PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

There is a particular style of Young Adult novel that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. The set-up is as follows; a young woman lives in a dystopian future. She comes from humble origins, but through no fault or ambition of her own, she has greatness thrust upon her. Usually this is in the form of some sort supernatural power.  At the same time, the (always) heterosexual heroine finds themselves torn between at least two powerful men. One will be broody and complex, the other less broody and more straight forward. These books are almost always trilogies, and the second book tends to expand on the world a little more.

Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword follows this formula in a pretty exacting way. The first book in the series, The Red Queen, read like a greatest hits of Young Adult tropes, but Aveyard’s skill kept it clever and engaging. The Glass Sword is her difficult second book, and falls pretty short of the mark.

For a start, the prose has lost all its sparkle. As the main character, Mare, finds herself thrust into the role of freedom fighter, it seems that the author doesn’t really know where to go with the characters or the story. The entire novel swerves from idea to idea, never quite staying long enough to be satisfying.

Whereas the first book, Red Queen, focused on a small band of people and their relationships,  Glass Sword introduces a whole new cast. Alas, the story doesn’t hang around any of them for long enough for anything interesting to happen. Aveyard attempts to inject drama into the narrative by making here central hero dysfunctional and self-obsessed. This is quite jarring and doesn’t line up with the same character from the previous novel.  Worse still, the character feels repetitive and dull throughout.

Glass Sword feels like a cynical cash-in sequel to a novel that was pretty much a remix of older, more interesting ideas to begin with.  Unless the third book in the series does something to make it remarkable, we suspect that this bland bargain basement copy of The Hunger Games will sink without a trace in the years to come.


Suggested Articles:
At the time of its release in 1984, Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves received mixed reviews: it
Imagine that your innocuous-seeming travel business was the cover for an ultra-top secret agency of
In his 2006 obituary to Nigel Kneale, which opens this fascinating new book on the work of one of Br
The closing chapter of The Falconer trilogy, The Fallen Kingdom sees Aileana Kameron, a Victorian de
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code

Sign up today!