This is the FINAL book in the Red Queen series. I reviewed the previous books here:
- Book one: RED QUEEN
- Book two: GLASS SWORD
- Book three: KING'S CAGE
- Side book, like bonus stories: CRUEL CROWN
...here's an amazon summary, "The #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series comes to a stunning conclusion in War Storm.
VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
At the end of book 3, Mare and Cal break up. Cal is unwilling to give up his throne, and Mare is unwilling to give up her cause of equality for all. It may sound dumb, but I found it kind of gut wrenching, but also relieving. I would have hated it if Mare had given up her cause, and I would have hated it if Cal gave up his throne. They're essential to the cores of their characters...that doesn't mean I was excited they broke up, I was pretty bitter. I can kind of see them choosing themselves rather than their love as a betrayal to their love, but I find it very rewarding that they chose themselves. Kind of, you can have love, but you valuing yourself and your ideals are pretty important too. I can see it in both ways I guess. The mixed feelings are deep and complex people.
Book 4 also skips around to the different perspectives like book 3 did, but we get more voices this time. I just wish the voices had been more unique. There were a few times that if a character hadn't specified what power they were using to do something, I would have lost track of what narrator I was reading. Everyone has a strong character trait of ANGER it feels like, which makes sense given their circumstances....but like...there is more to all of them.... right?
This book begins with Mare, Cal, and a mini herd of people visiting Montfort which is run by both reds and silvers. It's a democracy of sorts it seems, where people have representation in a larger congress. I wish the book had gone into how Montfort works, but that wasn't in the cards this time. More on that later. They've gone to Montfort where Davisdson can petition his country for resources to help fight. In the interest of not spoiling anything, I'm just going to stop talking about the summary. Honestly, so much of this book was so much dialogue, spurts of actions, "relationships" unfolding, and it'd be very hard to talk about more summary without ruining different aspects of the intrigue that drove me to finish this book.
For a final book in a series, I found this to be kind of dull. We did get into more characters heads, we did see some people make choices, some of the characters who died just lacked any sort of emotional connection or caring about so it didn't really seem to matter, and there were a few characters that took SUCH A SHARP BACK SEAT that I forgot about them half the time....when they were so important in the last book. ARGH.
I'm going to jump into final series thoughts. If you don't want anything spoiled, just RUN AWAY.
I will give some props to Mare. I've found it kind of hard to relate to Mare and I kept reading her in different styles throughout the series. In books 1 & 2, I really thought of her as a survivalist character and was like YEAH, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO LIVE! In book 3, I found it so disheartening how long she was in prison for, and I know we got to see her post traumatic stress from that whole episode, but in book 4, she was only all about the cause it felt. Her family is safe in Montfort, and it seems kind of like a, "*shrug*, I've been fighting for this cause all along so I could save myself, but now I guess I'm fighting because I actually believe it." At first, the Scarlet Guard was a way for her to save herself, then it became a tool to save other people, I think towards the end of book 3 and into book 4, we see Mare really believe in the cause. She's willing to really keep fighting because her cause is JUST, not to save any particular person. I feel like we've seen so much character growth from someone who grew up believing she was worth less than dirt merely because of the color of her blood. I think overall, Mare was successfully done character to me, but it took a lot of carefully considering every element that played into her.
Then there's Cal. Born and raised to fight for the throne of Norta. Which he did. He really did everything he thought possible to do to fight for this throne in whatever circumstance he was in. There were quite a few times where he felt like super angry paper, hell bound and determined to get to the throne, but when push came to shove, when it actually started to cost him to get his throne, I feel like he fell over immediately. Like a piece of paper after a small breath of air. I feel like Cal's character didn't really grow at all, Maven pointed out how Cal doesn't really make decisions, and I really think that's true. He didn't make choices except when it came to war. At the end of the book, we see him make one big choice... but it's a choice we knew was going to happen all along. He just finally had to commit to a decision. I don't really think Cal succeeded as a character to me, he just was what he needed to be in the moment to eventually get back on the throne, but I would almost throw his relationship with Mare into that. She's a super powerful red who, for better or worse, has a lot of power. She's the face of the newbloods. I really question if he didn't get involved with Mare because he knew she would lead him closer to his throne, and keep him alive until he could reclaim it. I don't know. Mixed thoughts.
I freaking loved Evangeline. In the first two books, I was like UGH, GUH, EVANGELINE AGAIN?! But in book 3 and 4, we really got a better depth of her life, her motivations, her childhood, and suddenly she made so much more sense to me. There was much more to relate to about Evangeline. I definitely feel like she was the come back for this story.
I thought Cameron and Kilorn's relationship seemed super sudden, didn't really seem plausible, and I was just annoyed with it. Cameron was such an angry character in book 3, then suddenly she's a part of the cause, saving people, and using her powers... and in love with Kilorn? It was very disorienting to not really hear much at all from her, especially when she had been such a big part of book 3. I don't think it was necessary to shut her voice up. I also think a big ado was made about Kilorn, and it's very clear he's a sense of comfort to Mare. They keep each other grounded as everything spiraled out of the normal around them. He's a part of Mare's family, he's a brother who was kind of in love with her but got over it. He also helped bridge the unrest between the reds, newbloods, and silvers? But then we never got to hear his direct voice...and he mostly faded into the background. His biggest moment in book 4 was being thrown off the stairs. I mean, come on. Throw the boy a fish (hehehehe).
I did overall like how the Lakelander nation was represented, how the princesses and queen were also silvers so to speak. The way Silver culture was consistent across all the nations was super fascinating. I like how that theme carried through.
Montfort; I wish it had been made more clear from the beginning, that Montfort was ruled by the people (a democracy). The snippet we saw of the government being in session was fascinating, and I think it would have been more realistic of a choice for Cal to give up his throne if he (and we) could have better understood the mechanics of how it worked. As it is, there just wasn't enough information which was incredibly frustrating.
Overall, I think the series finale was kind of a let down. There was such a lead up all series, then the few battles, the big battle, and then the departure. There just didn't seem to be a resolve for Norta. We got to see the defining decision, but we didn't really get to see how it ended. It might not make sense, but I wanted to see the next steps for Norta, not the implications for Norta. I also think Mare's final decision was good for HER, but it might not have been the best choice for her cause. As much as I got to see, it still felt like something was lacking.