- Author: Victoria Aveyard
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: May 4, 2021
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Series: Realm Breaker #1
CONTENT WARNING: violence, gore, death, death of an animal, imprisonment
A strange darkness is growing in the Ward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
Fate knocks on her door, in the form of a mythical immortal and a lethal assassin, who tell Corayne that she is the last of an ancient lineage—with the power to save the world from destruction.
Because a man who would burn kingdoms to the ground is raising an army unlike any seen before, bent on uprooting the foundations of the world. With poison in his heart and a stolen sword in his hand, he’ll break the realm itself to claim it. And only Corayne can stop him.
Alongside an unlikely group of reluctant allies, Corayne finds herself on a desperate journey to complete an impossible task, with untold magic signing in her blood and the fate of the world on her shoulders.
This was a book that I was highly anticipating, especially after enjoying the Red Queen series as much as I did. Yes, I know, I’m in the minority that loved the whole series. Unfortunately, this book had an incredible amount of potential and simply failed to deliver for me. Let me explain what I didn’t like first:
My biggest issue was the lack of actual conflict in the story. The author spent nearly 600 pages building up to a conflict that just never happened. It felt like tension was building and building in anticipation of a conflict, but ultimately, nothing really occurred. By the end of the book, it felt like I wasted days slogging through an entire book that was just basically buildup for a second book in which (hopefully) all the actual action would happen. The protagonists and antagonist only have like 2 minutes of actual face to face contact in the ENTIRE book.
It was boring. Maybe this was because there wasn’t a lot of outright conflict, but there was also a surprising lack of plot twists. The few that did appear were so predictable that I was expecting them well in advance. These are important things for me, as a reader, that keep me hooked in a story. I kept reading this, hoping that something, anything, would happen, but I probably would have been better off DNFing it, rather than relying on Aveyard’s reputation as an author who has written books that I enjoyed in the past. There weren’t strong echoes of her previous works in this one.
There were basic editing issues. I know that every single book has spelling issues that slip past the editor. I get that, but when I’m already struggling to stay in a story, finding simple errors like mixing up “breath/breathe” and “tale/tail” completely pulled me out of the story. I usually don’t see these coming up in books published through major companies, and typically not as many as I found in this book. I’m not really sure what happened here.
However, there were some things that could have made this a really great book, if the plot was better. These included:
The characters. I actually liked the characters. They were created really well, and I wanted to see them do well. Their personalities were well-developed, unique, and each was introduced slowly throughout the book, giving readers time to adjust to their presence before adding more to the mix. The protagonists even have a good amount of witty banter.
The premise. The idea behind the story was a really good one. It’s what drew me to reading this book in the first place. I just wish that I got to actually read more of the story instead of just the prep for the story. We got a lot of background and characters running around, getting to know each other, and making plans that don’t quite come to fruition.
The writing. I liked the style in which it was written and the descriptions. It takes place across an entire realm, which we see in little pieces. The story has more of an epic fantasy feel than anything else that I’ve read recently.
However, the things that I enjoyed didn’t quite overcome the things that fell short. In the end, they raised my rating from a single star to a 2 star review. This isn’t a series I’d recommend, and I most likely won’t be reading further, which is a shame, because this one could have been such a great read, if only.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 3
Categories: Book Review