I’ve seen this book hundreds of times while perusing bookshelves, and was always intrigued by the cover. Until recently, I’ve had a pretty snobbish attitude towards the books I would even consider reading. As a teenager and in my early twenties, I loved Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. But I insisted the only decent books to be read were the classics, and there were too many classical literature novels in my library to focus on YA lit. Boy, am I glad I had an attitude adjustment, because I LOVE YA LIT! And I don’t care who knows it. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for classical literature and I will always continue to read it, but there is something to be said for reading a book because you’re genuinely intrigued by it, and not because it was on your list of “100 Must-Read Books Before You Can Consider Yourself an Adult” that you got in your High School AP Lit class. That being said, I never considered this book much before because of that hurdle I needed to jump over.
I will say getting in to this book was a little difficult for me. It immediately had a “Hunger Games” read to it; society where one class of people lives in poverty and under the strong rule of the “showy” upper class, strong female heroine who doesn’t fit in, complicated love interests (boy she grew up with vs. boy she meets in the story)… etc. I’ve seen a couple times now that people say this book is “Hunger Games meets X-Men” and I would have to somewhat agree with that comparison. Once I got about half-way through the book, I finished it fairly quickly, and it was a story I didn’t want to put down. I loved the twists and turns of the plot, and I was so glad I had the second book of the series on hand to dive into the second I turned the last page.
One of the only real drawbacks to this book for me, was that it felt like the author was rushed to get from Point A in the story to Point B; and it left me wishing I had more “character-relationship” development throughout the book. As I was reading, I often thought to myself, “what… how is this happening right now, why are they doing this. This is strange, this is awkward.” Some of Mare’s interactions with the other characters in the book didn’t feel genuine, because there wasn’t time given to develop her relationships with those characters. So to me, it felt forced and unnatural. I’m eager to see if this continues throughout the series, or if it won’t be as big a deal to me in later books. I’m still working on finishing “Glass Sword,” so we’ll see.
Victoria Aveyard has done a terrific job in creating characters that are real and relatable; for what feels like finally after a long time I’m not rolling my eyes constantly at the female lead, which is a huge win for me. It has been fun to discuss this book with my book club friends and we discussed for quite a while who we thought would be good at playing the characters in a movie-adaptation. I might do a post later on of my “Fantasy ‘Red Queen’ Cast!”