Review of Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

51-5ix9w9gl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Rating: 4/5

Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Buy it on Amazon.

Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Also includes an exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series! Glass Sword transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl’s resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance as she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital. She was raised to be strong, but planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected—until she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation: Mare Barrow.

Cruel Crown is a paperback bind-up of two Red Queen novellas – Queen Song, which follows Queen Coriane from her teenage years to her death, and Steel Scars, which is about Farley’s work with the Scarlet Guard.

I’m going to split this review up into two parts, since there are two novellas.

Queen Song

Rating: 5/5

I LOVED this novella. It made me smile and laugh, but also made me so angry and upset. Coriane is a great character. She is her own person and doesn’t let her family take that away from her. She’s caring and understanding, yet also very sarcastic (I absolutely loved her sarcasm, it was hilarious). I found her to be really relatable, too. As a teenager, she feels like she doesn’t fit in the way she’s supposed to. She wants to do what she enjoys doing, but also just wants to get out of the situation she’s in and away from her family. I’m pretty sure this is something that almost all of us can relate with to some extent.

After reading this novella, I couldn’t help but imagine how different things would be if she hadn’t died. Cal definitely would have turned out to be a much different person with her as an influence throughout his life. I couldn’t help but also wonder if Coriane would have had enough of an influence on Tiberias to make Norta a better place for Reds.

Besides learning about Coriane, I also loved seeing young Julian and Sara. They were so cute together and it made me sad that they couldn’t be together later in life.

I thought it was interesting to see Silvers who weren’t super well off and were actually struggling. Coriane’s family may be members of a High House, but they really don’t have the power or money that we see with the other Silvers. In Red Queen, everything is told from Mare’s point of view so all we see is a dichotomy of struggling Reds and thriving Silvers, so this was a different and intriguing side to see.

The ending made me SO ANGRY and upset. I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but I finished this several days ago and I’m still so mad about it.

My only complaint about this is that I wish it were longer and that I could have seen even more of Coriane because I really loved her character.

Steel Scars

Rating: 3/5

I was not a huge fan of this one. I think a lot of that is because Red Queen didn’t have me super interested in Farley as a character and this whole novella is focused around her and her work with the Scarlet Guard. I found the majority of this novella to be boring and slow and it wasn’t until the last 20 pages or so that I really felt any interest in it at all. For the majority of this story, you’re following Farley as she sets up alliances for the Scarlet Guard. I think if there had been more of a focus on the action that I’ve come to associate the Scarlet Guard with I would have found it more interesting. In fact, in the last part we see more of that action and I think that’s a big reason why I found the end much more interesting than the rest of it.

Shade Barrow does have a decent role in this story which I liked a lot. I really enjoyed seeing Shade and getting to know more about him and his ability. I did notice a lot of chemistry between Shade and Farley which I really loved and I’m hoping to see more of that in Glass Sword (whenever I get around to reading that…).

I did like that at the end, Steel Scars ties in with the beginning of Red Queen. I thought it was really cool to see the overlap of the stories.

Overall, I thought this was an okay novella. The beginning was really slow and, frankly, boring but once it picks up and we see more of Shade and more Scarlet Guard action, it gets interesting.

I definitely would not recommend reading Cruel Crown if you haven’t already read Red Queen. You may be tempted to read it in a chronological order, but there’s a lot that I think would be confusing or not fully understood if you start with this.

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