Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
There were a lot of issues for me with this installment. Usually, the second book in a series is my favorite, but I had so many problems with the timeline and Mare that this most certainly will not be my favorite in the series. We’ll have to see how the third book is to determine if I’ll even finish this series.
To start with, I am not a fan of books starting exactly where the previous left off. I like a little growth between installments, time for characters to recover from the trials of the first book before moving into the second. I also think it makes it really hard to pick up the story without re-reading the previous book. This trend was one of the major factors to me disliking the Divergent series so much. I mean I understand the reasons there wasn’t much time. But I mean, give them two days at least. It takes time to mobilize troops!
Anyway, to the second big issue for me. Mare. Without any breathing room she accomplishes no personal growth. She’s scared to trust anyone now, and I get that; but she’s not smart enough or far sighted enough to achieve things on her own and she refuses to acknowledge her weaknesses, letting herself and those around her continue to fall into dangerous situations with little preparation. She’s also a huge contradiction. I understand that she’s an unreliable narrator, but come on! I’m just a girl, just one person: I’m the lightning girl, I’m the most powerful thing around. I want to be seen as just another Red: I’m a leader, I’m above normal Reds, people need to fear and follow me. I don’t have feelings for Cal: I can’t be without him.
As I got more and more frustrated with Mare I realized this book and it’s path reminded me of The Invasion of the Tearling, only not as good. Mare refuses to take responsibility for her actions and hides behind various images of herself to try and make up for her short-comings. Towards the end I started seeing some hope for redemption, and I really want to see more growth from Mare in the next installment (and less internal dialogue).
I did enjoy seeing the “newbloods” and their various gifts, as well as the look into who Maven really is. There was also some impressive growth from Kilorn, Farley, and even Cal to an extent. The supporting characters and the twisted world of Maven and Elara are what kept me interested in this installment. It was less shocking than the first book, but I hope that leads to a more fulfilling third book.