Title: Realm Breaker
Series: Realm Breaker #1
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: 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: