Title: Blade Breaker
Series: Realm Breaker #2
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: June 28th, 2022 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Andry, a former squire, continues to fight for hope amid blood and chaos.
Dom, a grieving immortal, strives to fulfill a broken oath.
Sorasa, an outcast assassin, faces her past when it returns with sharpened teeth.
Valtik, an old sorceress, summons a mighty power.
And Corayne, a pirate’s daughter with an ancient magic in her blood, steps closer to becoming the hero she’s destined to be.
Together they must assemble an army to face Queen Erida and Taristan’s wicked forces. But something deadly waits in the shadows, something that might consume the world before there’s any hope for victory.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, HCC Frenzy, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Following their battle all manner of sea monsters in Ibal and closing the Spindle, the Companions are still shaken, but there is no time to lose. Erida and Taristan have already set their sights on conquering Madrence, and eventually, the rest of Allward, even as they search for the next Spindle in their quest to allow What Waits access to the realm. The Companions must seek allies among the other kingdoms in the Ward to oppose the armies of Galland as well as Taristan’s undead forces even as they turn their steps towards closing the next open Spindle.
Blade Breaker was a stunning sequel that more than lived up to the high standards set by Realm Breaker on all fronts, from world building and expansion to character arcs, and the story picked up almost immediately from book one, drawing the reader back into the thick of things right away. When the first book ended up being so strong, I had my doubts about this one, but there was not a hint of the dreaded second book syndrome and this was truly a standout middle book with battle scenes worthy of a finale, which leads me to wonder just how good the actual finale might be! The style of narration gives a well rounded view of what is happening on all fronts and with the bulk of world building and explanations taken care of in the first book, it allowed me to really concentrate on the story and enjoy the way the plot unfolded. This is exactly the type of writing I prefer for the high fantasy genre and Victoria Aveyard has done a phenomenal job with this second installment.
I loved every single moment of each character arc – yes, even the villains’. Corayne in particular has come so far, and it’s clear in this book how much strength and confidence she has begun to gain. The other character I felt had a lot of growth was Sorasa. Her journey has been so interesting and it has started to change her priorities as she deals with familiar faces from her old life and figures out who she wants to be. I really liked that the villains’ perspective continued to be so prominent. Erida and Taristan were as horrible as ever and yet their arc was rather fascinating to follow. I didn’t quite reach a point where I could root for them – though Erida’s troubles with her court and rebelling nobles do make her a somewhat sympathetic character at times – but it was more of seeing just how far they were willing to go in pursuit of their goals. I would be so interested to see a Taristan POV in the next book though, despite his being a central character in this tale, he is the only one whose thoughts we haven’t gotten to see yet – his evolution into the present day figure is sure to be an intriguing one and at the very least, I hope there will be more insight into that. There were some romance subplots developing in this book, and I wasn’t too invested in them to be honest. There was just way too much going on to focus on this properly amidst the chaos, but it remained subtle enough and didn’t distract from the plot.
The pacing was again, slow for my taste at times, but atleast there was plenty going on in every chapter that it didn’t affect my reading experience as much this time around. The book as a whole did feel a little too long though, and it took me much longer than usual to finish reading it.
The ending was just…I had to read it twice just to wrap my head around everything that happened and I may have screamed when I realized that there were no more pages. I appreciate a good cliffhanger, but just how am I supposed to last an entire year without knowing what happens next? I was a little hesitant to make this comparison with the first book, but the way this series continues to expand and the solid plot and strong characters, it all gave me some very Lord of the Rings-esque vibes, and there is literally no higher praise than that I can give to a fantasy novel. Blade Breaker is definitely one book this summer not to miss! Highly recommended!
Blade Breaker releases on June 28th, 2022.
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: