The adventure continues in Blade Breaker, the second book in Victoria Aveyard’s Realm Breaker series. Now that we’re more established with the adventuring party, the pace slows a bit, yet there is still loads of entertainment and devastation to partake in. The jagged edges of the characters around Corayne are even more prominent in book two, and the special connections they form amidst the baggage and terrible odds are this book’s secret sauce.
Avoid spoilers and start the series by picking up the blade and venturing into Realm Breaker first. If you’re ready to continue with Corayne and her rag-tag group, then you will be happy to know book two picks up right after the events in the Ibal desert. The companions don’t have much time to catch their breath before they have to make their next move and make it fast. They need allies to aid them in their journey to close the spindles that are spilling horrors from other realms into Allward. In Blade Breaker, we follow the companions through the sands of Ibal and the snowy mountains of Trec to see who will answer their call, all while cutting down the threats lurking throughout the realm.
This is something I raved about in book one, but again, I am loving that Aveyard doesn’t let Corayne, the chosen one, dominate the story. The realm’s fate may rest on her shoulders, but it certainly does not rely on Corayne to detail every minute of its downfall. It’s refreshing that the events do not unfold solely through her naive and inexperienced eyes, although Corayne’s perspective is appreciated and enjoyable when it does pop up. As in book one, most of the tale is told by the adults in the room, and I love seeing their fears, frustrations, and trauma play into the plot. The group’s anti-hero is hands down my favorite character of the series, and she has incredible development in this book. The cast is so colorful and fun and has genuine chemistry that even their boring travel montages are made entertaining through their biting remarks and dialogue.
In book one, there is a POV that follows one of many villains in the story. This character’s POV continues in book two, and I was entranced and horrified by their downward evil spiral. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this person slowly start to chip away at their humanity. It was even better watching the people around this character recognize their de-evolution and react to it. I was made so uncomfortable because both the supporting characters and I know that this character is a lost cause and all we can do is watch. Everything may appear to be going this character’s way, yet with each chapter, they lose more of themself and the connections they have with the people around them. I commend Aveyard for the way she wrote this character’s undoing because it’s devastatingly good.
The biggest difference in book two is the pacing. It slows down considerably and it lacks the twists that supercharged the first book. The adventuring party is licking their wounds after book one’s big battle, and they are rallying their strength to travel great distances in the hopes of finding allies for their cause. The book does a good job of expanding the world to make sure the reader gets a greater sense of who the players are on the board, but not everyone is making moves yet. The slower pace did not detract from the story because Blade Breaker is setting up the next book for a great payoff. I feel like Aveyard spent book two glowering at me from across a chessboard before she makes her devastating move in book three.
Blade Breaker may not have the intensity of book one, but there is no denying the magic in this series. From the adventuring party to the power-obsessed villain to the horrific realms and their monsters leaking into the world, Aveyard has crafted another story I could not put down.
Rating: Blade Breaker – 9.0/10