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.
GLASS SWORD / AUTHOR: VICTORIA AVEYARD /
PUBLISHER: HARPER TEEN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW