Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

America’s Review: 

When the first book, Red Queen, draws to a close, Mare, our main character, has just been betrayed by everyone she loved. She did not understand the depth of imagination of the evil character, Maven, and his plot to murder his father and gain the throne. With the use of his Silver powers, along with his Mother, Queen Elara’s ability to mind control, he walks away looking the innocent victim in the betrayal leaving behind Cal, his brother who is now thought to be disloyal to all the Silvers. Cal is distraught and left to be taken by the Scarlet Guard, the Reds rebellion group. Instead of me detailing the rest of it, here is my Flashback Friday Review.

The second book, Glass Sword, picks up right where we left off. Over the next few pages my memory was able to recall the details from Mare’s dreams and omniscient view point. I enjoy being in her head and knowing what her dilemmas are.  Her daydreams, as well as her nightmare’s, volley from those of an innocent teenage girl with a boy crush to the womanly inspirations of becoming more than merely the village theif, but a leader–a leader who must stand alone, as she learns from a man dressed in gray. Future seers are not often found within the Silver population, but when Mare’s group discovers one in a town destroyed by the Silvers they are mystified. Shade, Mare’s brother, along with Cal and Farley, are dismayed by his arrival and do not believe him. Unquestioningly, Mare believes his insight and follows his directions; she knows what he states is true. She learns “anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart.”

Mare is able to lead her group to find Red blood mutations saving them from the wrath and murderous hands of Maven; it is a race Mare is determined to win.  Every page is action. Every page makes me long for more insight into Cal’s mind and heart. I was more enthralled in the character development in this book than in the first. This was a liberating book which did not sate my thirst to know what side of the rebellion Mare will truly stand behind. Aveyard did exactly what I didn’t want to happen—she is making me wait another year for me to find fulfillment. That, my friends, is a good author.

In the classroom (or in the parking lot of your school or bookstore):

A community service outreach feels like the apropos assignment to this book. Many students turn 18 in their Senior year of high school. Educate your students about the American Red Cross. I know this doesn’t link to CCSS, but as one of the major debated topics in our upcoming Presidential election is common core in the classroom and I find it is nice to break free of classroom assignments and encourage your students to pay it forward. Does your student council sponsor an American Red Cross Blood Drive? Does your store? Have you thought of having a blood drive and giving away a coupon for a discounted book? How about extra credit in the classroom? Not everyone can be a blood donor, but for those that can, only a small percentage of us do.

The debate in the book is about blood type and the power it can yield. What blood type are you? Most Americans also do not know the answer to that question. While reading about the type of blood and the amount of bloodshed in this book, it prompted me to think about my own blood. (This happened to me while reading Twilight too. I may have issues.) Think about how you can incorporating the concept of ‘paying it forward’ in your classroom, but also in the your bookstore.

Flashback Friday: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Published last February, 2015

America’s Review:

I’m a fan of The Hunger Games Series, The Mortal Instruments Series and The Divergent Series… thanks to Victoria Aveyard’s debut series I have a combination of all the above. Due to the responsibilities of life, I usually can finish a book in a week—not this week. By chapter three of the Red Queen I threw heed to the wind (and all responsibilities!) and read all day and night to finish this book. From the nasty trenches of the ‘Stilts’ where our young protagonist, Mare Barrow, lives and her family is trying to survive, I was entranced. She is a member of the Reds; a group of impoverished slaves fighting for the eilte Silvers.

Mare is a pickpocket lacking any skills to get her out of going to war—conscription as it is called in our story. Her father lost a leg and a lung from the war; her three older brothers were conscripted at age 18 and went to the war front to continue fighting for the Silvers. Her younger sister, Gisa, is an amazing seamstress who is saved from conscription due to her talent. Kilorn, her friend, was safe from conscription as he was apprenticed to a fisherman. As fate would have it, Kilorn loses his apprenticeship, leaving Mare to beg his freedom from Farley, a woman in charge of the Scarlet Guard—a secret group determined to fight for the freedom of the Reds. The characters are larger than life and they hooked me.

Procuring funds for Kilorn’s freedom, Mare pickpockets a young man who catches her in the act. This short encounter leads Mare to a job being a servant girl at the palace–forever changing her destiny. During Queenstrial, a long standing tradition for Silvers to determine who will be the next queen, Mare is serving the elite when the floor shifts, and she falls to her assumed death on electrical wires. But she doesn’t die. To her amazement, and the shock of the watching Silvers, she consumes the electricity making her all powerful. A Red cannot have powers! Only the elite Silvers can have unique powers and this low-life Red has shown she also has them. The King and Queen must explain this phenomenon and create an alias for Mare; she is the long lost Princess, Mareena Titanos to whom will be betrothed to Maven, one of the Silver Princes. Mare is given a gift. She is now to be a Princess in the Silver family with power and fame: giving her inside secrets to help the Scarlet Guard overcome the Silvers.


In the Classroom:

One of the common core standards we see throughout the middle and high school years is the alignment with text reading and the analysis of the reading. Comprehending the material through demonstration is an exemplar way to evaluate the students learning. World History is usually taught in the sixth and tenth grade—depending on your schools scheduling. Red Queen is drenched in the history of its people and rulers. Our own history is based upon those before us! Have your students read excerpts from your textbooks depicting the rulings of Monarchs. Have students pair up, divide and conquer the years of Monarchy. Create timelines of rulers for show and tell. Have your students give 2-3 facts unique to the rulers before us. In Red Queen, each house is represented by their unique skill and their house colors. This is similar to what is still done today in Parliament. Have students present and demonstrate their discoveries of our past Monarchs. As seen throughout the book, names have power—in the past as well as into the future. It will be fun to see what your students discover about the names we still hear today: anyone say Bloody Mary?