Book 32 on My Book List 2020
”Perhaps this is my own ignorance, but I cannot fathom the death of millions by the order of one.”
I don’t even know how to start this but let’s just say this was very different to what I expected but it was still okay. I mean I obviously expected a collection of short stories and that’s what I got. Well, that and additional info about the world building which was really nice. The fact that those stories followed a timeline and that we actually got to see some moments that played after “War Storm” was great too. Still, I wasn’t happy that “Queen Song” and “Steel Scars” were included once again because I already read them and would have liked some new short stories instead. I guess that’s just personal preference though so yeah. Also this might be a spoiler now so if you don’t want to be spoiled about Maven you better don’t click that button but for everyone who hopes there will be Maven in this book and doesn’t want to read my entire review to find out: (view spoiler) If you want to read more of my thought on this and the other short stories, feel free to continue to read my review. I’ll try my best to keep the summaries spoiler free. 😉
Queen Song: 4
”Her footsteps were even, not too fast or too slow. How far away must I be?
Farther, said Elara’s sneering purr in her head. She nearly tripped over at the sensation. The voice echoed in everything around and in her, windows to bone, from the chandeliers overhead to the blood pounding in her ears. Farther, Jacos.”
I already said it and I’ll say it again: This short story is amazing and heart-breaking at the same time. It’s about Cal’s mother Coriane and how she got to know Cal’s father and ended up becoming the Queen of Norta. The story itself is pretty slow at the beginning but the ending is… haunting. I have no other word for it so I’ll just leave it at that. This said, “Queen Song” was definitely one of the best short stories of this collection.
Steel Scars: 2
Okay, I’ll be totally honest here: I skipped the entire short story because I already read it back in 2017 and I just couldn’t bring myself to read it again. I didn’t like it when I first read it and I doubt anything would have changed if I would have given it a second chance so 2 stars it is. My opinion still stands.
World Behind: 4
”A silver princess abandoning her kingdom, dead to all who knew her. And wanting to stay that way. I’m intrigued to say the very least.”
I’ve got to admit that this was a really nice short story and I enjoyed it very much. Ashe and Lyrisa were two super intriguing characters and I totally loved their interactions. Also it was nice to see a different POV than the ones we already knew and to experience how the war felt for all the refugees that had to deal with its repercussions. It’s good their POV was told and I also think it’s very important. Usually only the main players in a war write history and get the attention; it’s always the civilians who suffer the most though. So kudos to Victoria for giving them room too!
Iron Heart: 3
”Princess Evangeline. Lady of House Samos. Daughter of Volo and Larentia.
I am none of those things anymore. Not after today. I should be glad – I should be relieved to be rid of the name and the life my parents gave me. And parts of me are. But the rest of me can’t help but be reminded of what I traded away to live as who I am now. What I betrayed. What I killed. What I lost forever.”
I was never Evangeline’s biggest fan so this story was okay for me? I mean I’m happy for her and Elane and I’m glad she finally did what she wanted to do instead of what everyone else expected her to do. It takes guts to go your own way and I really liked that Evangeline was ready to do it. Still, aside from her embracing her new home and status not a lot happened in here so it was just a nice addition to the main story we already know. No more, no less. 😉
”Hereafter, I shall be known as Evangeline Samos of Montfort, and I swear my allegiance to the Free Republic, where I can live and love freely. I renounce my citizenship in the Rift, in Norta, and in any country where people are caged for the circumstances of birth.”
Fire Light: 4
”When we first came here I told myself it was so we could heal and mourn together. And so I could forget. Put aside all the things Maven did to me and I did to him. Instead, barely a day goes by without me agonizing over him and his fate. Whether he deserved it or not. If I made the right choice. If he could have been saved.”
I think of all the new short stories this was my favourite one. And this even though it was about Mare and Cal. *lol* As you all know I was never the biggest fan of this ship so I certainly didn’t expect to like this story as much as I did. I guess what I liked the most about it was that it gave me some sort of closure. I never got that at the end of “War Storm” and somehow this short story was exactly what I would have needed after finishing the last book. It was good to see that Mare and Cal tried to work through their differences and that they still dared to hope for a better future. After everything they went through they were both thoroughly broken and I think Victoria captured this more than just well. Their grief, their guilt and self-hatred, their doubts and fears and – like a thread through all of their thoughts – their still palpable love for Maven. Because yes, those three were messed up and their relationship was more than just dysfunctional but at the end of the day both of them loved Maven in their own way. My heart still aches for Maven and obviously Mare’s and Cal’s hearts still ache for him too. <333
”I thought I’d lost them both, lost them to each other one last time. My brother would have liked that. He took her once before and he would have taken her forever if he could have.”
”I can still hear him in my head. You think I can’t lie through pain, he said when Tyton got too close. You think I haven’t done it a thousand times?
He meant the torture his mother inflicted on him. I knew that then and it haunts me now. Whatever his mother did to him whenever she entered his mind – it was torture. It was pain. And it twisted him beyond repair.”
”She feels the memory as I do, both of us lost to watching the floor. Her smile fades, as does mine, and we weather the storm of loss and regret together. It’s the only way through it.”
Fare Well: 3,5
”My mother gave me so much, but she took in return.”
This short story was just too…. well, short! I really would have loved to get a full short story about Maven but all I got was one chapter and even though this was a great chapter and made me feel all the mixed feels it still wasn’t enough. Victora could have given us a short story about Maven’s past and how he met Thomas. She could have given us a story about Maven as a little boy, but she did none of those things and I’m kind of bitter about it. Yes, “Fare Well” gave us a good glimpse into Maven’s mind and yes, it even managed to kind of redeem his character… but it didn’t give me all the content I was craving for and the knowledge that I will never get more of him is sort of irritating?! >_<
”Cut for cut, my mother whispers, louder now, taunting. The words slice like a razor.
It would hurt him deeply, wound him forever, if I let him glimpse what little is left of me. That I’m still here, in some forgotten corner, just waiting to be found. I could ruin him with one glance, one echo of the brother he remembers. Or I could free him of me. Make the choice for him. Give my brother one last proof of the love I can no longer feel, even if he never knows it.
I weight the choice in my heart, each side heavy and impossible. For one terrifying moment, I don’t know what to do.”
”He is without his title, with little more than his name. But every word on the stone is the truth. We love him – and he strayed down a path no one else should pursue.”
This collection of short stories kind of started with Elara’s influence and also sort of ended with it which gave this a pretty nice touch. I really enjoyed some of those stories and considering it all it was a nice compilation. The additional info about their world and how it came into being was a welcome supplement and I’m sure if you’re a hard-core fan you’ll appreciate “Broken Throne”.