you’ll just have to read the books and find out for yourself!