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There are times when I reach the end of a first series book and the conclusion leaves me feeling wanting or frustrated. This is definitely not the case here. Granted there are things hanging at the end, but they're perfect lead-ins for what's to come. The action is this is very satisfying, the world is intriguing and the characters both well defined and pretty darn interesting. I'm definitely on board with what comes next.
Realm Breaker captured my fancy, and I wanted to love this book so much...so here's my blunt take on it:
Victoria Aveyard is a master of words. This book, like the first, is very poetic. The characters speak in poetic, mysterious phrases. The world-building is more than satisfactory. And the overall story/plot is extremely compelling.
So if you're looking for a good book to last a day or two (or more, depending on how fast you read), this is a great read.
But here's where it fell short for me:
At the end of the book, the characters are largely in the same scenario as they were when it began.
The characters have not developed at all. Corayne is still a puppy, wandering doe-eyed around the countries in the hope that she might stumble across another spindle. Andry Trelland is still making chaste doe-eyes back at her.
Sorasa is still angry and withdrawn. We get a little more glimpse into her past, but not enough for a plot twist. Dom is still gambling about awkwardly, with the narrator and characters hinting at his attraction towards Sorasa. None of them seem to progress or change by what they've seen. And maybe that's the point: what happens when static characters don't change but the world changes around them? (Answer: not much)
Erida and Taristan are still creepy. Even though they Do It, there is no revelation of words or actions. They are remote, distant, living in their own heads. They might as well not Do It, for all that it changes or advances the plot.
The conflict throughout feels like one major stalemate. Any upper hand is quickly balanced out by the other side, and the fact that there could be a hundred more spindles that could be opened makes me dread reading through another few hundred pages of stalemate.
What was I looking for, or expecting?
I was hoping to see more clarity in terms of plot scope and characters. I was hoping for relationship development (romantic or otherwise), true betrayals (not just minor characters dissenting), or really anything that might change or enhance the dynamic we saw in book one.
I suspect that so much of the book is spent jumping through the heads of each character that there simply wasn't any more time to move anything forward.
Looking forward to reading other reviews and analysis of this book, as I adore Victoria Aveyard and am suspecting I might have missed some obvious point.
Regardless, I will be looking forward to another installment, if any are forthcoming, to see if we might get out of this stalemate at last....