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.
Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance as she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital. She was raised to be strong, but planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected—until she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation: Mare Barrow.
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard is actually two prequel novellas to her Red Queen series. You really want to have read Red Queen before reading Cruel Crown even though the novellas take place earlier or you’ll have some surprises spoiled. That said, you really don’t need to read Cruel Crown at all. It gave a few interesting insights into the world beyond Mare’s experiences, but it was never a “must-read.” Because the two stories are so different, it only makes sense to give them each their own review.
In Queen Song, we get to see Cal’s mother, Coriane, rise from a poor noble house to become queen against all odds—and the tragic circumstances of her demise. Queen Song is sweet and simple. For me, it was definitely the weaker of the two stories. It answers the question of how soft-hearted Coriane won the crown prince’s affections and became queen, but really if you’ve read Red Queen, you know this story, or at least have a pretty good guess for what went on. There was no “Wow!” moment. I think it would have been a lot more interesting to see the story from Elara’s perspective.
Steel Scars is set just slightly before Red Queen begins and follows Captain Farley as she helps spread the Red rebellion across Norta—meeting some familiar faces along the way. This book was a lot more interesting. You get to see different parts of the country beyond Norta and gain a bit of insight into Farley’s actions in Red Queen. Farley might be a bad soldier in that she has some trouble following orders, but she is a very strong female character with wit and a whole lot of courage. I enjoyed reading about the girl behind the face of the rebellion. You get a pretty good sense about her character from Red Queen (as you should), but this book will fill in some of the blanks if you want to know more about her.
♥ ♥ (2/5 hearts)