Realm Breaker – Victoria Aveyard – ARC Review

Title: Realm Breaker
Series: Realm Breaker #1
: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
: May 4th, 2021 (HarperTeen)

Synopsis: A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.

Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Corayne an-Amarat, daughter of a pirate captain, has spent her life in a small port and has always felt a restless urge to seek adventure. When an assassin and an immortal arrive on her doorstep with news of long sealed gateways across Allward to realms full of horrors being torn open again, she learns the truth about her lineage: she is the last of an ancient bloodline, and the final hope to save Allward from destruction. The quest Corayne embarks on will bring the unlikeliest group of people together to face the growing darkness and close the gates before it is too late.

“There are breakers of castles, breakers of chains, breakers of kings and kingdoms.”
“Which am I?”
“You are a realm breaker, Taristan. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

When I saw that Victoria Aveyard had written a new fantasy series, there was no way I could resist reading it, not when the synopsis alone sounded so intriguing. I did have my doubts however, since I had some issues with Red Queen even if I did enjoy the series overall. This book reads differently from Red Queen in every aspect though, from the writing to the intricate world-building and plot. The world-building was amazing, and with so many places involved and all the running around the characters do, I was extremely thankful for the map included (even if it was really hard to read on a Kindle) since it made the journey so much easier to follow. There were some info dumps which could have been handled better, but this was certainly an exciting world. The feel of this book actually reminded me a bit of There Will Come A Darkness in that it begins at a less common place for fantasy novels – the Elders, immortal warriors, are the first to fall when the enemy rises. And when the heroes who protect the realm are gone, who will take their place?

Realm Breaker has a fantastic cast of characters, and I want to know more about this band of unlikely heroes. Sorasa is the most interesting of them so far, and a lot of her mysterious past as an assassin has yet to be revealed. Between Sorasa and Dom, this has to be one of the very few YA novels I’ve come across with adults as central characters. Corayne, who is technically the main protagonist, she seemed naive and kind of clueless which was annoying at first. But then I realized that she actually behaved the way that a teenaged heroine thrown into a deadly magical quest ought to behave and the fact that despite being the ‘Chosen One’ figure in this scenario, she was not the leader of the group or in charge by any stretch of the imagination was such a pleasant change. By the end, I think she is the character who has grown the most and I’m really looking forward to seeing what her arc will be like going forward. Taristan was a very intriguing villain, and I’m actually hoping he might have a POV at some point. This book was largely plot focused, so the time for character development, or even getting to understand them better was quite limited. But a lot of the foundation for the plot and story ahead has been laid in this book, so I’m hoping that the sequel will be more balanced in this aspect.

The way this book started, dropping us straight into a battle, had my attention in seconds, though I was still quite confused as to what was what. But immediately after that, the pace drops drastically and stays there for a good while. It’s not that the pacing was slow exactly, because the story is definitely moving – it just takes forever to get to any real action because there’s so much plot that needs to be set up first. Nothing major happens until nearly the 60% mark and even after that it doesn’t really ramp up until the very end, which for me was really frustrating since I prefer more action packed books. Also, I didn’t feel like Dom’s cousin, Princess Ridha, who tries to recruit her people to fight really needed a POV in this book, though the chapters were few in number and far apart. She’s probably going to be quite a crucial character going forward, especially given the final chapter, but for this book, there were already 5 other POVs to handle so when the narrative suddenly switched track, it was jarring to read.

The ending of Realm Breaker was an interesting one – a win for our group of heroes, but it’s only the beginning and the road ahead is long and dangerous. This was a solid start to a new and exciting fantasy series and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Realm Breaker is a book I would highly recommend for fantasy fans!

Realm Breaker releases on May 4th, 2021.

Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.

Other reviews in this series:


23 thoughts on “Realm Breaker – Victoria Aveyard – ARC Review

  1. Susan April 18, 2021 / 2:17 am

    You have me at There Will Come a Darkness. I have been going back and forth on the ARC. How much romance

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) April 18, 2021 / 1:46 pm

      This is definitely one for fans of that series! Surprisingly, the romance was very minimal in this one and the main focus stayed on the plot.


  2. Lindsey April 18, 2021 / 5:04 am

    Ooh thanks for the recommendation! This sounds like a great read even if some parts didn’t work effectively throughout the whole book. I love that she doesn’t immediately step up as a leader – so much more realistic! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) April 18, 2021 / 1:48 pm

      Thank you! It’s a rather plot heavy book which caused it to suffer a little from a character development perspective, but this first book has definitely laid the groundwork for a very strong story ahead. I agree, YA novels are becoming so much better in portraying characters more realistically!


  3. Jodie | That Happy Reader April 18, 2021 / 10:31 am

    Great review! Although this is a book I likely wouldn’t choose for myself, I will keep it in mind for others. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jodie | That Happy Reader April 18, 2021 / 10:32 am

    This sounds like a good book for those that appreciate fantasy. I will keep it in mind to recommend to others. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I'm All Booked Up YA April 18, 2021 / 1:38 pm

    We’re so glad you enjoyed this book! We enjoyed the Red Queen series and can’t wait for this book to be released.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. CristinaR April 19, 2021 / 11:12 am

    Great review! Honestly, just from the synopsis, I was already drawn in and after your review, I will have to add it to my TBR list for sure! Can’t wait to meet this band of unlikely heroes x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jaya Avendel April 19, 2021 / 4:16 pm

    I often feel like too many books only have a couple characters, so I love that Realm Breaker has such a rounded-out and interesting selection of people all working together. Definitely putting this on my summer reading list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) April 25, 2021 / 7:00 pm

      I love books with multiple central characters, and when they all have POVs, it can be quite challenge to balance, but it has been handled really well in this one. Hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sarah April 19, 2021 / 7:19 pm

    Oh, this one sounds really good. I don’t think I have read any books by Victoria Aveyard, so it would be really nice to add this one to my TBR so I can check out her writing. It’s a shame there was such a big portion that was slow with little happening, but it sounds like it’s worth getting through. Hopefully, the rest of the series is as good if not better than this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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