Title: Realm Breaker
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Pub: Orion Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy
A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible, and I kind of wish I hadn’t wasted my time with this book.
This is probably going to be a relatively short review, because I couldn’t tell you anything that happened in this book. I don’t remember any of it. If I hadn’t just needed something to pass the time at work, I probably would have DNF’d this very early on.
It’s unnecessarily long and nothing happens in the almost 600 pages.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. My biggest complaint about this book, and why I think I just never really got invested was the prologue + lack of world building.
The prologue did nothing for me. At all. As a writer, I get why it was included, but as a reader, I was instantly disconnected from the story. It’s also too long, too descriptive and the majority of the characters do not matter. Like, at all. I couldn’t even tell you – apart from 2 characters – who was in that scene. Too much information and description was given, for like, no reason. And if you’ve read it, then you understand why I say that.
As for the world building, I felt utterly lost. I didn’t get the history, the lore…any of it. I just never connected. This book is full of sweeping, vivid descriptions that do make images come to mind, but I couldn’t tell you why I was supposed to care about the world or it’s inhabitants.
And I won’t even get into the lack of knowledge about the Spindles + being Spindle Blessed. Yeah, some of it you can infer and figure out due to context, but this shit is just dropped in front of you with no explanation except “important” – why? Couldn’t tell you. Then there is the whole multi realm thing and I just felt tired.
All I could think of was, once again, I feel like I’ve read this before.
As for the characters – there wasn’t a single one that endeared themselves to me. I didn’t care about any of them. They’re all very surface and predictable and underwhelmingly boring. I’m all for a reluctant “Chosen One” but Corayne was just annoying. She was useless. She was too trusting and she irritated me. For being the daughter of someone feared, she’s got no spine – which is ironically a sore spot for her. And I never once thought she was taking up the mantle of “chosen one” for the benefit of all who lived in Allward, but more of a “fuck you, see I have a spine” to her mother. I just – nope.
The rest of the group is just as unremarkable. It’s a diverse group, and they’re all vastly more skilled than Corayne, effectively making them her babysitters. But they’re all surface – and again, very predictable. Idk, I found it really obvious who and what Victoria was inspired by when creating them. They didn’t feel original.
The premise of this book sounds amazing, and I get that Victoria was going to “sweeping LOTR-type epic fantasy”. I just don’t think she hit the mark. This book is entirely too long. You could take out at least half of the pages, and you wouldn’t lose anything. The first, like 85% of this book is a slog, the last 100 pages (or in my experience the last hour or so) is when the book gets marginally interesting. And the bar is so low, that, that’s not even a glowing remark. I was definitely more interested and invested at the end, versus the entire rest of the book. By the time I finished, I could even recall what had happened.
It takes over half the book for the group to get together. Who has the time? Usually I love fantasy books where characters have to travel, since usually tension and romance bloom in those moments, and the fact that potential romance is only teased at in this book…
I was just so bored.
I wanted to give this book a chance – a fair one. I tried Red Queen when it first came out, and it did nothing for me. I didn’t understand the hype, I felt like I’d read the book before. And like with Realm Breaker – I found the ending of Red Queen to be the most interesting and original. It felt like Victoria had finally found her voice as a writer.
I think this new release is vastly overhyped and is only going to get the traction it does, because her name is on it. This isn’t some marvelous feat of fantasy writing – I’m sorry. It’s not. I am glad I gave her books another chance, but I think I’m going to have to say that Victoria Aveyard just isn’t an author I’m ever going to like. Her writing, her worlds, her characters and just her books in general do nothing for me. I don’t think, and don’t plan on finishing this series. I have no interest, and even now, a few days later, I can’t recall a single thing that happened in the book.
If you were planning on reading this book, I’d say give it a chance. There are people who are absolutely loving this.
If you weren’t planning on reading it, don’t. You’re honestly not missing anything.
I will always urge you to make your own decisions – form your own opinions about a book. This one just wasn’t for me, and that happens. I just wish I hadn’t preemptively pre-ordered a hardcover copy because I was convinced, I was going to love it.