Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Cruel Crown
(Red Queen #0.1 and #0.2)
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Paperback, 208 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Dystopian/Fantasy

Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta's bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Also includes an exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series! Glass Sword transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl's resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

My Review

First off, the book was incredibly short. While I loved being able to read something set in the Red Queen world before Glass Sword’s release, I was hoping the bind-up would be longer. Honestly, I would have been okay with these two only being released in ebook format until Aveyard had more short stories available which could then be put into a hardcover bind-up volume. Sounds good, right? Maybe it’ll happen in the future…

The first novella in the book is “Queen Song,” and it follows Queen Coriane, Cal’s mom, before and after she married Cal’s father, the future king. I was very confused while I was reading this one. I didn’t read the description so I had no idea Coriane was Cal’s mother. I thought I was reading about Queen Elara at first (it had been a while since I’d read Red Queen so I didn’t remember names at the time). However, once I realized who the main character was, this novella proved to be a fantastic mini-fantasy princess story. I absolutely adored the Coriane, little Cal, and the king. That ending, though… Ugh.
The second novella, “Steel Scars,” follows Diana Farley, captain of the Scarlet Guard. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first, even with the appearance of Mare’s brother. Farley is an interesting character, but she just doesn’t hold my attention for some reason. I also didn’t really like the correspondence snippets that were included in this novella. They broke up the story too much, so I mostly skipped over them.

All in all, I’d recommend this bind-up to anyone who enjoys the Red Queen series. While I don’t think not reading these novellas would hurt your comprehension when it comes to Glass Sword, I wouldn’t take the chance that you’ll miss something later on in the series because you didn’t read “Queen Song” and “Steel Scars.”

3.5/5 stars for the entire bind-up
4/5 stars for “Queen Song”
3/5 stars for “Steel Scars”

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.


  1. I really need to get started on this series. Too bad that these were quite as good as you had hoped they would be. I have mixed thoughts about novellas in a series and often skip them. I just don't usually get too much out of these additional novellas. Great review!

    1. I'm usually not a fan of novellas either. I only read them if they come out in a bind-up, and even then, I have to really love the series in order to pay $10 for a book that's only 200 or so pages long. But the series itself is awesome. You should start asap! XD


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