Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (496 pages)
In Realm Breaker, A Growing Darkness Reaches Even the Outskirts of the Realm
Even though Corayne an-Amarat lives by the sea, far away from the center of the realm, she can feel something sinister in the air. She’s spent her entire life seeking adventure, not surprisingly, as the daughter of a pirate captain. But when an immortal and an assassin knock unexpectedly on her door with unimaginable news, Corayne must choose a more purposeful path.
Corayne learns that she is the last of an ancient bloodline, the only one that can save her kingdom of Allward from the advancing evil. But Corayne won’t have to fight alone. Her team consists of individuals all with something to gain: a squire, an immortal, an assassin, an ancient sorceress, a forger, and a bounty hunter. This cast of characters may all have their own agendas but they’ll have to learn to work together in order to save their realm.
Rag-Tag Teamwork Against the Direst of Stakes
With sweeping world-building and a sense of epic adventure, Realm Breaker showcases what Aveyard does best. Not only is Corayne an intriguing character that readers will root for, but her band of unlikely quest-mates are engaging in their own right. As we meet each character, we can see how each one has their own goal to achieve or problem to solve, but the good of the realm ultimately brings the team together and brings out the best in everyone.
What I liked most about this story was that it breaks rank from many other “chosen one” narratives. In many other stories, the chosen one must go it alone. While the hero might have friends or helpers along the way, they are typically the ones making the decisions and in the frame on their own. What makes Realm Breaker more intriguing is the way Corayne’s companions are used throughout the narrative. Because there are so many with such different skill sets, Aveyard can draw on each in different ways when the occasion calls for a particular ability. Just like Harry Potter would never have succeeded without Ron and Hermione, Corayne’s journey would never have even started without her allies.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
For fans of the Red Queen series, Aveyard’s prowess is nothing new. For those starting with Realm Breaker, you’re in for a treat. The characterization and attention to detail as Aveyard creates Allward make for an engrossing read. Though the novel is hefty, it is hard to put down. Each character gets their time to shine without taking too much light away from our protagonist, a balance that is difficult to strike. Also, from an aesthetic perspective, the map makes following Corayne’s journey even more enjoyable; I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a physical copy of the book when it’s released on May 4th!
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table