Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard


Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

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

Also includes an exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series! Glass Sword transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl’s resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

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.1

I’m having a bit of a love hate relationship it seems when it comes to the Red Queen series.  I really liked the first book, but as things seem to progress my mind and interest are beginning to waiver.  Even with the dramatic way the last book ended you would have assumed I would have snatched up the final book as soon as it was released, yet here we are, reviewing novellas that were read out of order and no final book to be seen in my reading list.

After reading Glass Sword I had thought that the addition of some novellas would have been practical as well as expected.  It wasn’t until I was finished the book and this thought had occurred to me that I did discover that there were in fact novellas already published, though not based on the characters I would have expected.

Queen Song

We are given the rare glimpse into the relatively unknown character of Queen Coriane before and after becoming queen.  The story has given us only the odd snippet into the life of the dead Queen, but nothing to really give us an idea of who she was.  This unexpected glimpse draws us in, though the story is cut short before we really get a chance to know her.  Though there are clues and connections to the main stories, there are also some questions that I feel may never be answered.

Steel Scars

Another unexpected glimpse into the character of Farley.  While she has become a main character later on in the books, at the time of the novellas she was still very much a ghost. Having read Glass Sword first there wasn’t much that was new or overly exciting to be shared in this novella.  Steel Scars was actually my least favourite and was quite painful to endure.  Had I actually read the book I feel as though it wouldn’t have been so painful as I would have been able to skip many lines and parts where as listening to the audiobook the reader was forced to read each line.  Much of the story consisted of confidential correspondence between the Red Dawn which has been decoded.  Though I am at a loss as to what the actual wording would have looked like in the book, the audiobook forces us to sit through an endless barrage of things such as: the following confidential message has been decoded colonel redacted something about a Ram location redacted seemingly short bursts of gossip between two high ranking officials about Farley interspersed with every second word being redacted.  Had I read Steel Scars, these snippets would have made much more sense and as I mentioned I would have been able to skip the lines of no consequence and make the read smoother.  Instead I sat through much of the novel thinking that one of the correspondents names was “Colonel Redacted” and why Mr. Redacted did not appear in the books and where Mr. Redacted fits in.  This became more confusing yet more clear when Mr. Colonel Redacted was also located in a place called Redacted.  This is when the light bulb came on, but did nothing to make the scenes more bearable.

I am very much a supporter of novellas.  They also do more good than bad and give us a deeper glimpse into characters and create deeper storylines that are assumed would take away from the main story.  You know… like take away from those middle books that are 3/4 filler of no importance rather than fittings things such as these into the story, but where would the business profitability be in that?

As novellas are must reads when it comes to any stories, these are a given, but be sure to at least attempt to read it rather than going the audiobook route.  You may be saved by this at least.


  1. Book summary courtesy of Harper Collins Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard book page.

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