Wednesday, November 27, 2019

War Storm - Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen Series #4)

This is the fourth book in the Red Queen series.  We do not recommend reading this summary or review unless you have read Red Queen (#1), Glass Sword (#2), and King's Cage (#3).  

Summary: Victory comes at a price.  Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal's betrayal nearly destroyed her.  Now determined to protect her heart -- and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her -- Mare resolves to destroy the kingdom of Norta once and for all...starting with the crown on Maven's head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to destory the boy who almost broke her.  Cal's powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidably force.  But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means destroying everything -- and everyone -- in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms?  Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard's stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power...for all will be tested, but not all will survive.  (Summary from book flap - Image from amazon.com)

My Review: War Storm marks the fourth and final book in the Red Queen dystopian series that has taken up a good chunk of my time the last few months. Here we are at the end of it all and it's been quite the ride.  The story begins after the rebels' success in the battle at Corvium.  Not long after, Cal is faced with a difficult decision that creates a rift between he and Mare. Both refuse to budge and put the cause above all else, even especially each other.  Honestly, how often do you see that in YA anymore?  Two people who aren't willing to compromise on their convictions and give up anything and everything to be together.  It was kind of refreshing (in a completely frustrating way).  

Where the first two books were told from a single perspective, the fourth book had five different 'narrators': Mare, Evangeline, Iris, Cal, and Maven.  I loved getting into the head space of three strong women, even if they frequently operated at odds with each other.  While Evangeline's romantic inclinations might provoke a more sensitive reader, I really liked her evolution as a character and watching her loyalties shift throughout the series.  There were a few rare occasions where Cal and Maven piped up too, which offered a fascinating peek behind those iron curtains.  In one of those moments it became clear that Maven has deep-seated psychological issues and is broken in a way that likely can't be fixed. It felt wrong to feel sorry for him, but at the same point, I loved that the story could spin me around like that.   

As with the last book, one of my favorite aspects of the story was watching barriers break down between different 'classes' of people.  Many Red, Silver, and Newblood characters began too see each other's value and learn to work together. I also appreciated the complexity of a conflict that couldn't be settled in a day and for which there were no easy answers.  With each new situation, alliances were uncertain which made things deliciously unpredictable. YUM!

For the most part, I was caught up in the absolute whirlwind of characters, locations, and plot twists, but towards the end of this 662-page book I will admit, I was ready for the storm to abate.  Parts of it seemed drawn out for effect and in the slightly altered but still immortal words of one Mrs. Bennett (from Jane Austen's P&P): Have a little compassion on my POOR NERVES, Victoria Aveyard!!!  Sheesh.  The last 80 pages or so are a doozy. Don't worry, I won't be spoiling it for you. All I will say is that even though the ending wasn't all floofy unicorns and rainbows or tied up in a neat little bow, it just felt right.  I recommend this series to anyone who doesn't find any hurdles in the sensitive reader section.  

My Rating:  3.75 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader: Violence and a handful of swear words (including one F-bomb).  Those sensitive to same-gender relationships should know that there are several characters with same-sex significant others in this book.  Most of these relationships are only mentioned in passing, and those that receive more attention are not portrayed in a sexually graphic way.  

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