Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Glass Sword, or, The One In Which Mare Provokes Me to Violence


Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 444
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Cover Comments: I love these simple and clean covers, and this one is particularly effective with the themes within the book of fragile power.
First Lines: "I flinch. The rag she gives me is clean, but it still smells like blood."

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.



Oh, Glass Sword. I had such high hopes for this book. I read Red Queen a year or two ago and have fond if slightly fuzzy memories of it. While I still find the world Victoria Aveyard built very interesting, I could. not. stand. the main character, Mare Barrow, in Glass Sword. Herein lies an itemized list of reasons I find Mare unbearable.

1. Can you say high horse?

I can't even count the amount of times that Mare refers to herself as a very important and special person. She goes on and on about the symbol she is to people, the incredible power she wields, and how no one can really understand what she's going through.

I'm playing my tiny sad violin for ya, Mare.

2. Bloodlust.

Okay, I'm all for a hero with flaws or even a really good villain, but Mare is neither. She kills without mercy and seemingly only regrets any of these deaths when they become another reason for her to feel sorry for herself.

3. Prejudice.

Even though Mare thought she was a regular Redblood for most of her life, she now treats Reds without powers as literal scum beneath her boots. She talks about Kilorn, one of her closest friends and one of the few people who stands by her by the end, like this:

"Who is he to question my orders? He's no one. A fish boy with only good luck and my foolishness to protect him. Not like Shade, a teleporter, a newblood, a great man."

For someone who has been treated as "less than" for her whole life, I'm disappointed that Mare would turn this quickly.

4. Empathy = 0%.

Mare has no sympathy for anyone other than Newbloods (only because they are integral to her mission) and herself. She doesn't care about Silvers who have helped her, the deaths of anyone not close to her, or even the fates of thousands of Red children.

5. Cheese with that whine?

Despite being the most horrible person in the book, Mare doesn't seem to realize what a sacrifice others make just being in her presence, and constantly whines about everyone and everything else. She even seems strangely offended by inanimate objects, calling an office "offensively organized" and a door "offensively red".

Mare has definitely had some bad things happen to her, but no more than her other friends, and certainly not enough to warrant her level of whining.

*itemized rant over*

I found the plot to drag throughout most of the book. The romance between Cal and Mare was so awkward and stilted, and Mare's trust issues make it impossible for her to have a real relationship at this point anyway, so it's painful to see her even try. I got so sick and tired of hearing the line "Anyone can betray anyone." Mare takes this advice to strange conclusions, trusting her gut feelings about complete strangers, but watching her back around lifelong friends.

As a result of the above items, I found myself completely unsympathetic to Mare even when horrible things happened to her, so I'm not sure how I'll rally behind her in the next book. However, I'm really interested to see if Maven is really as heartless as he seems, and I hope King's Cage takes Mare's character in a different direction. If not, this quote from my favorite character might ring true:

"Mare, I am very afraid for you. Things have been done to you, things no person should suffer. You've seen horrible things, done horrible things, and they will change you. I'm so afraid for what you could be, if given the wrong chance."

2/5 glass swords

No comments:

Post a Comment