Synopsis: Hot off the betrayal of her Maven, Mare finds herself in the company of the Scarlet Guard with the startling news that she is not the only one of her kind. There are others out there whose blood runs red yet possess abilities of the Silvers.
With Maven hot on her heels, Mare sets out to recruit others like her in hopes of saving them from death or a fate even worse. However, as she does so, she struggles to keep the guilt of what she’s done balanced with her fears and determination. If she isn’t careful, she could push everyone away and turn into the kind of monster she’s trying to defeat.
- I struggled with liking a lot of characters in this book. Everyone’s hurting, everyone’s fighting, and everyone is…well, annoying.
- Trust no one. So true.
- I love Shade, so much. I’m glad we finally get to know him in this book.
- Out of all the characters, Mare changes the most. I’m not sure how to handle this change in her.
- I don’t like Cameron. At all. Doesn’t matter if what she speaks has truth to it, she’s annoying and bratty.
- So many cool abilities amongst the Newbloods, I hope we get to see them even more.
Mare. At the heart of everything, she’s still Mare Barrow, the smart, strong, badass, and occasionally selfish heroine we came to know and love in Red Queen. The difference now being she’s been hardened by the events of the past, and she’s more confident in her powers, almost to the point of a Silver-like cockiness. However, that doesn’t stop the memories that plague her or the constant guilt gnawing its way through her soul. We slowly start to see the web of lies she weaves as the gaping hole Maven left behind grows bigger with each passing day and she walks dangerously close to the edge with a good chance of her fear pushing her over.
But then, my life has changed more in the last two months than ever before. And only two people were with me through it. The first is imprisoned and the second wears a crown of blood.
Mare is pulled in a million different directions. She needs to be lightening girl, a leader, a sister, and a friend, all at once. What everyone forgets is that she’s just a 17-year-old girl whose world was flipped on its head in a matter of months. A big issue she has right off the bat is the ability to trust, which includes her brother, Shade. Although at times, I feel like her mistrust bordered on paranoia, which I couldn’t entirely blame her for given everything that’s happened.
My ability is my most prized possession, even though it separates me from everyone else. But for power, for my own power, it is a price I am willing to pay.
Something that surprised me was how vindictive she started to become; she almost looked like a Silver for a second or two at some parts, both inside and out. Mare become quite high and mighty, allowing her strength and power to go to her head a little. The most frustrating thing though, was how she pushed everyone away. It felt completely unwarranted, especially with how much she warred with herself on Cal. I guess it all goes back to the trust thing, but she refused to put much faith in him, purely because of the fact that he’s a Silver.
I must freeze my heart to the one person who insists on setting it ablaze.
But gosh darn it, if she doesn’t try her hardest to save as many lives as possible. She really, truly does. With every move she makes, her intentions are good. However, no good deed goes unpunished and all that. The odds are somewhat stacked against her until she can rally the strength to go against Maven and step out from underneath his thumb as well as all the demons she battles within herself.
If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.
Cal. We see quite the change in Cal as well. He’s not the strong, charming prince we know from Red Queen. Now he’s a boy, orphaned, plagued by nightmares, and running for his life. Can you blame him, though? He’s had everything and everyone he’s ever loved ripped out from underneath him. He was forced to kill his own father, and now his entire kingdom wants him dead, for God’s sake. I’m surprised he’s able to stay upright, let alone stand next to Mare and fight. Because of this though, I think he’s even more lost than Mare is with nowhere to go.
After what Maven’s done to his legacy and reputation, Cal has nothing and no one but us now, even if he refuses to admit it.
His love for Mare is fierce, although it takes a major backseat to the plot, which I was ok with. There’s enough going on without needing to throw an abundance of romance in there. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s still moments between them that I loved!
Maven. I think there all of…two scenes with Maven actually in them. However, he was still very much present in the story within the minds of the characters. Mare and Cal were mourning the loss of Prince they thought they knew. I don’t think Mare will ever let go of him, no matter how much she tells herself she will.
Because I miss him. I miss the boy I thought he was.
When we do get to see him, you know it isn’t going to be good. He’s cruel, he’s calculating, and he’s unforgiving. The crown on his head symbolizing his hunger for power that turned him into the monster we’ve come to known. It’s easy to see why he haunts Mare’s thoughts and dreams the way he does. There’s no escaping him.
Others. We get to see more of Kilorn, still blindly following Mare into battle, although he rubbed me the wrong way for a good chunk of the beginning of the book. He was like this annoying little kid playing around your feet and getting in the way when you’re trying to get things done.
Still a boy, no more than eighteen, with too much to live for, and too little reason to die.
Then there’s Shade. *sigh* I loved his character. He’s brotherly love and protectivenes was adorable. Not to mention, his ability to “jump” is awesome and extremely useful. I’m glad that we get to know him in this book. It was nice for Mare to have someone there for her always (aside from like, Cal and Kilorn, despite her disbelief). I wish I could say more, but I’m trying really hard not to get spoiler-y here. So far I think I’ve succeeded. 😉
As much as I enjoyed the book, it did have a few parts where it dragged. The vibe of this book kind of felt like Mockingjay if I’m completely honest. Mare has to go into these cities, risking her life as well as everyone else’s that she brings with her, in order to recruit the other Newbloods to join her cause. All the while, there’s war, there’s the ‘lightning girl’ fighting for everyone, and there’s death (which is kind of inevitable with war). I enjoyed seeing all the abilities that were introduced with the new cast of characters, which I’ll let you discover for yourself. 😉
Outside of that, there isn’t a ton of world building that happens. Yes, we go to new cities that we didn’t see in Red Queen, but the focus of the book is focused majorly on the Newbloods and Mare’s ongoing war within herself. We do find out more about the Scarlet Guard, which was cool.
Now, as for the romance I referenced. It’s there, but it’s a mess. Maven is obviously ouf of the picture, leaving just Cal and Mare. It’s clear that there’s a love there, but each of them fights it and puts up a wall because of what’s transpired between them. They use each other and in turn hurt one another with scathing words and damning looks. They still can’t help but to protect the other though, and when they work together, it’s magical and they’re virtually unstoppable.
Together we alternate back and forth, protecting our own retreat. When his flame falls, my lightning rises, and so on. Together, we have a chance.
I ship them. So hard. Always. Maven was never in the running. Sorry not sorry.
But that ending though. I didn’t see it coming. And that prologue….ugh. I need the next book. NOW.
I’d definitely recommend this book. It’s a solid sequel, building on the first beautifully with a new cast of characters you’ll be rooting for in no time. Expect jaw-dropping, oh-no-you-didn’ts, and let’s go kick some butt moments as you read. I can 100% say that this book has pulled me out of my slump because I could not put it down.
However, my rating may still change. It started as 4 teacups, then I bumped it up to 4.5, and I think I’m going to knock it back down to 4. As much as I enjoyed the book, I’m not reeling from it like I have from others.