A - E, Allgemein, B, Reviews

Review: Broken Throne (Victoria Aveyard)

53332023. sy475

Rating: 3 Pfoten

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.”

Conclusion:

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”.

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: War Storm (Victoria Aveyard)

40165899. sy475

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Maven, Maven, Maven
more Maven that’s all I need!!!

I don’t care
about Mare.

Don’t give a damn
about Cal
that caveman!

I couldn’t care less
about Kilorn
that little a…

Maven, Maven, Maven
more Maven
that’s all I’m living for!!!

Maven, my precious Maven,
I hope you liked my lore!

*bows*
And I’m out! <333

___________________________________

”Love can be exploited, I guess, used to manipulate. It’s leverage. But I would never call loving someone else a weakness. I think living without love at all, any kind of love, is weakness. And the worst kind of darkness.”

And boy was this book dark because all the main characters tried to ignore their feelings and actually hoped they could live without the love of their life. *lol* This book was so heavy in so many different ways (yes even in the sense of actual weight ;-P) that it took me about 2 ½ months to read it and if I’m entirely honest I still don’t know how I feel about it. I mean I finished „War Storm“ about two weeks ago, but did I love it? Did I hate it? ARGH! I just don’t know! >_<

It was realistic. I mean, for a fantasy and YA book this series was damn realistic. Not when it came to the special abilities or the world they lived in, but when it came to human relationships, feelings, the dark abyss of people’s minds, driven characters and the things that move and motivate humankind. Well, if you take that into consideration then this book was brilliant and the ending was more than just fitting. Still, as much as I admired Victoria’s decision to give us a realistic ending, I still can’t bring myself to like it. *lol* Is that weird? XD I guess it is, because for once I actually didn’t want realistic. Haha! I wanted it all to work out nicely, but Victoria didn’t grant me that wish so yeah…

I hurt and I probably will do so until I get over that ending, which in all honesty might never happen. Guess I’ll have to learn to live with the ache and the countless “what ifs”.
Damn this book left me with so many questions, I can’t even! T_T

Anyway, let’s get back to the actual review! =)

1

”This world is a storm I helped create. We all did, in ways big and small. With steps we could not fathom, paths we never thought to walk.”

2

Welcome to my spoiler section! 😉 If you don’t want to be spoiled I suggest you skip the rest of my review and don’t even bother to take a peek! You most certainly will regret it if you still want to read the book! I’m a relentless “Spoiler Queen” and this section is going to be full of them! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! XD

Mare – The Lightning Girl:

”Break his crown, break his throne, rip his monarchy apart.” I stare up at her with as much strength as I can muster. The lightning in my blood responds with fervor, begging to crack loose. “But Tiberias lives.”

I really liked Mare’s character development and I think she eventually managed to come to terms with herself. In this book she knew exactly what she wanted, what she aimed to achieve and how far she would go to reach her goals. She didn’t make any compromises, it was all or nothing and I loved her for it!!! Finally!!! I’ve waited for her to be strong for so long, to cut her own path and to do what she needed to do! Yes, she was still broken by what Maven did to her, but she refused to give into it, to give him power over her! She fought back and stood her ground and I think this was one of the best things about this book! Mare you’ve come a long way and I’m proud of you! =))

”Even after Maven, my long months of imprisonment, all the death and destruction I’ve seen or caused. My broken heart, still bleeding inside me. The unending fear for the people I love, and the people I want to save. It all remains, a constant weight. But I won’t let it drown me.
I can still hope too.”

”Lightning has no mercy. Neither do I.”

Cal – Tiberias Calore:

”Tiberias still wears no crown, but I see it on him just the same. In his shoulders, in his eyes, in his slow, firm manner. He is a king as much as anyone can be. To the blood. To the bone.”

Haha! I was right! Cal didn’t change in this book! He was still not ready to give up his crown, he still wanted to be the king of Norta and he was clinging to his crown so stubbornly it was horrible to watch! URGH! What’s even worse is that he could have changed everything but just flat out refused to do so. I mean alone his situation with Evangeline! Why marry a woman that wants nothing more than to kill me in my sleep? A woman that loves someone else and doesn’t want me? For an empty throne? For a destroyed kingdom? I swear if I would have gotten a Euro for every time I wanted to yell “CAL YOU NUMPTY WAKE UP!” I’d be more than rich by now. *lol* So sorry, but I still don’t like him and I don’t get how anyone could love that egoistic and narrow-minded princeling. *grrr* #SorryNotSorry

”But every passing second makes my decision more difficult as I’m reminded of what I’m going to lose when the time comes. What I lost for so many weeks. Not just her love, but her voice. Her sharpness. The push and pull of a person who has no regard for my blood or my crown. Someone who sees me, and no one else in my place.”

Maven:

”He lays the flower on the railing, petals up, and fusses with his fingernails. They’re short, worn by teeth and anxiety. I would expect a king to keep his nails finely manicured, suited to the arms of a throne. Or maybe roughed by Training or combat, as I’m sure his brother’s are. Not ruined by nervous habits better suited to a child.”

Oh Maven… *shakes head sadly* I’m sorry to say it but I have to agree with all the people who told me that Victoria ruined his character. Yes, she did. Gosh, he had so much potential, but it was all wasted when he died. T_T I loved the Maven POVs but I really wished there would have been more to them. Don’t get me wrong, we actually got a good glimpse at his mind but it definitely lacked the cunning and cruel side of him. All I saw was a broken and tortured soul but I’d have loved to see more. I can’t describe it but Maven was always such a complex character and even though he was the villain he wasn’t entirely bad. There was a part of him that was still good and Victoria destroyed it. I mean I get that Maven eventually had to die. I actually expected it, but the way it happened? No, I didn’t like it. *sighs* He was nothing but a typical villain in the end and all the fine nuances I loved about him were suddenly gone. I don’t know what I expected but he should have gotten at least a small chance to redeem himself. Like for instance what if he would have hesitated to kill Mare, if he would have realized what he’s doing and Mare would have seized the chance and would have killed him? For me this would have been a better ending. But there was no hesitation, no remorse and that felt so… dissonant with his character. Urgh! I dunno! *cries a river for Maven’s tortured soul* T_T

”Mother’s voice has grown fainter as time passes, but she never truly recedes. Sometimes I wonder if she planted a seed in me, leaving it to bloom only after her death. I don’t know if whispers can even do that. But it’s an easy explanation for the murmurs and the mutters that rattle around in my skull.”

”At least her voice is gentle today. When I falter, when I slow down, it turns sharp, a fraying, splintering shriek, steel on steel. Glass popping in the heat of flame. Sometimes it’s so awful I check to make sure my eyes and ears aren’t bleeding. They never do. Her words never exist beyond the cage of my head.”

”The electric energy is a tease at best. Beyond my reach, beyond the sphere of Silent Stone. I ache for my ability the way I ache for Mare, for Thomas, for who I was supposed to be.”

Iris :

”Maven, his kingdom, they’re a shield, but a sword too. We have to use him, even though he’s a danger to us all.”

I know some people will say “WHAT?!” now, but I really started to like that manipulative and cunning sea lake witch. *lol* Iris and Maven certainly were equal when it came to their machinations and intrigues and their conversations always dripped with venom. I kind of liked that they were at each other’s throat and haha by betraying dear Maven to the enemy Iris definitely showed some serious backbone! *lol* I didn’t think she had it in her but to manipulate the “King of manipulation” definitely is an achievement! 😉 Still, I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen to the Lakelands now. The ending of the book left me with a lot of questions and I’m afraid I’ll never get any answers to them. =S

”In spite of my better instincts, I feel the smallest pang of pity for Maven Calore. He is not of his own making. Not entirely. Someone else perfectly cut him apart and poorly put him back together.”

Evangeline:

”In a flash, I envision the life he wants for us all. The life he would subject all of us to. The crown on my head, his heart in her hand. My children threatened every second by any child she might have. My days spent bending to his will, no matter how gentle it might be. No matter how many days he might let me spend with my Elane, as long as he can spend his with Mare.”

I don’t even dare to say it but I think I love her?! *lol* I mean I always kind of liked her even though she was so bitchy and mean to Mare but during the last three books she really started to grow on me. XD Her character development was awesome and even though some part of her still thinks that Silvers are superior to the Reds she started to learn that not everything is black and white and that change is possible. I guess a lot of her dislike for Reds was due to her upbringing and I’m sure given half a chance she’ll question everything she believed for so long. Well, in fact she already started to question everything in this book and boy was I proud of her when she decided for love in the end!!! She did something Cal never managed to do and I adore her for it!!! <333

”I think the war has done something to me. Put a fear in me I never had before. Not for myself, but for Ptolemus and Elane. The ones I love most, and would kill to protect. Sacrifice everything to keep safe and close. I’ve tasted a crown now, and I know it doesn’t compare.”

”I try to read her thoughts on her face, her carefully worn expression of thoughtfulness. Is she remembering our lives a year ago? When we thought we would be happy beneath the Nortan throne together, living in a future built on our secrets? As if we were ever truly a secret to anyone with eyes.”

3

Mare & Cal:

”I love you is a promise we both made, and we both broke. It should mean I choose you above all else. I want you more. I need you always. I cannot live without you. I will do anything to keep our lives from parting.
But he wouldn’t. And I won’t.
I am less than his crown, and he is less than my cause.”

Mare and Cal! ARGH! I swear no couple ever made me feel so frustrated! Their constant back and forth was horrible and if you ask me Cal is still a coward!! And a numpty!!! I mean let’s face it, they both made their POV very clear, they drew the lines in the sand and both of them didn’t want to budge. They were determined to do what they thought they had to do and not even their love for each other was strong enough to change that. And then Cal finally loses his kingdom and everything he fought for and chooses Mare?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! Was it even a choice if he had nothing to lose anymore?!! It was like: Oh, worst case scenario happened and I lost everything, but wait now I can be with Mare! YOU NUMPTY COULD HAVE HAD HER ALL ALONG!!! Seriously, this was sooo stupid and what is Mare doing? She ACTUALLY TAKES HIM BACK!!! ARGH!!! After everything that happened, after everything Cal did!! SHE. TAKES. HIM. BACK!!! I can’t even… no I just can’t!!! They’ll never be my OTP!!! Sorry! But no way! All Cal would have gotten from me would be a certain finger right into his face! Guess it’s good Mare is more forgiving than I. *lol*

”Try as I might, I can’t stamp out the hope still burning in my heart. I still want him to choose me. And I would still forgive him if he admitted his mistake. That hope refuses to die, stupid as it might be.”

”But I also can’t –“
Stay away. Keep doing this. Denying ourselves in the face of always-looming death.
Tiberias hisses out a breath. “Neither can I.”

”I’m done with crowns,” he murmurs to the top of my head.
“Finally,” I whisper.

Mare & Maven:

The full force of his gaze almost knocks me out of my seat. “And I want to die the way my mother did,” he says plainly, as if asking for an extra blanket. Again I feel too stunned to think. All I can do is keep my jaw locked in place so my mouth won’t gape open in shock.
“Ripped apart by your fury,” he pushes on, his eyes horrible, unforgettable, searing into me. The brand on my collarbone seems to burn. “And your hatred.”

Their relationship was always cruel, dangerous and crazy but I still loved their dynamic. XD Those two never gave each other an inch as well and even though Maven was the villain I still think that he loved Mare even more than Cal. I mean for Cal his kingdom always came first, for Mare the Red Guard always came first and for Maven? He had the throne, he lost the throne but he always wanted Mare. She was his main motivation and even though his love for her was twisted, obsessive and wrong, it was still love. His mother made him into the person he became and changed him so much that he lost himself in the process. It was not voluntarily, she just did it without his permission. I’m with Farley on that one, he might have been a decent human being if not for his mother’s poison. I really wish it wouldn’t have ended that way and I can only hope that Maven met Thomas again. After all he was the first domino that fell and Maven’s love for him was genuine. *sighs deeply*

He smiles. “That’s enough for me. A better good-by than I deserve.”
“And what do I deserve, Maven?”
“Better than we ever gave you.”

”We’re alike in some ways, too many ways. I’ve tasted darkness, and he lives in it. He represents what I could become, without my family, without an anchor, if I’m pushed into the abyss.”

Maven & Cal:

”The impossible. Part of me still refuses to believe that. My brother is not a lost cause. He can’t be. I won’t allow it.”

Well, and that’s about the only thing I liked about Cal! *lol* His love for his brother! His hope that Maven might still be saved! Cal knew what Maven’s mother did to him and he always tried to find a solution that would not end with Maven being killed. Unfortunately there was no way to undo what Elara had already done and we all know how it ended. T_T Still, I have to give Cal kudos for never giving up on his brother. Even when the end was near, he still hoped that he would change and that they’d find a cure. He loved him until the bitter end and I couldn’t help but love him for it. Even though I actually don’t like him. *lol* Talk about confusing feelings. XD

”We grew up knowing I would be king and he would stand at my side. My strongest ally, my most fervent supporter. My best adviser, a shield and a crutch. A second opinion. A sanctuary. Not once did I question the arrangement, and I never thought he did either. How wrong I was.”

”Maven,” I sigh, shaking my head at his blindness. “The last person who loves you isn’t standing in this room. He’s out there. And you burned that bridge to ashes.”

4

Despite being able to clobber someone with this huge book I still liked it and enjoyed to read the many different POVs. Sometimes it felt like there were just too many political discussions going on and like the plot didn’t move an inch and then something unexpected would happen and everything would go way too fast again. I have very mixed feelings about this book because I think a few pages less and a little more characterization would have been desirable, it’s just my personal opinion though. All in all it was a good ending to a great series and even though I might feel conflicted about some of the characters choices and their development it ultimately was Victoria’s decision to make.
So all told this leaves me with 3,5 paws rounded up to 4. 😉