Narrator: Andi Arndt, Jayne Entwistle, Amanda Dolan
Genres: Fantasy, Dystopian
Format Read: Audiobook
Length: 6 hours 26 minutes
Published by HarperCollins on January 5th 2016
Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.
Discover the truth of Norta's bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen. Plus, a Glass Sword sneak peek! An exclusive excerpt from the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series, Glass Sword, transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl's resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.
I don’t usually read a lot of these novellas as I feel like they’re such a tease, especially when the series has not finished yet. I also find it distracting at times, as they feature new or different characters that I may not care about. Cruel Crown was a lovely surprise in that sense — it had been a while since I’d read Red Queen when I picked up the audiobook of Cruel Crown. I wanted to get back into the world before the release of Glass Sword without having to reread Red Queen again (because who has the time for that?), and this book was a great way to bridge the gap between the two books in the series.
Queen Song is kind of like a prequel, revealing the backstory of Queen Coriane, Cal’s mother and sister of the wonderful Julian. While she’s a silver blood from a good standing house, Coriane and Julian’s family is poor, with powers that are not considered powerful in the eyes of the other houses of Norta. She doesn’t expect to win at Queenstrial, and doesn’t bother to try — and despite all that that may be against her, her life changes drastically when she has a chance encounter with Prince Tiberius, the heir to Norta and more well known as Cal’s father.
In a series of diary entries, Coriane relays to the readers the trials and tribulations she faces as she’s thrown into the spotlight as Tibe’s chosen queen, bypassing the Queenstrial altogether. This novella does not by any means present us a strong woman that survives despite the odds. No, this novella presents to us someone that has weaknesses (with good reasons), and her slow descent into the darkness of her own mind. Her own insecurities ended up being her downfall, and it was interesting to see the different dynamics that played a part in it.
Written beautifully, Queen Song provided an interesting glimpse into the history of events that eventually led to Red Queen. Out of the two novellas, this was definitely the more compelling one.
Steel Scars follows the bad ass captain Farley from the Scarlet Guard. Listening to Steels Scars in audio format was a big mistake. Not only did it detract from the story, but it was just very awkward due to the formatting of the novella. A large part of the novella is made up of secret communication reports exchanged by the Scarlet Guards, and a lot of the messages were ‘redacted’.
I seriously lost count of the amount of times the narrator said ‘redacted’ on each page, and let me tell you…it was a lot. While the reports were kind of interesting, the overall story was not. It felt like the novella was written only to prepare the reader for Glass Sword, which is technically true as it introduces a character that becomes quite prominent in the second book in the series.
The only reason I would recommend that you read Steel Scars is if you want to see the development of Shade and Farley’s relationship. I felt it was very rushed in Glass Sword, and I think it’s because most of the relationship building actually happens in the novellas. Probably wouldn’t recommend this one otherwise.