The Red Queen series is not one of absolutes. As a result there is not one character that can be defined as fully good or evil within these pages. People are often ever shifting in their morality and this novel reflects that truth. We all make bad decisions for what we feel are good reasons sometimes and Victoria Aveyard embraces that greyness. Glass Sword embraces the shades of grey that Red Queen first introduced and reminds us that good and evil really depend on who is telling the story.
Glass Sword took Mare’s story into unexpected places. The world is expanded and with it comes breath stealing storylines that are filled with surprises, and some new characters to love. So much of what Victoria chose to do in this instalment felt bold and daring. It’s not the predictable direction you would expect it to take and that makes this story all the more engaging. It could go in any direction, and it is not necessary telling the story you think it is. It leaves you feeling unsettled because this could be the story of how a young woman becomes the hero, or it could just as easily be the story of a young woman becoming a villain.
Mare struggles with the events of book one. They have left their mark and haunt her every step; she is sometimes selfish, sometimes cruel, and often makes quick tempered decisions AND I LOVE HER FOR IT. I’ve always said that I don’t have to agree with a character’s actions, or even like their decisions, but I do have to understand them. I understand Mare. The writing ensures that the reader recognizes her motivations. The things that happened to her have an impact and that’s made her who she is. There is character growth, even if it feels like negative character growth. This isn’t the story of someone learning to open up. Instead this is a systematic hardening of a young girl who has had a large responsibility put on her, one she is not sure she’s ready for. She’s a reluctant heroine, one who isn’t sure the shoe fits. “If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.” This quote lingered with me and I think it defines Mare’s mental state during Glass Sword perfectly. Mare is beginning to become a little ruthless, and we all know that saying about power and how it corrupts.
Victoria Aveyard once again offers up a juggernaut of an ending that will leave you madly desperate to get your hands on book three. It is the sort of ending that once again pushes this novel into new territory. It is, like the rest of Glass Sword, bold and offers the perfect exclamation point to this chapter of Mare’s story.