Someone is opening spindles and letting the monsters from other dimensions into the realm. Only the descendants of Cor can wield the power to manipulate the Spindle gates, which means that only Corayne an-Amarat, the last of her bloodline, has the power to save the realm. Corayne and a small band of heroes embark on a journey across the realm to close the spindles and save the realm from a great evil.
Alright, I am just going to say from the start that I did not enjoy this book. I am very sad about it, as I loved Red Queen and think that Victoria Aveyard is a great writer. But this one just did not do it for me. It is a very straightforward medieval-esque high fantasy in which very little actually happens. I found it to be slow, muddied by too many points of view, and lacking any real world building.
Corayne an-Amarat is technically the main character of this book, as she is the “chosen one” the last in the Cor bloodline and the only one who can use the spindleblade to save the realm. But, the novel does not focus on her point of view any more than the other characters. She also doesn’t have a lot of characterization; we know little of her backstory or who she is beyond being the daughter of a pirate. The novel alternates between six points of view, one of which is truly unnecessary. The constant shifting of viewpoints and flashbacks really slowed the plot down and took away from any of the action sequences.
I did love the diversity in the characters. There’s a large cast of characters representing a broad range of skin tones and cultures. I also loved the fierce women in this story, especially the assassin Sorasa and bounty hunter Sigil. Both are incredibly strong, intelligent, and funny. They take Corayne under their wings and try to teach her how to fight, which I thought was a great, empowering moment.
The interesting twist on this book is that Taristan, the evil brother of Corayne’s father, is trying to open interdimensional portals using his spindleblood. Sounds fascinating, right? Except that we know next to nothing about these other dimensions. We get to hear about a kingdom filled with sea monsters, but we know nothing about any other dimensions that could potentially be opened which lowered the stakes for me. Likewise, we get a small amount of world building of the realm itself. They travel through a couple different kingdoms, but there isn’t much description of these places or their history, especially when it comes to the Spindles. I would’ve loved to see stronger world building, and hope that this is something Aveyard builds in to the next installment.
The plot really did pick up towards the end, so it’s quite possible that the next book is going to be more exciting. Ultimately, I thought this one was an expansive tome in which little happened and very little was illuminated about the characters or the world. It almost baffles me how this book could be so long with so little happening. As always, just because I don’t enjoy a book doesn’t mean you won’t! If you are a fan of medieval high fantasy and like a variety of points of view, you may really enjoy Realm Breaker.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
CW: violence, graphic injuries, death