Monday 17 June 2019

*Book Review* Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard

Broken Throne is a sort of bonus book to conclude the Red Queen series. If you need a catch up (plus some spoilers) you can read my review of War Storm (book 4) here.

Broken Throne contains what I like to call 'Extras for Experts'. That is to say, extra content you don't need but if you are caught up in the series then this is a great extra.

It contains a collection of novellas, two of which have been published already in Cruel Crown (so not sure why they made it in here but oh well). There are also some historical maps, family trees and journal entries from Julian, Cal's uncle the historian.

To be honest it took me a long time to get into this book. I think it would have been better if I had come at it straight after finishing the series. So if you read it, that is what I recommend you do. I think the historical pages were super heavy going and it might have been better if it jumped into a novella.

The first novella Queen Song is about Coriane, Cal's mother. It tells how she, as a lowly servant, captured the kings heart. While doing so she made Elara jealous and use her mind-powers to make Coriane think she was crazy. It's quite a sad story and makes me really feel for her.

The second novella is Steel Scars and tells some of the story surrounding Captain Farley. Farley is part of the Scarlet Guard and is good at what she does. She also falls in love with Mare's brother, although this happens before the events of the main series. This novella annoyed me a little because half of it is written as communication to and from guard members so some of it is redacted and just generally hard to read and follow. In saying that though, seeing a softer side to Farley was nice and you come out of it understanding her better.

The third novella is World Behind. It follows a boatman in the disputed lands who unknowingly gives a ride to a runaway Silver princess.  It is completely unrelated to the Red Queen series and there is no character crossover. I found this a bit weird because I kept waiting for it to tie into the story. It does give another perspective to the changing world as the wars were taking place, and I did enjoy the dynamic characters of Ashe and Lyrisa.

The fourth novella is Iron Heart, following the fate of Evangeline as she gives up her title of Princess so she can live the way she dreams. There is a contrast of personalities here as the usually headstrong woman is now very introverted and indecisive. It makes for interesting reading and Evangeline has always been a great character to read about. She goes through a major character development over the series and this ties up the loose ends nicely for her.

The fifth novella is Fire Light. This is the one 'everyone was waiting for' as it focuses on the protagonists Mare and Cal. War Storm left them having time apart to adjust and attempt to heal and now they finally cross paths again and try to figure out what the future looks like for them. It is pretty angsty but an overall good conclusion for them. I like that they show that grief and trauma is something that is not just fleeting, and that they need to work on that separately as well as together to move forward.

Finally, Fare Well. It can't really be called a Novella at only 20 pages long, but it deals with Maven and Cal's final meeting, and then final goodbye. Maven chooses not to reveal something about himself to spare Cal more hurt, but nevertheless, Cal still loves his brother Maven despite everything he has done. It was a touching tribute to end the book.

This collection of novellas did add to the Red Queen series but I wouldn't say it is a necessary addition. If you make it through to the end of War Storm (well done!), and find yourself needing more then this is for sure the book to read.

I still highly recommend the Red Queen series, they are well written and full of the stuff great dystopian novels are made of. There is also the bonus war and politics thrown in, along with super-human abilities (and the dreaded YA love-triangle). I'm glad I got to read Broken Throne to tie up some loose threads and make more sense of the history surrounding the events of the series.

Thanks to Hachette for giving me a review copy of this book.

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