While this book containing two novellas that link into the Red Queen series is not mandatory to read, I would highly that you do read it, preferably right after reading Red Queen and before reading Glass Sword, if possible. Reason being that it would give you some really valuable insight into the story, namely two of the characters in it.
The first novella is Queen Song, which is Queen Coriane’s story. I think her story was the one I was most interested in, simply because she’s such a hush-hush character in Red Queen—and also because she’s Cal’s mother and Cal is just the sweetest, but that’s not the point. I was not disappointed. It’s clear where some of the aspects of Cal’s personality came from now.
Not only does Queen Song give insight into Queen Coriane, but it also helps readers better understand Queen Elara and King Tiberias and the life they came from. I felt myself feeling a lot more sympathetic towards King Tiberias after reading this story—and hating Queen Elara even more than I thought was possible.
Now, Steel Scars was a whole different story. It’s based around Captain Farley’s story. Maybe I was the only one, but before reading this short story, I didn’t quite like her character. For some reason, she irritated me and I couldn’t for the life of me understand her.
This novella really opened my eyes and helped me gain the understanding I needed to like her character better and appreciate her role in the story. If you’re in a similar position as I was, not able to understand Captain Farley, I’d definitely advise you to read this novella. If you don’t come out of it liking her, you’ll at the very least come out with a tolerance for her.
Overall, I’m glad Aveyard had the idea to elaborate more on the characters that she did by writing two novellas. It’s a really nice touch to the series. It kind of acts like a stepping stone, making the jump to the next book a lot easier and a little shorter, because you’re continuing on with a sense of superior knowledge. Not that the jump to the second book was very far to begin with.
Personally, I’m really glad I read Cruel Crown and the two novellas it contains. I can’t imagine having continued on in the series without the extra insight—it adds perspective. But it is completely possible because this book wasn’t a necessary read. Just an optional one. An option you should take if you can.
Two women on either side of the silver and 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.
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lie ahead for her in royal life.
Captain Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of a rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.
Plus a Glass Sword sneak peek!
An exclusive excerpt of 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.