I wish I knew how to start off this review, but the truth is, this series went downhill with each book. I thought it had great potential. When I reread the first and second book to prep myself for the latter two, I liked the books more the second time around. While I did enjoy King’s Cage to an extent, I already had mixed feelings going into the final book because I heard so many conflicting opinions.
This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Title: War Storm (Red Queen #4)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Release date: May 15, 2018
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, sci-fi
Length: 662 pages
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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 overthrow 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 defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable 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 demolishing 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.”
To be honest, I had no idea what direction this book would take. After learning why Maven is the way that he is, I do not understand how he can still harbor romantic (??) feelings for Mare. We hear briefly of someone named Thomas (a Red?) but it really doesn’t go anywhere. I thought it was super shitty for Cal to accept the throne in King’s Cage, and I thought it extra weird that his grandmother and uncle Julian took things into their own hands. Like what the hell? I will say that I enjoyed learning about the other nations around Norta and seeing how similar and different they are. But I can’t find much to redeem this book, unfortunately. The length of the book wasn’t necessary for the information inside. There was hardly any closure for most of the characters, which really made the book fall flat for me.
I’m not saying the plot wasn’t well-developed or intricate because it was. I think Aveyard has good ideas. But like I said earlier, it fell flat and I wanted to DNF the book when I wasn’t even half-way through. I pushed on though (obviously, lol)!
I don’t understand why Aveyard chose to give Iris a POV in this book. I didn’t really care about her. I understand why she wanted revenge but it was just…meh. I was interested in Cal and Maven’s POVs, though, and it took Cal’s first chapter in this book to make me believe he and Mare actually had legit feelings for one another which has been a struggle for me throughout the series. However, I’ve come to like Evangeline, especially her relationship with her brother, Ptolemus. I think she’s been a misunderstood character throughout the series up until this book. I wasn’t sure what to make of her, but as we get to know her more, we see how her parents tried to push her into a mold. She was willing to fit into it if it meant keeping the ones she loved (Elane and her brother really) safe.
I enjoyed how close Mare and Farley became, and I really think this is only due to Shade. Also, Mare being with her family was always refreshing.
I thought it was strange that we have Cameron’s POV in the previous book but then we don’t have it again in this one. It makes me wonder if Cameron’s was just filler, and why it was even there in the first place. I think she had a lot of potential but then it really went…nowhere. I get that Cameron really seemed to care less about what was happening, and only wanted to save her brother.
I was really disappointed in how Cal allowed his grandmother and Uncle Julian to go behind his back. I actually liked Julian in the first three books but I came to despise him in this one. I felt like it was completely out of character for him to betray Cal in such a way. And I just generally disliked his grandmother, too. I thought Cal was stronger than allowing people to do or make decisions for him but I guess not.
Aveyard is an excellent writer. I won’t discount her because of this series. I know she’s working on a YA fantasy that hasn’t been announced yet. Broken Throne released earlier this month, but I’m not motivated to read it. I like the world she created with Red Queen, with its dystopian and X-men-like feel. I thought she did a good job portraying how divisive the blood colors were and how it mirrored similar issues in society. However, I don’t think I’ll keep this series in my personal library.