“Trouble is all we seem to find.” ~Mare Barrow, Glass Sword
I read Glass Sword’s prequel, Red Queen, a few weeks ago and loved it. Young adult dystopian fiction never fails to enrapture me, and Red Queen was no exception. I liked Red Queen much more than mainstream dystopian series like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner trilogies; I thought the former was more magical and engaging.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Glass Sword. Excited would be an understatement to describe how I felt when I got my hands on this book; I was absolutely elated and thrilled, so thrilled that I finished this 440-page-read in a day. After finishing it, though, I was disappointed. I loved the ending – Aveyard knows how to wrap up a story well, keeping readers anxiously waiting for the release of the next novel in the series. The beginning was also written pretty well. The greater part of the novel, however, was less than mediocre. The plot was dull, which surprised me, as Red Queen kept me on my toes from the first page to the last. Glass Sword, on the other hand, lacked breathtaking twists and was much too predictable for me. Events were repetitive, and although several new characters were introduced, none were memorable.
The protagonist, Mare Barrow, displayed a complete lack of development. After finishing Red Queen, she seemed like a promising character, with twice the potential of Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior combined. Glass Sword crushed my hopes. Mare is ridiculously childish in this novel, often receding to temper tantrums in times of stress. Not to mention, her trust issues are peeving. Yes, she learned the hard way that “Anyone can betray anyone” in Red Queen, but her inability to place faith in her family and closest friends is aggravating. She can’t even trust herself, as she constantly lies and breaks her own promises. Mare weakly dangles on the line between protagonist and anti-heroine in Glass Sword, not quite the hero that wins readers over or the villain readers can despise. In fact, I realized I don’t care for Mare at all, except for pitying her here and there; rather, I found myself attracted to minor characters like Julian and Shade Barrow, but never discovering much about them since Aveyard focuses on Mare and only Mare. Had Aveyard alternated between the perspectives of Mare and another character – preferably Cal because he has a cloud of mystery surrounding him at all times – this novel could have been a lot stronger, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, I’m still avidly waiting for King’s Cage, the third book in the series, since I enjoyed the first book so much. I’m hoping that Aveyard manages to salvage what is left of Mare Barrow, and that King’s Cage does not disappoint, as Glass Sword was a bit of a let-down for a Red Queen fan like me.