Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review of Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

My Rating: * * * * * 5/5 stars

Summary: Discover the truth of Norta's bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance as she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital. She was raised to be strong, but planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected—until she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation: Mare Barrow.

My Review: Cruel Crown is two novellas in one Steel Scars, and Queen Song are the two novellas included in Cruel Crown you get two for the price of one so to say =)  

Queen Song tells the story of Coriane who is Cal's mother (Cal is a main character in the Red Queen series of books).  It is not a very long story but the reader learns in detail about Coriane's early life and her relationship with her brother Julian who is also a main character in the Red Queen series of books. She is an interesting character who does not seem to have high self esteem; and yet she has an inner courage that I admired.  She is chosen to be queen (at Queenstrial) much to the disdain of her silver noble friends who do not see why she was chosen and not them since they consider her to be kind of a weakling and all that matters in their twisted world is strength and power over the red vermin. 

Coriane's main enemy is Maven's mother Elara who does not think Coriane has what it takes to be a good queen so she sets out on a mission to destroy the mind of the young  girl with her abilities so she can take her place and become queen herself.  As a reader I enjoyed this short novella and it really gave me more insight into the mind of Cal and why he had a right to hate Elara (his half brother's mother) as much as he seemed to in the Red Queen Series. There was mention of Coriane's name in the main books in this series; but having an in depth look at her life and the sad ending it had really helped my enjoyment and my understanding of the Red Queen Series.  If I hadn't had this look into Coriane's world and thought processes I wouldn't have given Cal as much of a chance as a character to develop throughout the main full size books.  

If you want to read more Aveyard and have read the Red Queen series I would recommend this book! It gives you a great background to work with as a reader and leads to a better understanding of the battle that rages between Cal and Maven for power and the history behind it.

Steel Scars is the backstory of Farley and how she was raised in a kind of army like fashion by her Father.  The two have a very rough relationship as can be seen in the main books and knowing Farley's backstory helped me connect to her as a character; it also lead me to be easier on her when she did things in the main books that may seem heartless to others but are easier to understand because I knew how she was raised.

I did not enjoy the way every few pages how communications between different people in the revolution was formatted.  It was hard on my eyes; and the language used was not always understandable to me and I'd have to reread it to even get the gist of what was happening; and I hate having to reread to understand something.  I think the author should make things clear enough in the beginning so that is not necessary; for me I have tons of books I want to read as well as usually the running commentary of my two year old of whatever she is engaged in at the moment and having to reread something I consider to be a big waste of my time as a blogger and reader.  Some of the language used in the ''army communications" was interesting to learn but I don't think there should have been so many paragraphs of them a few would have sufficed if the author just wanted to highlight how they looked or how the people in the revolutionary group communicated with each other.

Farley grew up in the revolution and especially after she lost her mother her dad became more of just a superior to her than a Father.  You can tell she is committed to their cause and is willing to risk everything to accomplish the goals of her father and his superiors.  She so badly wants his approval and his stamp of success on her life and efforts but he rarely gives her praise and is aloof and cold with her; so though you can tell he loves her, it is his own brand of affection...its his way or the highway most of the time.  I related to this and I think anyone could...the desire to please your parents and to want them to approve of what you do and to be proud of the life you've chosen.  I have definitely had similar feelings in my life and am sure most others have too.  This makes it easier to relate to Farley as a character; it gives her more depth than she might seem to have in the main three books in the Red Queen series.  It was also nice to know her backstory and see why she acted the way she did in certain situations (especially combat situations).

I would recommend this novella too; it gave me a better understanding of the rebel red group and their background and how they came to exist.  If you as a reader enjoyed the Red Queen series as a whole than you will enjoy this novella; I even wish it had been a little longer and without all the 'army communications' that were included.  I've been asked if you need to have read the entire series before you read these two novellas to really understand them and in my opinion no that is not necessary to understand these two stories; however I would recommend having read Red Queen (the first book in the Red Queen series).  It gives you a solid background of whats going on and how Mare's dystopian world works; as well as introducing you to most of the character's you will need to have some understanding and background of to really enjoy the two novellas that are included in Cruel Crown to the best of your abilities as a reader.  And yes I recommend buying Cruel Crown instead of getting Queen Song and Steel Scars individually...why pay two separate prices when you can get both in Cruel Crown; or in other words (again) you get two for the price of one =) .  Always a good deal!

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