Note: Slight spoilers ahead if you have NOT read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series has become one of the most popular in the Young Adult genre by now.
I’ve read both books in the series so far, Red Queen and Glass Sword, but I’ll venture to say that the novella that fell between them, Cruel Crown (one character’s story in particular), was more enjoyable than the rest.
Don’t get me wrong–Red Queen, although it took me some time to fall into, was a well-written book that I did end up enjoying. Glass Sword was even better, far surpassing its predecessor. The plot picked up quickly and I found myself absorbed before I even knew it.
However, Red Queen mentioned Queen Coriane, Cal’s mother, often enough that I became fascinated by her and wanted desperately to know more about her life, although that life wasn’t the happiest.
Cruel Crown begins with Coriane’s backstory, a simultaneously beautiful and sad one. King Tiberias quickly falls in love with her and, despite accusations that Coriane used her mental ability to trick him into marriage, their bond is real. Unfortunately, so is Elara’s scheming jealousy; she’ll do anything to become queen.
The story left me with a few questions that really made me wish this was a standalone novel instead of a novella. I want a Red Queen-sized novel about Coriane, how she accidentally finds her true love, and the heartbreakingly sweet affection she has for her only child.
(I would settle for a novel about Cal and Maven’s life in its place, though…)
The second half of Cruel Crown centers on Farley and her complicated (understatement) relationship with her father on all fronts, especially when it comes to her part in the rebellion. He constantly underestimates her, but it only prompts her to move forward against all odds, which I can admire.
To be honest, she’s one of my least favorite characters in the other books; for some reason, she just bores me. However, her backstory gives her some more dimension, and my opinion of her has been slightly altered after reading this. My favorite part of her story is finding out how she meets Shade, and seeing how quickly their connection blossoms.