Victoria Aveyard is back! If you aren't familiar with her work you should really check out the Red Queen series, it is her first publication and is a very well written YA Dystopian Fantasy series that I absolutely loved and highly recommend. If you want my thoughts on that I will have a review up soon! However, that's not what we're here for. It is 2021 and on May 4th Victoria released her new book, Realm Breaker, which is the first book in a High Fantasy trilogy.
Realm Breaker is another young adult novel about a group of unlikely companions working together to save their realm from an unseen and likely invincible opponent. Corayne an-Amrat, a pirates daughter and the last of an ancient bloodline, partners with; a squire, an immortal, an assassin, an ancient sorceress, a forger, and a bounty hunter to fight back and stop the dark forces threatening Allward. The book is written from the perspectives of various characters, but it focuses mostly on Andry and Corayne. It begins with Andry watching the fall of the realms hero's and when the last of them has failed the fate of Allward is pushed upon the strange band of travellers.
This was a really fun read. It didn’t have a fast paced plot but instead had a lot of character development and world building which I think makes sense since this is going to be a trilogy and the world is large and complex. Speak of which, I loved Allward, the realm that Aveyard created. If you are looking for an author with incredible world building skills then Victoria Aveyard is the author for you! She created a massive realm with incredible detail, making you feel like you are there with the characters as they roam and fight! That was one of the best parts of this book is all the detail she goes into about everything but she does it in a way that feels organic to the story. She doesn’t force the world building, instead it flows naturally into the thoughts and descriptions from the characters along the way. This worked especially well in the case of Corayne who is incredibly curious and excited about exploring the realm so she gives detailed information and observations.
I loved the characters that were in this book, the differences in perspective and personalities was great and they all interacted so differently with one another. The bickering between certain people was really fun to read (namely Dom and Sorasa). Domacridhan and Corayne were probably my favourite characters so far but its hard to say that since they are all so unique and fun. There are hints at some possible romances in the future and I am excited to see if that plays out because I would love to see some of those characters together, but I also enjoyed that it wasn’t a focal point in the book. Instead it’s more about who they are as individuals and how they’re saving the realm.
On another note, I can’t get over the world map! Look at this piece of art! The amount of work that went into creating it is unbelievable. I flipped back to it often during my read to track where the characters were in the world and I can’t wait to see how the travels continue in book two! One thing I loved was the little mentions about the world map in the book. I’m not sure she did this on purpose but I thought it was funny to have the character viewing a map and talking about its beauty when her map is so incredible. The actual quote I’m talking about is:
“Instead she stood and walked slowly to the massive, magnificent, painstakingly made map of Allward." and “It was the work of a master cartographer and master artist both" - Chapter 7
Overall it was a really enjoyable read! I think it is especially good for its target audience and for adults like me in their early to mid twenties that still enjoy YA. For adults that fall more into New Adult or Adult books this might be a little too young as there is no spice but its still a really well created fantasy world and with an interesting storyline! I would give it a 4/5 star rating for YA Fantasy. Very enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series brings. I would definitely recommend this for Fantasy Lovers!
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Let's talk about my thoughts on the first book in a little more detail!
Things I didn’t like:
The “plot twists” in this book were a little predictable. Erida is extremely ambitious so I it coming for her to be joining with Taristan.
Sigil betraying them but not betraying them was also kind of obvious and I wasn’t worried about it. Plus them escaping was a pretty obvious event since the book would just end if they couldn’t get out.
Things I wanted more of:
Corayne training with Sigil and Sorasa, would love to see more of this and get a look at Corayne growing.
Meliz and Corayne, I had hoped that she’d run into her mother when they were in Adria but the didn’t, I want to know what her mom thinks and if she knows Corayne is gone!
Things I liked:
Corayne and Andry!
Domacridhan and Sorasa bickering constantly like parents.
Valtik being a ridiculously unhelpful yet helpful sorceress.
Sigil and Sorasa’s relationship
Corayne speaking so many languages
Taristan and Erida - I know they are the bad guys right now but I honestly really enjoy their interactions and can’t wait to learn more about both of them!
"To those who seek and never find" - Victoria Aveyard, Realm Breaker Dedication
“A king of ashes is still a king.” - Taristan of Old Cor, Prologue
“the truth is always there, beneath, waiting to be sifted free, specks of gold among sand." - Meliz An-Amrat, Chapter 1
“The room was filled with beasts wearing human skin, their claws made of steel" - Chapter 3
“To the horizon and beyond it. To whoever I am, in my bones." - Corayne An-Amrat, Chapter 6
"Whatever you decide, possible death or certain death, be quick about it." - Sorasa Sarn, Chapter 17
“You are a realm breaker, Taristan. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.” - Queen Erida, Chapter 25
If you decide pick it up, Happy Readying!