Rating: 3/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
- Contains spoilers about the previous books -
What do you expect from a book called War Storm?
Heart-pounding battles? Jaw-dropping showdowns? Mind-boggling alliance shifts? Devastating losses? I know I expected all those things, and some more. Sadly, that was not the case with the last instalment of the Red Queen series.
“I will not be a red queen.”
The kingdom of Norta is divided, surrounded by vultures ready to devour her dying body. The forces of the coalition, the unlikely united front of Silver nobles, Red rebels and Newbloods are considering their next move, Maven tries to maintain his feeble grip on the throne and the Lakelands, his temporary allies, plot their revenge. There are many decisions to be made; the next conquest, the next battle plan, but never, never a change in the status quo. Cal chose his crown, and he is not willing to give it up. Mare chose a better future for the oppressed, and she is not willing to give it up, even if it means betraying the boy she loves. The boy who betrayed her. Even though her heart bleeds and her chest hurts, Mare Barrow is destined
“To rise. And rise alone.”
And lightning has no mercy.
“My only fear now is losing the throne, the crown, the reason for all this misery and torment. I won't destroy myself in vain. I won't let this all be for nothing.”
I reall wanted to love this book. Red Queen has been an explosive (albeit occasionally frustrating) series, and even though most of the characters tended to turn me indignant, I always enjoyed the plot, with its intensity and vivacity. However, there was something off with War Storm. Simply put, it was bland. There was no flavor to stimulate my taste buds. No sound of frantic heartbeat to make my ears explode. I did not smell the blood and the smoke, nor felt the salty sea water on my skin. The battle sequences were too long, colorless and dull. The endless scheming and discussions about battle plans laced with veiled threats and innuendos made me huff in frustration. I found myself skimming the pages, waiting for the sparkle that would turn my world ablaze, that would made me cheer and scream and clap and live in the story, fight next to the coalition, ravage and burn and destroy, eager for the final confrontation that would steal my breath, but everything, even the ending, was underwhelming. It was a case of quantity over quality, and I can't help but think that perhaps a forth book was not that necessary.
“I am different from what my world demands I be. And I am not worse for it.”
A strange thing happened regarding the characters; I didn't hate Mare. I didn't want to murder Maven. I didn't worship Cal. I was simply indifferent towards them all. Mare finally became a decent person I could root for, her development was apparent, a pleasant surprise, but she never stopped being a special snowflake (and if I drank a shot every time someone said "lightning girl" I would suffer from cirrhosis of liver by now). Cal was always my favorite, and even though I forgave him for his (many) mistakes, my connection with him somehow faltered. Maven shed his cloak of wickedness and became just a petulant child who threw tantrums because he didn't get what he wanted. Iris, whose PoV was rather tedious, could vanish into thin air and I wouldn't give a darn. The only silver lining was Evangeline, I loved her sarcasm, her spirit and the reluctant camaraderie, if not friendship, that bloomed between her and Mare. The girl power was truly something to behold!
“Love can be exploited, I guess, used to manipulate. It's leverage. But I would never call loving someone else a weakness. I think living without love at all, any kind of love, is weakness. And the worst kind of darkness.”
War Storm was by far the weakest instalment of the series. It left me empty, with the tang of bitterness and disappointment heavy on my tongue. The climax I so desperately wanted never came, the feelings didn't drown me.
In the end, Mare rose with the dawn, but her story did not.