Title: War Storm
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #4
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: May 15th, 2018 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: 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 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.
“I am less than his crown, and he is less than my cause.”
Picking up right after King’s Cage, Mare is understandably, feeling extremely betrayed by Cal as their ideals continue to clash. Norta is in chaos, and while Cal may have accepted the crown, the Scarlet Guard and their allies have no intention of letting him keep it any longer than it takes to defeat the enemy. Meanwhile, Iris and her mother, though allied to Maven for the moment, have dreams that stretch far beyond revenge. War Storm is true to its title – battles upon battles, alliances that change in the blink of an eye, backstabbing and betrayal, politics, it has it all. Much like Corvium in book 3, the battle of Harbour Bay was excellent: Silvers, Reds and Newbloods all fighting on the same side, held together by a fragile alliance. The adage used in the earlier books stands truer than ever: “Anyone can betray anyone”.
I was so excited for this book back in May, but somehow, every time I picked it up, I couldn’t get through more than a few pages. So I just set it to the side for a while until I was finally drawn back to it late last month. My reviews for this series have been all over the place. Red Queen was interesting – not exceptional, but good enough to get me to come back for the sequel. Glass Sword was when I seriously considered stopping. King’s Cage rekindled my interest in the series and I enjoyed it far more than I expected to. War Storm…following the ending of King’s Cage, I had my doubts about this book – which were justified to an extent.
I like that Mare is holding firm to her ideals, and is very clear on where she stands regardless of how she feels about Cal, but I could have done without the Mare/Cal drama that dragged on. Her POV is definitely the weakest in this book, but her interactions with other characters, mostly her family and Farley holds it together and reminds the readers that they are what motivates her to fight.
Evangeline’s struggle between family, duty and love was the most interesting for me of the several voices in this book. It’s quite odd to think that the character I hated in book 1 has, by book 4 become my favourite, but her character arc has been amazing. Her wonder at learning that a land like Montfort exists and in that seeing that she has a chance to leave the manipulative and power hungry Silver courts behind – it’s a long way from the Evangeline of Red Queen.
Cal’s struggle is somewhat similar, his inner conflict that has really been ongoing since Red Queen: love for his brother on one hand, his duty and loyalty to his father and his crown on another, Mare on another. He is as infuriatingly naive as ever, a capable general, but no good with politics. It was such a relief that Anabel and Julian were watching out for him. However, I liked that Cal refused to give up on Maven without trying everything possible.
Now Iris was a character that I really started to dislike as we got to know her in this book. Revenge for her father is understandable, but simply put, she’s the Red Queen version of racist and there was no hint of that ever changing. Maven on the other hand…he was the character I loved to hate throughout this series, yet this time around, it was too hard to do so. We get several telling glimpses into Maven’s psyche and both the effects and remnants of Elara’s whispers on his mind. It’s almost admirable that despite all this and knowing that he is surrounded by enemies despite his alliances, Maven maintains his sharp mind and is no less than his manipulative self. Maven Calore is quite possibly, one of the best villains I have come across in YA, not least because he is so very complex. (I wouldn’t have said no to a redemption arc either.)
On an entirely different note, Aveyard does secondary characters extremely well. For example Davidson, though he has no POV, is so crucial to the plot. Similarly, Ptolemus, whom we know mostly through Evangeline’s POVs, was also very well written (and I love how the two of them are so supportive of and look out for each other).
There were some parts which felt like it was dragging on, just delaying the inevitable confrontation and final battle, so to speak. And to top it all, the final battle, atleast on Cal’s side against the Lakelanders, ended too fast and too easy for my liking. Part of that was probably because I was more focussed on Maven’s fate (really, that should have been wrapped up way before the end in my opinion), but the stage was set for an epic final battle that somehow just fell short for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the epilogue either, as in my opinion it didn’t add much. (I can’t be the only one who was hoping for a reunion right?) Yet despite the considerable complaining I have done in this review, I liked War Storm. It was a satisfying ending to the series and wraps up the main story, yet leaves it open to a realm of possibilities. This conclusion is definitely worth the read!
“Rise, Red as the dawn.”