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Realm Breaker #1

Realm Breaker

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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.

An alternate cover edition can be found here.

576 pages, Hardcover

First published May 4, 2021

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About the author

Victoria Aveyard

23 books65.1k followers
I'm an author/screenwriter who likes books and lists. This site is the nexus of my universe.

I wrote the #1 NYT bestselling series RED QUEEN and my next series, REALM BREAKER, will be out in May 2021.

The genres I'm into include YA, Fantasy, Historical, Adventure, Apocalyptic - if people are dying, I'm buying.

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Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews238 followers
September 16, 2021
Realm Breaker is the first book in a Fantasy trilogy by Victoria Aveyard that follows an unlikely group of heroes who must band together in order to save the world from destruction.
“No mortal alive had ever seen a Spindle. Echoes of them lingered, in places remembered or forgotten, in people touched by magic, in creatures descendant of other realms. But no Spindle had burned in an age. The last of them was a thousand years gone. The passages closed, the gates locked. The age of crossing ended. Allward was a realm alone.”

The basic premise of Realm Breaker is that an evil villain, Taristan, is on a mission to open all of the long dormant Spindles, which are portals that open up to other realms. In doing so, he could unleash a great evil and end the world. The prologue dives headfirst into the action with him opening the first of these Spindles, and the rest of the book follows Corayne an-Amarat, a pirate’s daughter, who is visited by an immortal soldier, Domacridhan, and an assassin, Sorasa, who inform her that she is the last of an ancient bloodline and the only one who can help them stop Taristan from ending the world. In order to save the world, they need help though, and thus the adventure starts with them finding others to aid them in their quest, which includes the squire Andry Trelland, who is caught between home and honour, a witch who speaks in riddles called Valtik, Charlton, a forger with a secret past and Sigil, a bounty hunter with a score to settle. Other characters include Erida, the ambitious Queen of Galland, Ridha, another immortal who is aiding the group and Taristan, the evil villain.
“We don’t choose what we’re born to, Corayne,” Erida replied. She touched the crown on her brow. “We can only walk the path put in front of us.”

For most people, Realm Breaker is so eagerly anticipated because they were huge fans of Aveyard’s Red Queen series, as was I. If you are reading Realm Breaker because you are a fan of the Red Queen series, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. There’s non-stop action, betrayal, a diverse cast of characters and a plot that both pulls you along and keeps you wanting more. Unlike Red Queen, which has a love triangle front and centre in the first book, Realm Breaker has little romance but does set up certain interactions between characters that hint at more to come. There’s a potential romance between two villains, a lot of back and forth banter and bickering between characters which is very reminiscent of Mare and Evangeline’s back and forth in the Red Queen series, and a quest that takes up the majority of the story. Fans of Red Queen will not be disappointed but for newcomers to this author, you’ll be blown away by the plot, the well written action scenes and the personalities and dynamics of all of the cast of characters.
“You will destroy the Ward for a crown!”

“A king of ashes is still a king,” Taristan crowed.”

Realm Breaker was a really good first book, and pulled me in right from the very first page. Man, that prologue was brutal. It did take a little bit of time for me to get fully immersed in the story, but that was mainly because so many characters were introduced in the prologue and then more of the main characters were introduced to the story, not to mention there was a lot of dense world building and heavy description as well. But don’t let this intimidate you because it adds to the richness of the world which adds to the enjoyment of the plot. This is an almost 600 page book but it absolutely does not feel like it. I feel like this whole story went so fast and before I knew it, I had reached the ending. I went through this book for some reason thinking of it as a standalone and then I had to remind myself that the story wasn’t going to conclude in this book and that there were going to be two more books. This first book is focused on setting up the story and the characters, and does feel very much like a first book that promises a lot more to come.
“Sorrow is a mortal endeavor. I have no use for it.”

“Sorrow touches us all, Lord Domacridhan, whether we believe in it or not. It doesn’t matter what you call the thing ripping you apart. It will still devour you if given the chance.”

“And how do I defend against such a thing, Squire?” the Elder demanded, his voice rising. “How do I fight what I cannot face?”

Without thinking, Andry raised his own fingers, palm open, an offer as much as a plea. “With me,” he said. “Together.”

This book is told from six points of view: Domacridhan, or Dom, as he is known as, Corayne, Sorasa, Andry, Erida, and Ridha. Not all of the group of heroes have a point of view, but the majority of them do, but there are also perspectives from characters who are not a part of the main group trying to save the world. All of the characters were varied, diverse but equally interesting and although they developed in this book, I’m really excited to see where they all go in the following books. Watching the group slowly form as the book went on was interesting but the dynamics between them all are so damn entertaining, I love it so much.
“Mortals are hot-blooded, quick to anger, quick to fight,” he said. “It has been your flaw these centuries past. Perhaps it will be your salvation too.”

Let’s start with Dom, who is a 500 year old immortal, also known as a Vedera or an Elder, a scowling giant of a man who is an actual softie and needs to be protected at all costs. The author could have gone down the route that a few Fantasy writers go down when it comes to immortal, physically intimidating men, by making them very possessive and toxic but I swear to god Dom is an actual cinnamon roll who I just want to hug. His character was such a great addition to the story, especially because he brought so many funny moments with his naivety, and also because his back and forth bickering with Sorasa actually gave me life.
“In the foothills of the great mountains of Allward, surrounded by heroes and immortals, Andry certainly felt the gods around him. Who else could have set a squire on such a path, the son of a foreign noblewoman and a low knight? Heir to no castles, blood to no king.”

Andry the squire is also another character that needs to be protected at all costs. He is by far one of my favourite characters because he’s so wholesome. He literally steals a tea pot from an abandoned farmhouse and makes everyone cups of tea after a particularly brutal battle with a sea serpent aboard a ship. Like, what more do you need to know about him? He's a polite, respectful soft boy who is the softest boy on earth, torn between wanting to help Corayne out of the goodness of his own heart and wanting to ensure the safety and survival of his mother, his only living relative left.
“Fear is a well-honed instinct, useful as any steel edge,” she said. “It’s kept me alive more times than I care to count. So let that fear in, let it fill you up, let it whisper and guide. But do not let it rule.”

Corayne shakily nodded her head. “I won’t let it rule.”

The assassin looked satisfied. “There are no greater teachers than fear and pain.”

Then we have Sorasa, an Amhara assassin of the Guild who is also one of my favourite characters (There is basically a running theme here of all of the characters being my favourite characters). Sorasa was so badass, which was not surprising at all considering she’s an assassin so she’s automatically an amazing character. She really provided the well needed comedic relief to the series and her sarcasm and verbal attacks on basically all of the characters gave me life, especially her back and forth bickering with Dom when she would basically verbally annihilate his soul.
“Your blood is born of the Spindles, of distant realms and lost stars. You want the horizon, Corayne of Old Cor. You want it in your bones.”

Corayne un-Amarat, who could be described as the main character, was also an interesting character because she’s so different from Mare, the protagonist of the Red Queen series. She is a pirate’s daughter who wants nothing more than to escape her life in a small town and explore the world, which she gets to do, even if it’s not quite how she expected it would go. She’s starstruck a lot of the time with all of the new parts of the world she’s getting to see, a little inexperienced and naive. But what I liked about her character is that her strengths lie in her thinking, in her talent of maps and the world. Personally, I do think Corayne was the weakest character and even though I enjoyed reading from her perspective, I do hope we get to see more development of her character in the sequel. I just want to know more about her so she becomes as interesting and compelling as the rest of the characters in the series.
“Erida stood without her throne, without a crown, without any of the trappings of the ruler she was born to be. And, somehow, she’d never felt more like a king.”

Then we have, Erida, the Queen of Galland. When Erida was introduced to the story, I thought I had a clear idea of what her character was going to be like and the role she was going to play in the story. But boy, was I wrong! I was so wrong. But I’m also so happy that I was wrong because what she ended up being was so much better than any idea that I had for her. Erida is an ambitious queen who basically joins forces with the villain Taristan in order to further her goals of conquering the rest of the world, which was the dream of her ancestors. I guess that means she is now also a villain? Erida surprised me, because I didn’t expect it from her character, especially when compared to how she was at the start of the story when her perspective was first introduced, but my god I love her so much. She’s ambitious and determined and so unapologetic in her drive to reach her goals, but she’s also so badass because she stands on her own as a character before she joins forces with Taristan and she takes no shit whatsoever. I am beyond excited to see how her character develops and where the story takes her, especially her relationship/partnership with Taristan.
“An immortal Veder, a Jydi witch, a copper-eyed assassin, a royal squire, a criminal fugitive, and the pirate’s daughter, the Ward’s hope. What a mess we are.”

We have a few more characters in the story like Ridha, Dom’s cousin who is also an Elder who helps to recruit more people to the cause and two more characters who make up the rest of the band of unlikely heroes: Charlton, also known as Charlie, a forger, and Sigil, a bounty hunter who has been hunting down Charlie for his crimes. Although these two were introduced later on in the story, I still really enjoyed their characters and the dynamics and banter that they brought to the group. I’m excited to see more of them in the sequel!
“Her fingers brushed the scars on his face, her touch fleeting and featherlight. His white skin felt hot as flame. “There are breakers of castles, breakers of chains, breakers of kings and kingdoms,” she said, her voice iron.

“Which am I?”

Power surged through her veins, delicious and seductive. She wanted more; she needed more. “You are a realm breaker, Taristan. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

I wouldn’t really say that Realm Breaker is romance-focused at all. It does feel like it’s more of building the foundation of the relationships between the characters before having them actually form relationships with one another. I do think there are hints of a potential relationship between Corayne and Andry, and also maybe one between Dom and Sorasa? But because there was no clear idea, I was literally shipping everyone with everyone. I kid you not. I was shipping Andry with Corayne but also Andry and Dom, whilst also simultaneously shipping Sorasa and Dom. But I’d say that the most obvious possible romantic pairing is between the villains, Taristan and Erida. Every scene between these two characters is to tense and I swear there’s so much sexual tension, especially in the latter half of the story. I’m here for this. I like this very much. I want to know more about Erida and Taristan, especially Taristan because I find him so fascinating. There’s definitely more to him than just being “evil” and I want to know what it is. But that potential villain romance is so delicious. I want more of it. I want it all.
“Take your sword and bleed for me, and I will bleed for you. Win us the crown our ancestors could only dream of.”

Overall, Realm Breaker is truly a really good first book, which I think will please both fans of the Red Queen series and newcomers to Victoria Aveyard’s work. There’s evil villains, a band of unlikely heroes trying to save the world whilst also trying not to kill each other in the process, and just a rich world that adds to a really addictive plot. I need the next book. I need it now. I can’t survive in a world where this series is not all out and complete.

14/07/20 - a new fantasy series by my favourite author of all time? there better be some fucking betrayal in this book, or i don't want it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,509 reviews31k followers
April 17, 2021
holy smokes. this is the fantasy adventure story we deserve this summer.

things we love to see:
- medieval kingdom vibes but with pirates! and monsters!

- a large cast of characters with my favourites being a soft boi, a morally grey queen, and that one stoic duty-bound character who is adorable when teased.

- great fantasy tropes like a group of strangers on a mission to save the word, old magic bloodlines, an immortal race advising humans, and unexpected fate.
honestly, this reminded me a lot of ‘there will come a darkness,’ just with how each of the characters play a part for a greater purpose. and although there are so many of them, i wouldnt necessarily say this story is character driven. its definitely propelled by the plot - so much happens! but the characters do have depth to them (even the ones introduced towards the end), which i appreciated.

this is lengthy, but the 550+ pages blew by so quickly. fingers crossed the next book is just as long!

thank you so much to harpercollins for the ARC!!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for myo ✧༺ ༘♡ ༻∞.
704 reviews6,264 followers
June 12, 2021
Victoria Aveyard be writing 500 pages of absolutely noting. this book tried to do some much but fell flat. there wasn’t a plot and you can’t convince me, characters are dull, no romance and the world building was good but if i wanted to sit through 500 pages of worldbuilding i would just read a SJM book. I will be reading the sequel because the book has so much potential and i can see this being pretty good but Aveyard has to learn you can’t keep writing these big books that are 80% nothing and then a plot twist in the end this is not 2012 anymore, readers want more than that now.
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,610 followers
July 27, 2022
Attention, attention!

“If you don’t belong to a place, perhaps we belong to each other? We who belong nowhere?”

I hereby declare that, from man to woman and all in between, every soul who dreams in colours and unknown magic, who seeks adventures in rich lands alongside characters of flesh and blood, needs to immediately drop whatever the hell they’re holding and pick this book up. Why, you ask?

Because Realm Breaker is the book my wretched heart has wished to read ever since it found itself in between the fragile pages of dreams and fantasies and nestled in against the world.

No, not because of the hunger woven into its lines or the journey through forest and city and sea, all painted so tangibly they would dance before your eyes and in your ears and up your nostrils, in the gradually introduced medieval-inspired world of Allward that is diverse and bold and feels loved and lived in as a living thing (and which you need to let wash over you at first lest you become overwhelmed by its details and complexity hitting you in the face from the beginning, and instead relax because what you’ll need to remember and understand will be explained slowly later on); though the world sucks in a great deal of my adoration.

“Hammer and nail, the Companions are now seven, wind and gail, bound for hell or bound for heaven.”

And no, not for the mismatched, merry band of heroes who battle survivor’s guilt and the craving for home as they unwillingly try to save the world from being torn apart by the opening portals, their team growing both in number and begrudging closeness even as they wish one another dead; though I love this blooming found family (whose relationships are not focused on romance) and their challenges. Not even the jaw-dropping action scenes that are sometimes epic and sometimes hilarious but always immersive, or the smooth, artful storytelling that makes the book a tapestry—every moment a thread integral to the tale and leaving waves throughout, the suspense build-up ensuring you feel the tension either way—was what sealed its place in my bewildered heart.

No, the true reason why Realm Breaker ascended into my all-time faves shelf was its female characters—its powerful, strategic, rational, calculating, cunning, resourceful, unyielding women who carried the story in their filled pockets, who I could finally point to and say that’s it that’s who I relate to. And it saddens me how rare that is.

“Even when it isn’t the end of the world, the realm is a dangerous place for women,” Sorasa added, gesturing between herself and the bounty hunter.
Sigil grinned broadly. “And so we became dangerous.”
“Care to dance with us?” Sorasa extended a hand, gesturing like a partner at a ball. “We who belong nowhere?”

In interviews, Victoria has named Tolkien as an inspiration for why she wanted to write an adventure in a medieval fantasy world and, indeed, the Tolkienesque journey is very much there. But, to me, RB does better many things the legendary and worshipped LotR trilogy did inadequately, be it ethnicity and gender diversity, morally grey characters, or a world with trade and politics that make it feel lived in. When Aveyard writes about her inspiration in the Acknowledgements, she thanks Tolkien for “giving me so much—and yet so little. For making me want. For making me hungry,” and that’s precisely it.

“There are no greater teachers than fear and pain.”

I know fans of Tolkien are going to crucify me under this review (by all means) but, even as Tolkien will always be an idol of mine in the field of linguistics and I will continue to admire his deep knowledge of myths and how he combined them to create his detailed world at a time when fantasy was scoffed at, his works were too absolutist, racist, and sexist for me, a Middle-Eastern girl who supposedly has a “masculine” personality and whose favourite genre is grimdark. And please, don’t argue that he was not, because the defensive arguments are the issue—he was a child of his time and that’s understandable, may he rest in peace. I am not going to pick an argument with a dead man, I just think we need to see and admit the flaws in his works instead of brushing them aside, because that acknowledgement is the only way to improve.

So yes, that most renowned work of fantasy leaves me hungry as a blackhole, but the works inspired by it that strive to do it better fill me with hope.

So far to climb, but I cannot look up, or look back.

The truth we all know is that, for a long time, female characters were either nonexistent or included but in the worst ways possible. Then feminism kicked in and we were given a wave of female leads with no agency. Then voices were raised, and the current wave of diverse strong women rolled it—angry girls who made souls shake in fear and bold girls who did not let anyone put them or their bodies in a box; loving girls who stood strong and fought and quiet ones who slipped through the shadows with knives and deadly promises.

At every turn, I loved them. I cheered for them and adored them and wept in joy. But through it all, only a handful were ones I—the reportedly heartless control-freak who mostly only had the evil male masterminds to relate to—could see myself in. And then this book came and wrapped up all my favourite types of female characters in a box, fleshed them out, and tied it with a pretty ribbon for me to tear into.

What types of characters, you wonder? What is so special about these people made of words who you could simplify in tropes Aveyard explored and turned on their heads, you want to know? Then read on.

“There are breakers of castles, breakers of chains, breakers of kings and kingdoms,” she said, her voice iron.
“Which am I?”
Power surged through her veins, delicious and seductive. “You are a realm breaker. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

Characters: Powerful Women & Adorable Men

Corayne: Firstly, I have no idea what reviewers mean when they say our chosen one was the weakest character—I’m sorry but did we read the same book? Victoria loves to take tropes and twist them around, both showing how they can’t work and how they can if made realistic. And with Corayne, she does just that.

Our girl is like all the other chosen teenagers, and yet the exact opposite. As any teenager taken on a sudden journey around the world to save it, she lacks experience and can’t survive without the adults accompanying her. But that does not make her clueless—far from it, in fact, because she is a sharp-minded planner who suffers no illusions and reads most people easily, knowing how to manage them, and is quick to rein in her emotions in favour of logically assessing the information to find solutions and even direct their group. She may be young and hopeful, but she is not naive, neither is she useless. How could she be, when she has been the mastermind behind the success of her captian (secretly pirate, but Corayne is not supposed to know that) mother’s ship from a young age. No, all this young no-nonsense lady is is out of her element, and she still does not lose herself, gathering herself quickly to react rationally.

An alliance bought is still an alliance made.

This is a type of character rarely written or understood, especially female and in YA, and especially as a realistic young hero and not an antihero or villain. With her darting eyes and furiously working mind, she always strives to anticipate the next step, planning and looking for answers. But when you insist that you see through all lies, sometimes you might also see through truths and disregard them. And when you have such aversion to unexpected experiences outside your plan, you can fear being incompetent and struggle. And if you are raised by a spontaneous, charming mother who is your opposite, you can also secretly crave to be as fearless and free as her.

Still, with all her insecurities, Corayne knows her strengths and what she wants. She has a wanderlust in her, looking for a place to belong and lay roots, and she goes after it as she does everything: methodically.

“The Lion should take you as its sigil. You’re twice as fierce, and twice as hungry.”

Erida: Meet the young, morally-grey Queen of Galland, land of the Lion, and my favourite character—the character I thought I would never read.

While Erida has been queen for four years, she is still just a woman in the eyes of her patriarchal society. “Untrustworthy, unfit, too weak to rule. History gorges itself on women raised high and then brought low by men grasping for their power,” but she will not be one of them. She always is—and seeks to be—in control, and will tolerate no man’s self-righteousness or share her company, her mind, and the weight on her shoulders with anyone. It might make for a lonely existence, but she does not care. Because Erida and her strategic, cunning mind are preoccupied with more important matters, such as strengthening her hold on power before her court could cast her aside.

Only men can speak all day long and still think themselves silent.

Sorasa: As one of the experienced adults among our MCs, this assassin of the Amhara, legend of the shadows, quick with tongue and blade, to whom discord is a better shield than steel, completely steals every scene she’s in. Not only is she a sarcastic, wild woman who takes up the role of reluctantly leading their team through danger after danger with her resourcefulness, her technique and deadly nature are captured with the most masterful quill to make her own the title assassin more than just in name. And slowly getting to know the values this amoral human holds is a welcome arc that filled me with warmth.

“Whatever you decide, possible death or certain death, be quick about it.”

✦ Other honourable mentions from the cast who took shelter in my heart include: Andry, the soft boy dreaming of knighthood who has always felt separate from his fellow royal squires and will not hesitate to fight for what and who he holds dear, even if he has to burn his road back. Dom, the honour-bound immortal who, like Andry, grapples with survivor’s guilt but does it more immaturely—because he might be 500 years old, but he has no idea how to deal with emotions and is generally an oddly naive cutie.

“Sorrow is a mortal endeavor. I have no use for it.”

And Meliz, the woman who rides the seas, enjoys every moment, and wants and wants and will not give up her wanting for anyone. Or Valtik, the eccentric, playful, fleeting witch and her rhymes and absurd priorities who surprised me with her courage. Sigil, the dangerous, meticulous bounty hunter with a dark humour, and her mortal enemy Charlon,, the shameless forger priest I could not resist. And ofc, our king of ashes raised in the mud—oh man do I want more of him.

Relationships: Found Family & Villain Romance

Corayne inhaled deeply, taking one last gasp of her mother. “How fare the winds?” she whispered into her coat.
Her mother breathed the smallest sigh. “Fine, for they carry me home.”

Friendship & Family: My favourite aspect of any relationship is the layer of platonic support and mutual understanding. And, even as these cast of characters can barely stand one another, even as their hilarious banter and snapped retorts fill every chapter, even as the additions each bring interactions full of bitter history and tension into the mix, every new member slowly finds their place and rhythm by the end. This is only the start of something beautiful blooming, and I need more of it. Especially of Corayne and her mother, a mother she has never truly been a child to. And also the ones promising a future romance. *winky wink*

“[The bargain] will be upheld.”
“Unless you die,” Sorasa said airily, pulling hard on the door.
“Gods willing, if it means never seeing you again,” Dom muttered.

Romance: Technically, there is no romance in this first installment. However, there is ~chemistry~ and in abundance. I’ll leave the alluded slow-burns for the next books but, I need to talk about the beautiful, beautiful villain romance.

“A marriage is a promise, and we promised each other the world entire.”

It’s not just the sexual tension, or the delicious wickedness, or the seduction of power. It’s not even the concept of two wolves sizing one another up so very delicately. It’s the fact that she scolds him and wants him as her weapon and he wants and respects her as his equal partner and they’re both formidable threats in their own right and xdkdhs, them combined? May the gods of Allward save our heroes.

Writing: World & Atmosphere Building

My words are too many and Goodreads’s word limit too little. I want to tell you about RB’s monsters and portals to other worlds that are myths to the current occupants of the Ward and how creative their workings are, and the magic they had once brought into this realm that is now a child’s fever dream. I want to rant about the politics and history of this diverse world, inspired by the Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and the themes of conquest and colonisation next to the depiction of various cultures with their strengths and sayings and ways. I want, I want, I want.

But I can’t.

Saydin nore-sar.
Gods forgive me.
Saydin nore-mahjin.
Gods protect us.

What I will tell you is that, even though Aveyard references Tolkien as an inspiration and the parallels are certainly there, the world building reminded me more of GRRM—and I don’t say that lightly, as he is my favourite author. Victoria is someone who always takes care to flesh out every element in exquisite detail, be it war and its strategies, the ways of pirates, or the subtle art of being an assassin. And her changing, immersive landscapes that felt truly lived in with constant conflicts and trades, layered politics ever-present in the dynamics of the world, and tangible cities and kingdoms and clans which bore personalities from the get-go were more reminiscent of GRRM’s, feeling alive and complex the way his always do.

And that—this whole book—is everything I want from my fantasy.

Companions: Playlist & Related Reviews

Book series playlist: Spotify URL

Books in series:
➳ Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker, #1) ★★★★★
Blade Breaker (Realm Breaker, #2) ★★★★✯
Untitled (Realm Breaker, #3) ☆☆☆☆☆
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,132 reviews39.3k followers
July 29, 2022
Wow! With this jaw dropping cover, pirates premise and the name of the author who has written Red Queen series sold me this book! I was extremely excited even though this book was a little intimidating with its too long pages and story telling style with too many narrators. Could I say no to a challenge? Course not! I accepted and I went blind!

But... well... this feels like a long warning book before reading the real story! You know the first book of series is always having some trouble because they have to introduce too many characters, the main conflicts, depicted world building which usually take too much chapters and as we wait for the author’s cutting to the chase , it probably never happens because the author needs to make his/ her introductions as good as they get and nearly at the end, the plot’s pace gets faster and when finally the real action starts, a few pages later we find out there’s a huge cliffhanger and the story ends abruptly as we keep screaming “why why whhhyy” after investing to a book as long as first book of War and Peace. This is exactly how I felt after reading this first book!!!!

So here we go: I am gonna elaborate just a little more how reading 568 pages book with long chapters and at least 6 POVed narration failed me this time.

Firstly I understand how this book got so many 5 starred reviews. Some readers like to read detailed depictions of world building and lose themselves inside characters’ minds but for me that incredible world building and long embellished depictions overshadowed the main conflicts at this book. Till we reach the last third, nearly nothing happened!

Lack of romance was also one of the reasons the story failed me. With this too long journey’s with lots of vivid characterization need chemistry, bonding ( not I’m talking about friendship bounding because there is lot of them in this story), intimacy to get things more excited. Romance parts also help us to connect with the characters in deeper love and invest for the relationship they have.

I have to admit I didn’t have any problem with the characterization. But I’d like to read more POVs of human villains! They picked my interest from the beginning and read more from their perspectives would absolutely think my entire thoughts about this book. Probably I would enjoy the chapters more!

I think Dom, Sorossa, Valtik were way too much interesting characters but I’d like to read back stories of theme. Like Sorossa who is an assassin but we don’t see her in action and we don’t have much clue about assassin guild or how powerful Valtik is, what her back story is. We know she is witch but she speaks so mysteriously like the fraud clairvoyants tell you lies to get your entire money.

Dom was immortal trying to avenge his friend’s death picked my interest from the beginning and I wouldn’t say no to spend more time with the character.

Corayne is heroine, the daughter of pirate, who is destined to save Realm. But interestingly being pirate’s daughter is just a detail. It doesn’t contribute to anything about the main plot. In fact I was planning the whole story is about the pirates which was not! Another great disappointment point for me!

I didn’t have problem with Corayne as a heroine. She’s unusual and she carries so much responsibility she can deal with.

And Andry, a squire, a survivor of failed quest is quiet lovely gentleman.

Nearly the end of the book, two more POVs are added which was unnecessary.

Conclusion of the story is abrupt and the cliffhanger was so deliciously intriguing but is it enough to read the sequel? Well, investing to a real long book which is slow paced with less action and less pirate premise was disappointing experience for me. I don’t know it’s worth to your time and your patience.

I’m giving my solid three stars. This book is not soul shaking, earth shattering kind of great experience for me as I expected! I still have doubts to read the sequel but there are still so many unique things I truly enjoyed about it including the incredible world building, human villains compositions.

Profile Image for Nash (all too unwell).
315 reviews819 followers
July 8, 2022
“Hammer and nail, the Companions are now seven, wind and gail, bound for hell or bound for heaven.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 stars

This was my most anticipated release of 2021
I counted each and every day until the release

The first thing I would like to say is that this book is not something everyone will like. Most will find it very slow-paced or boring.
But I will tell you
This is a slow-paced masterpiece 🥺
Sure the first 2 chapters are infodump-o-topia, but after that, it's extremely interesting and the characters omg my heart flutters at the thought of them!

This book is extremely diverse and shockingly different from most YA books. While most books rely on romance, angst, fast-paced scenes and not like other girls this book is everything against it
There is like very minimal romance and that is VILLAIN ON VILLAIN ROMANCE ADSKJLAJFUSHF
And it is also VERY different from Red Queen. If u know me, u know that I'm a sucker for Red Queen books, so it might be surprising so as to why I like this
Well, it has all the good components of Red Queen.

*We have a FARLEY or rather 2 FARLEYSS
*We have a MAVEN
*We have an EVANGELINE

Also, this doesn't have the unnecessary angst from Red queen(even tho I enjoyed it)
Do I need to convince u further?

And the magic system in this book ah omg so good! The concept of spindles, spindle blood etc...was something I really enjoyed.
Sure, I was confused as hell but it was a good kind of confused

“There are no greater teachers than fear and pain.”

Also not everyone in these books are teenagers. Becasue as we all know, its impossible for teenagers alone to save the world. I loved that accept!
Corayne and Erida and Andry and are teenagers
Sorasa and Sigil are in their late 20's
Taristan and Doma re 500+ aged immortals
Valtik is an OLD witch



I just cannot explain it. Ugh I have been sitting here for half-hour wondering how to describe the plot in my own words or whatever bcz my words cannot do justice to the plot.
Even the blurb cannot do justice!

Okay, so Corayne is the daughter of a pirate. The pirate is not just some pirate but a very dangerous one. She pleads with her mom to let her go on the ships, but her mom refuses.

“My love, you don’t know what you’re asking for.” Corayne narrowed her black eyes. “Oh, I think I do.”

After her mom leaves she is sad bcz she has spent nearly all her life wanting to sail. But then something shocking happens. An immortal and an assassin come to meet her
Gasp, she's the only living descendant of a previously dead line
Gasp, she has to save the Realm from some very evil hoomans or rather immortals
Gasp, no that's all for gasps

She cannot do it alone. She needs help. And that is when the rest of the crew joins.
Gasp, they are awesome!

Together they have to fight against some very evil not so evil *side glances at Taristan* immortal to secure their realm and make sure What Waits(evil thingy) always remains waiting and not planning on visiting.

Forgive my very mediocre explanation


“Only men can speak all day long and still think themselves silent.”

“I don’t belong anywhere,” Corayne said, her voice failing. To her surprise, Sorasa cracked a smile. “There are plenty of people like that,” she said. “And nowhere is still a somewhere.”

My stupid self forgot to mark quotes while reading because I was too into the story
*punches self*

But anyways I loved it! I saw soo much change in her writing style and 3rd POV suits her better than 1st POV.
The only problem I had was the info dumps at the starting and hence the 0.5 stars reduction
But anyways, I loved it!
Did I say I loved it?


World building

The World is literally the most important thing in Fantasy and gotta say this didn't disappoint!
The whole concept of Spindle blood, Spindle swords was soo creative and omg so good.

Sure, it was confusing but once i ~kinda~ understood everything I had soo much fun! ANd Im thinking the author is gng to introduce some alternate universe monsters in the next book

The magic was complex and yet soo simple. I loved it sm ahhhhhhhhhhhhh



Ok there are soo many characters I wanna talk about!
There are 9 characters u should know abt...They are the MC's!

* Corayne the map obsessed gal
*Dom the cinnamon roll immortal
*Sorasa the badass assassin
*Andry the very cute squire
*Sigil the very awesome bounty hunter
*Charlon the very funny forger
*Valtik the witchy witch
*Erida the very gray queen
*Taristan the cute evil guy<3

But Im going to talk about only some of them


“This is the best way out of here. To the horizon and beyond it. To whoever I am, in my bones.”

To those people out there who call Corayne boring..

Just because she is not like other YA MC's doesn't mean she is boring! Unlike almost every Ya MC, she doesn't know how to fight. She cant handle a sword. She is intellectually clever. She knows how to handle a map and can solve riddles. She likes pretty things *cough*Andry*cough*
She is sassy strong and brave.
She is the definition of "bravery doesn't lie in one's abilities to fight"
She lets others help her unlike some *cough*Mare*cough*. Corayne will listen to ur advice and interpret it in her own way. She is always ready to learn and that scene when Sorasa teaches her to fight
Even though she can't fight with swords, she is clever and makes plans<3



“Boys do stupid things to feel like men, no matter how old they are.”


Sorasa omg the first chapter I read from her POV, I was blown away. She murdered someone then
*excitedly jumps*

Sorasa is an assassin. Unfortunate conditions have led to that. She is brave and very strong. She can kill you in 50 different ways. She is sassy and takes no hate.
She saves everyone's ass almost every time and she does it with style. You know u can always rely on Sorasa to save you.

How often do u see grown-up characters in books??


“Sorasa spat heartily, her aim true.”

Mare Barrow who?
Hey, but Sorasa is nothing like the lightning girl

[image error]

*panics because I don't have enough space in the review*
Im going to try and keep everything short


“Only men can speak all day long and still think themselves silent.”

Erida my very morally grey Queen. No, she is literally a queen. Until that very particular plot twist I liked her, but not much.
Everyone meet my book gf💖💖, Erida the queen of......(I forgot I'm sorry)

*may contain spoilers*

Erida is the Evangeline of this story.
Erida is the queen of...... She is not evil but an opportunist. She knows she has to keep her kingdom safe so she agrees to Taristan.
She sacrifices her happiness for that. She will do anything for her kingdom<3


Im ah so excited to see her in the next book eeeeek


The next few characters I'm going to talk very little about. Though I love them, I actually have no idea what to say about them and how to express my love for them

Evil, Cruel and the Villain. But I like him. Why?
I don't know he is soo interesting to read and omg his twisted brain💖💖

“You are a realm breaker, Taristan. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

Dom is supposed to be an cruel immortal. But omg he is soo innocent and cute. I soo respect the author for reversing the gender roles for making the Female characters strong and the fighters and making the guys very cute and cinnamon rollish
Hey but if u cross Dom, he will tear u apart into pieces :)

Andry omg! Most times I have to remind myself that he is a teenager. Because he is soo cute and innocent. Cuteness overload

Sigil who is another Farley. We don't see much of her here only in the last 1/3rd of the book . She is brave clever and she like Sorasa can kill u very easily

Charlon that guy is funny. He has a ~mysterious pat~ which Im looking forward to learning more about.

Valtik omg she is a witchy witch. She is Old with a capital O. she will speak mysteriously and irritate you but U can't help loving her.

Relationships and Romance

This book hints at many upcoming relationships in the sequel. It lays down the foundation and hints at something bigger!!!!

The Friendships in this book are to die for ah! Sorasa and Corayne and Sigil omg! F/F friendships are literally the best

Dom and Andry omg their relationship is like mentor disciple! SO fun to read about!

I will die for these guys

And the romance. let me first talk about


Erida and Taristan is the villain on villain romance I'm talking about. These guys will be the death of me. the few scenes in which their interactions they have such powerful chemistry ahhhh
Im soo looking forward to their relationship!!!

“His eyes met Erida’s like lightning finding the earth.”

**end spoilers**

Corayne and Andry freak so cute ahh. while The previous couple is such powerful love, this the cute relationship. And they know they like each other but they keep quiet

Doma nd Sorasa if they don't get together i will kill them myself. they like almost hate each other. they keep teasing each other. SO if it doesn't happen I will ahhhhhhhhhh

“Her silence was her best quality. Perhaps her only good one.”

This is like haters to lovers. Not enemies
And that scene where Dom and Sorasa fight at the start that scene was everything!
It was action-packed and omg soo good


Me after the ending




Thank you


My rating system:
5⭐ - I loved it soo much! New favorite
4⭐ - It was really good! But something was missing
3⭐ - It was nice..but had more potential
2⭐ - I did not like it at all!... It could have been soo much better
1⭐ - Nope. Just No. I hate it


Victoria Aveyard is the death of me.
First she killed me with the Red Queen series
Now with this

I see soo much change in her writing and story type. And writing in 3rd POV definitely suits her!
And Omg we got a Farley😭
And a Maven like character?
Villian on Villain romance ahhhhh

This book did not have all that drama from Red queen and it felt soo refreshing after reading some very particular YA boooks.
The first book has laid some base for some great relationships, character dynamics and has all the promises for an epic fantasy series

This book was slow-paced at the very start and there were some info dumps at the beginning but at about 20% it picked up and I loved it sm<33

And I can't believe I have to wait for the second book . It doesn't even have a title😭

Review to come



Profile Image for Nicole.
718 reviews1,787 followers
October 1, 2021
Realm Breaker has an interesting premise but sadly it didn’t live up to it. While the world-building was well-executed and we had a ragtag to save the world (which I usually love), the story itself was underwhelming mostly because of its bland characters.

The central plot of this book is saving the world from the bad guy Taristan who is trying to open doors (in a way) to other dimensional places. Where there are usually monsters. Then, he can rule the world -he’s backed up by the evil god “What Waits” (very original). I won’t go much in the blurb but that’s the jest of it. And oh, Corayne’s blood and a special sword are needed to close them.

First, the structure of the book wasn’t as good as it can be in my opinion. This book had too many pages and too long chapters. Yes, the world isn’t simple but that’s no excuse. I was extremely bored reading it. Having six points of view certainly didn’t help either. Ridha’s chapters were also not needed, imo the story could’ve been told from Corayne, Domacridhan, and Erida’s perspectives. The prologue should be Andry’s and the epilogue is Ridha’s last chapter. I really hate it when authors add more points of view than it’s needed and it certainly wasn’t useful here. It only prolonged the book and did nothing to develop the characters.

Something that annoyed me was the lack of a map. I really hope my ebook had some error… this is a journey. They go from a place to another. A map is always needed in my opinion in these cases. I’m sure Aveyard can afford to hire an illustrator to draw a map. I have no idea where they were going except from x to z but not of the “grander” road.
update: apparently, the hardback does have a map actually, not sure about the paperbacks. Now I wonder how many maps I've missed since I read ebooks mostly. I wish it was included in the ebook as well.

Before I move on to the characters, I need to mention how the slow-paced slowly killed me. I had no interest in reading this book and it was more like a chore than something to enjoy. I ended up wasting my precious little time this month because I simply wasn’t in the mood for this book. The plot nor the characters could hold my interest even though this is usually my cup of tea. I really love a team from different going to save the world and the setting was interesting. And since the plot wasn’t compelling, it’s usually upon the characters to make the book worthwhile. Unfortunately, they made it worse.

The characters were, like others already mentioned, bland. I honestly can’t think of a better word to describe them. They weren’t bad, they weren’t annoying, they were just there. Dull. Uninteresting. One-dimensional.

Corayne, the main lead, had no personality. She wants to discover ok but that’s about it. I didn’t hate her, she didn't annoy me, the poor girl didn’t do anything wrong but then again she barely did anything. My suggestion for her to be one of the primary perspectives is maybe then she could’ve had more character development and charisma. As for Andry.. again, he’s nice but that’s about it. I have nothing to say about him. Just bland.
Domarcidhan who is supposed to be this terrifying strong immortal acted stupid and was simply said, mediocre. It’s not that I disliked him, he was just meh. Now, Sorasa, I didn’t like yes. She was so hard trying to be badass and mysterious.. made me roll my eyes. I usually love assassins but I was underwhelmed by her arc. We were told to think she’s tough and all and probably she is but her character was more show than tell to me.
Erida was better because she’s an antagonist and we read from her perspective; I didn’t love her but I also didn’t struggle reading her parts.

As you can see, there is not much to say about the characters over than their lack of personality. It’s been a while that I read such boring characters, usually, we at least have 1 pov, not 6… I did not care about their journey at all and found it difficult to concentrate. Kept hoping it gets better… it didn’t.

On a more positive note, I highly appreciated the lack of romance, it wasn’t needed and it wasn’t there! There were some hints but that’s about it.

One last thing I want to mention is that there was a big inconsistency/loophole in this book. Please let me know if I missed anything because I frankly wasn’t invested in the story hence wasn’t fully concentrating on it.

I wasn’t a fan of Red Queen but wanted to give this book a shot. It promised an “epic” story and there’s nothing epic about it other than the idea behind it. It terribly failed to deliver a YA fantasy that can hold its own among a very competitive genre nowadays. Needless to say, I will not be continuing with this series. I might still give Aveyard a third chance but we shall see about that. I also don’t expect this book to be a hit like Red Queen but you never know nowadays.

Profile Image for Era ➴.
215 reviews505 followers
September 22, 2022
This book tried its best but didn’t succeed.

I was so, so excited for this. A new Victoria Aveyard book featuring high fantasy world building, a group of characters (which means potential found family?????) and a female assassin character??? I was so sold. I loved Red Queen in seventh grade (I haven’t read it since but my tastes have definitely changed since then) and I had such high hopes for this.

To say those hopes were not met is an understatement. This book just could not do it for me, and I don’t know why.

First of all, the writing felt very stilted. It might be the fantasy world and/or the different characters, but the emotions and narratives in Red Queen came across so much stronger in comparison to this book. I know I shouldn’t compare them, but still. I was just expecting more.

“I am ruler of Galland, but I am a queen, not a king. I must be careful in what I say, and what weapons I give my enemies. I will not give anyone cause to call me weak-minded or mad.”

The world-building was also not that great, partly because it wasn’t explained very well (or maybe that’s my fault for not paying enough attention) and also because it wasn’t very original. It felt like a lot of things I'd seen before. Human kingdoms, immortal kingdoms, founding myths. Everything felt the same as a lot of other books.

Honestly, the immortals were the same as the Elves in Lord of the Rings or the Fae in Throne of Glass, except that they didn’t have pointy ears or fancy powers. Everything else, in terms of politics, descriptions and customs, was exactly the same.

And while the political climate was written really well, it felt overused. The kingdoms were well-defined but not really expounded upon unless they were brought into the plot. Basically, the geography and world felt really stale to me.

“We agreed to terms, Sorasa and I,” Domacridhan said, bringing an end to his story. He raised his head and stared at Corayne in desperation, enough to make her skin itch. “And she led me here, to Lemarta. To you, the only person who can help us, and save the world entire.”

The characters just didn’t stand out to me at all. They were described in such epic ways in the synopsis and on the back of the cover, but they felt so flat and undeveloped. None of them got much layering through the whole book, which is unfortunate because it makes them harder to remember.

Corayne had my attention at first, because the way she was described in the beginning made me think she would be this fierce protagonist, but that didn’t happen. She was literally so useless and couldn’t figure out what she was doing with her life for the WHOLE BOOK. I don’t understand how everyone expected her to save the world just because her dad was a hero. If the fate of our world rested on her shoulders, I would automatically become a doomsday prophet.

She was supposedly intelligent and supposedly brave, but I just found her to be an insecure little girl. And while I would love to have more insecure protagonists who don’t have the greatest confidence in their abilities, I don’t want those to come in the form of a whiny child like Corayne.

First, she was all depressed because her mom wouldn’t let her go sailing with her, and then she was in disbelief because - surprise! Her dad was a Spindleblood hero, and that’s why she’s never felt like she fits in with people. Because she and her dad were descended from mythological people. And then she became this apparent heroine who could save the world.

“Like always, she felt a barrier between herself and the throng of people, as if she were watching them through glass.”

She’s so ~special~! She can speak half a dozen languages and knows almost every kingdom on the map and she’s an accomplice to her mother, who is a pirate! And she doesn’t fit in with the crowd because of her ~heritage~ and she has to ~save the world.~

Domacridhan was literally a rock come to life, but immortal life because he’s an immortal and can’t get hurt like humans. He’s stronger and faster than humans. He doesn’t need to eat or sleep because he’s not human. Oh, and he’s immortal. He’s not human.

“I can't imagine living for a thousand years and still being so stupid...It's almost an accomplishment.”

For once, I agree with the characters (I don’t remember who said this, but it doesn’t matter because I rarely agreed with any of them).

Sorasa was so, so promising. You expect me not to want to be obsessed with an assassin?

But she was so disappointing. I wanted this badass queen who was, as the synopsis said, merciless and lethal. What I got was this stuck-up, I’m-better-than-you, ~secretive~ caricature who pretended not to have emotional attachments and morals but failed miserably. While I would love this trope, it didn’t work with someone as stiff and annoying as Sorasa. She was more like a know-it-all who could throw daggers than an actually interesting character.

“Sorasa tried to remember the last time she’d said thank you to a living person and meant it. Years, if not decades, she realized, racking her brain. Well, no use in breaking the streak now.”

Andry could have been so much better if he’d gotten development. I would like to say I liked him the most out of all the characters, but I honestly don’t remember most of his chapters. He was nice and he did his best, and he cared for his mom. He was a sweet character, but too boring for me to enjoy that. The potential was there.

“The squire will march and fight and carry on until he drops. Until someone gives him permission to stand back, and be a little less strong.”

Sigil was cool but not that important and I can’t really tell why she was included in the synopsis.
Same thing for Charlie.

And then the witch lady was just straight-up annoying. I think it’s interesting and unique that an eighty-year-old lady was included on a quest in a book like this, but I could not bring myself to give a fuck about her existence, other than being annoyed.

I just expected so much better from Victoria Aveyard. Where are the intriguing characters and aesthetic settings? What happened to the romance?

Seriously. What is Corayne and Andry? Their relationship was duller than cardboard and less exciting than a childhood crush (spoiler: I’ve never had a childhood crush). Nothing about them had any chemistry. Maybe part of the problem was that I couldn’t care about their characters, but still. This is what we got? From the same woman who made the hordes scream over Mare and Maven?

“No amount of squiring had prepared him for a girl like Corayne. Noble ladies, perhaps, shy behind their hands or scheming in their silks. But not the girl in front of him, with a sword on her back and maps in her pockets, the starless night in her eyes.”

I’m just…disappointed.

I knew this wouldn’t make me fangirl over it the way Red Queen did, because I was twelve when I read Red Queen and I have different standards now, and I haven’t seen a lot of my friends enjoying this book, but I wanted to at least have some fun with it. I expected something that I would like - I mean, it’s a fantasy written by an author I used to obsess over.

The best thing about this book, in my opinion, was the commentary on how the world works in relation to girls.

“Boys do stupid things to feel like men, no matter how old they are.”

“Even when it isn’t the end of the world, the realm is a dangerous place for women.”

“Only men can speak all day long and still think themselves silent.”

Overall, I liked the concept of this book way better than the execution. Everything about it was built up in a really solid way, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t get swept into it. But nothing happened for me. Nothing made me care.

It’s not that it wasn’t interesting or good, but it wasn’t developed enough to really take advantage of how good it could have been. I was waiting and waiting for it to follow through on its promises, and it never did.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
683 reviews1,050 followers
July 14, 2021
“You are a realm breaker…you would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

To anyone unsure about picking this up because of the Red Queen series (like I was). Don’t be! This is miles better and was honestly such a breath of fresh air 😊

Multiple POVs (but not so many that it is confusing), fantastic world building and characterisations. Everything from the young girl thrust into a dangerous world far away from anything she has ever known, to a ruthless, murderous assassin to the sweetest cinnamon roll of a squire. Not forgetting the crazy ass witch and the immortal warrior with an ability to piss off earlier mentioned assassin 😂

A dark force is at work, breaking worlds apart and causing chaos. Only one bloodline have the power to stop them - Corayne, daughter of a ruthless pirate, knows nothing of her father or her heritage. But she soon will, and the fate of the world will be on her shoulders. Meanwhile a power hungry Queen will make some pretty dodgy decisions.

Honestly such an improvement from the Red Queen series, my only gripe is that I read this one so early I now have to wait ages for book 2!!

“Stand tall and steadfast true. The darkness comes, your choices grow few.”

I’ve added this despite being mostly annoyed throughout the entire Red Queen series. 🤷‍♀️
Profile Image for Samantha Shannon.
Author 27 books18.7k followers
May 3, 2021
A gripping quest fantasy, set in a very well-constructed and richly layered world, led by characters I loved.

I didn't realise quite how much I was craving a doorstopper that wasn't at all focused on romance. You can see Victoria Aveyard is sowing the seeds for some really compelling relationships, but to have this first instalment be primarily about the adventure, the friendships – it was refreshing, and appreciated.
Profile Image for Lucie V..
998 reviews1,636 followers
October 8, 2022
An immortal Veder, a Jydi witch, a copper-eyed assassin, a royal squire, a criminal fugitive, and the pirate’s daughter, the Ward’s hope.

✅ Ragtag group of misfits
✅ Action
✅ Plot and politics
✅ Villains (yes, plural) / Morally grey characters
✅🆗 Characters
✅🆗 World-building (it's very details, but the magic-system, and politics are hard to understand at first)
✅🆗 Pace

Maybe 3.5 stars?

Realm Breaker follows the adventure of a ragtag group of unlikely heroes as they set out on a quest to save the world. The magic of the Spindles is interesting, and this story is full of action and political intrigue. The writing is great, and the plot is full of twists and betrayal, on top of that we have knights, assassins, immortal beings, and monsters.

“You are a realm breaker, Taristan. You would crack this world apart and build an empire from its ruins.”

The prologue introduces us to Cortael of Cor who is on a mission with some knights from Galland and some immortal warriors (called the Elders) to stop his twin brother who seeks power. Taristan of Cor plans to tear open the Spindles, some kinds of portals that allow people and creatures to travel from one world to another, and if he succeeds, the realm might very well get destroyed. But what happens when the hero fails to stop the villain?

“Today, we fight for tomorrow.”

Corayne An-Amarat, daughter of Cortael of Cor and a renowned pirate, is dragged into a quest to save the world by the immortal Domacridhan and the assassin Sorasa Sash. Together, they have to find the Spindleblade and stop Taristan from destroying the world. Corayne does not want to get dragged into politics and fighting, but she's always longed for adventure, and this is the only way to get away from her lonely life that consists of watching her mother coming and going and being left behind. Along the way, they team up with Andry Trellant the squire, Charlie Armont the King of ink and expert in fake documents, Valtik the crazy witch/seer, and Sigil the ruthless and fierce bounty hunter. I like how none of them particularly cared for the others at first, or even about the fate of the world, but they ended up working together for the greater good, and also because deep down inside they started to like each other.

“So the realm stands on the brink of destruction. It might have tipped already. And for some reason, you need me to join this . . .” He glanced down their line. This time his scrutiny felt like an insult. “Merry band of heroes?”

The characters are brave, ruthless, snarky, and full of wits. They are all so different, that you are almost sure to love at least one of them. I enjoyed the different POVs, but sadly this book as a whole failed to really grab my attention.

The world-building is expansive, and I admit that it took me a while to read the prologue and the first few chapters because I kept trying to find the cities and countries they were talking about on the (gorgeous) map. It also took me a while to sort out all of the names and new words and to understand the working of the Spindles, and because of that, I struggled to be fully invested in the story for the first 100 pages or so. It does make sense after a while, and it is kinda worth it if you can push through. On the positive side, this adventure takes us across different lands and cities, and we really get to explore this new world. The lands of Allward are inspired by medieval Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. The kingdoms are diverse and each one has different cultures, climates, beliefs, and people.

Another thing that I liked about this book is the main villain. Taristan is complex, and I am sad that we didn’t get to see more of him. I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil anyone, but he and his "love-interest" are a nice duo. They're both sizing each other up, both doing whatever the hell they want to do, and they both know that the other is untrustworthy, and I am curious about how their relationship wll develop.

“A king of ashes is still a king.”

Overall, Realm Breaker is really more a high-fantasy than a YA fantasy. It is well written, with a good mix of action, politics, funny moments, and great diverse characters, but it was not exactly the right book for me. I know many people loved it, but I was disappointed, and overall I found the book long, and I struggled to really care about the characters of their quest. I do not think that I will read the next book, which is sad because I usually really enjoye Aveyard's books.

Seven against two hundred soldiers of Galland, a Spindle at their backs. Impossible, but then so was everything else up to this moment. We’ve overcome impossible before, Corayne told herself, trying to believe it, trying to be brave. For her mother somewhere, for her father dead. For her friends around her, and the realm threatening to collapse on them all.

Fanarts by Marcellamac_art

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Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,068 followers
Want to read
May 4, 2021
to read or to sleep that is the question.
It literally came out 11 minutes ago and I have work in the morning.
what are my priorities???


a rag-tag group of heroes???

This is all the things I love and I'm so here for it!!!
Profile Image for ☀︎El In Oz☀︎.
505 reviews305 followers
October 31, 2021

“A king of ashes is still a king.”

First things first, if you are just starting out in the fantasy genre, this book is an excellent starting point. It has everything a solid fantasy book should have, and it checks off lots of boxes on what makes an enjoyable book. That being said, behind a self proclaimed fantasy connoisseur, I have really specific tastes.

This book has lots of good elements, but it’s let down by the amount of POV’s, slow plot, and overall lack of immersive world building.
We have so many characters in this book and 5 POV’s that it’s almost too much. The thing is I like multiple POV books. But with this book, the way it was one POV per chapter specifically and had an uneven distribution of POV’s, made it less enjoyable. and towards the end I had to force myself to read I was so uninterested.

Our MC is Corayne and she really wasn’t interesting. She was a typical fantasy heroine and didn’t really bring anything new to the table. Her POV was the most common and also the most boring. She just was pretty bland for me. she’s the chosen one and all that, but she doesn’t do anything. Most of the decisions made aren’t hers, and she really doesn’t have much personality.

Andry is another MC who has a POV. He’s likeable but, again, he doesn’t have a personality that you can really describe. He’s kind and sweet but beyond adjectives, he isn’t really anything. He’s just.... there.

Sorasa was annoying. She’s the assassin and she just is..... there. She kind of is your typical assassin character I guess and she has a mysterious past and all that and that was that. She’s basically the trope of being super intelligent and powerful and not letting anyone in and also having a mysterious past that involves people wanting to kill her. How original.

Domacridhan, or Dom is the immortal MC. His POV’s are just okay. Like I think by now you can see a pattern. He isn’t that interesting, has no actual personality and overall doesn’t bring anything new to the book. He’s the immortal who refuses to feel anything trope , but made 10x more boring and uninteresting.

Everyone is boring. That is, everyone but Erida . She’s a villain, yes. But her POV is interesting. She has unique goals and her marriage of convenience with Taristan (the real true villain) is interesting and the possible villain romance between them? Yes. She actually has motives with the want to prove herself and to protect her kindgom’s legacy. Being Queen since she was fifteen I believe, she has lots of decisions to make and she is interesting. The only character I liked. She’s strategic, smart, and most of all, makes powerful decisions.

“If I must betray the kingdom to save her, I will do so.”

The plot is a solid fantasy plot. It’s easy to follow and really not complicated. That being said it’s boring. It’s typical . There aren’t any plot twists, the one there was I guessed a mile away. It’s start of a book that is a lot of preparing and getting the group assembled to fight rather than fight. It has an approach where the characters are supposed to make you stay, not the plot. That being said I can see the plot becoming interesting. I just have higher expectations at this point for most books and for a high fantasy book inspired by LOTR I was expecting more from it.

“Sorrow is a mortal endeavour. I have no use for it.”

The setting is a typical fantasy setting. Nothing that makes it stand out in my mind, or that interesting. The magic of the world isn’t described nor are the creatures. Or even who What Waits is. Like ?? Is it a god? Idk.

Also the lack of romance kind of made this book flat. Like the villain romance was right there but it’s not there yet. The other two romances that I have a feeling will develop in later books had the possibility to start with a crush or something. But that’s just my opinion. I like romance in my books 😌

At the end of the day it’s a good book and really solid but it wasn’t for me.

“You are a realm breaker.”
Profile Image for Kelsey (munnyreads).
74 reviews5,691 followers
April 6, 2021
**Thank you Epic Reads for sending me an ARC**

As someone who was not super in love with the Red Queen series, I was a bit nervous about how this one was going to play out, but this...

I like this.

3.5/5 ⭐️ I’ll post an in-depth review closer to release (5/4)
Profile Image for Unknown Reviews.
45 reviews117 followers
December 25, 2021
Dom scoffed. "I did not realise there was a competition for the worst personality," he crowed.

- Dom, 2021, speaking my thoughts about these characters.

I feel like it’s hard for me to rate this book. On one hand, the writing was astounding, the pacing well-done, and the plot intriguing. Yet what do you do when you’ve been handed a starter? A book that practically says “actually, it’s the next book you need to read,” combined with having some of the most unoriginal, bland and worst of all, generic, characters in YA.

Hi, welcome to Unknown Reviews. Today's special is Realm Breaker. Can I please take your order?

To start this review, we genuinely have what I think is a cracking plot. A group of five (supposedly seven) mismatched people have to band together and use their skills to defeat Taristan, a man determined to open portals into other worlds and unleash chaos, all under the bidding of He Who Waits.

(A more fun summary: Portals!)

I think portal stories make excellent reading. What happens when a normal world collides with somewhere completely chaotic, where monsters spill through doors and unimaginable evils are born. The potential is endless.

Unfortunately (spoiler)…we don’t get that.

Basically, in this book, Spindles are the name of the gates and our crew is trying to close them. About two or three are ever opened. We hear of some of the cool worlds behind them, but unfortunately, they’re never ever entered. Now, do they play a role in the story at time? Yes. Do they play exciting roles? For definite, perhaps the most exciting part in the book.

Still, it’s not that I feel I’ve been undersold a concept, because I’m entirely confident Aveyard is going to go all out in the next book, it’s just I feel underwhelmed. There are a few worlds mentioned and they all sound pretty awesome: one with sea monsters, one which may just be full of gems, one that’s home to immortals called the Elders. Except…they’re not really explored. And when you take out the usage of the Spindles, you get, well, a book about a ragtag bunch of people travelling around to continent to find something.

A.K.A a typical fantasy book.

The worst part of this book was how generic it was, especially the characters. As I continued on through the story, I realised something about them was itching at me, something I couldn’t put my finger on. And then I worked out it was how uninspired and terrible they were.

Characters summed up
(And this is accurate, even I think I've outdone myself)

Domacridhan: Elder (Not fae, but a little fae. More respectful and less horny then S.J.M’s which is a win.). Lots of brooding, scowling, rumbling. Check.

Corayne: “I want to explore the world. Ugh, I’m tired of life at home. Oh wow, I’m a chosen one, but how can that be, being the unremarkable girl that I am (I wrote this as a joke, but it turned out to be true, woah). I never saw this coming.” Check.

Andry: “I’m a squire! I probably have trauma! I…I don’t have a personality.” Check.

(Poor Andry, but this is painfully true).

Sorasa: She is an emotionless assassin who has killed hundreds of men and can escape anything. We’ve never heard of that before, amiright? (Mandatory check? This isn't making sense anymore)

Ridha: Wasn’t in the book, really. Irrelevant. (Check for the lols)

If you read this, you might think “Hmm, the first four match up to the characters on the blurb, but is Ridha the sorceress?” Actually, no, she isn’t. She’s Dom’s cousin on the search for help to save the realm. The characters I’ve skilfully described are just the ones with the POV’s. So, that fifth member who is important enough to get a mention on the back isn’t worthy of a POV (yet).

Actually, that’s another issue. The group? There’s actually supposed to be seven overall. Two join in later but they feel like very late additions even though I preferred them to our core five personality wise. Ridha has about four or five chapters, maybe even less, and they don’t contribute to the overall story? Once again, it’s a next book thing, but I can’t believe a character’s entire purpose was to set up events for the next one. There would’ve been no difference had she been in this story or not.

Finally, our last POV was actually my favourite. Erida, the young queen of Galland, who rejects a typical arc seen in YA. While I didn’t love her, this was one of the elements I really want to praise Aveyard for. It was one of the only elements in the book that was unusual and I haven’t really seen it done in YA before. Out of the POV’s, she was likely the most intriguing.

But now, I have to return and dissect as to why the characters were such a failure for me.

Nothing is offensive about these characters. They’re not super angsty. They don’t make stupid decisions. Each of them seems to have a goal and an arc drawn out for them. I don’t even hate them. It’s more about what they stood for: Just a mishmash of clichés and a billion tropes.

My description about Dom was accurate. He’s an elder, centuries old and while he doesn’t veer down the route of hitting on a twenty-year old, he’s just boring. He’s a character full of pride and justice. Whenever anyone makes a snarky remark, he scowls. He growls, glowers, glares, sours, snarls, you name it. And then I realised, I’ve seen this stiff-faced character a million times before and every time, they’re just as bad as before. I’ll compare him to Matthias from the SOC duology. I thought Matthias was the worst of the crows in the first book (great in Crooked Kingdom) and Dom’s personality is similar, but he’s actually less distinctive as a person. Please stop doing “gruff” and “honourable” characters if they can’t have a personality.

Corayne. So bland. Of course, she sticks to the trope of the Farm Boy. You know the one where they discover they’re the key to a prophecy and leave their small town in search of a bigger world. What didn’t annoy me was Corayne being a bad character. She’s actually fine. I mean, she’s there, but she’s not unbearable or anything. It’s just it’s the way the other characters that view her that feels unearned. When an author has to keep beating you over the head with how special, brave, amazing this character is to everyone, it means those characters are none of those things. For example, at one stage Andry looks at Corayne, and for no reason thinks “brilliant, brave Corayne. And it’s like “where, Andry?” When has Corayne been brilliant or brave? When has been inspiring. Is this in the behind the scenes? Did she grow interesting during that time?” Or another example.

Andry Trelland had seen enough spooked horses and hot-blooded squires in the training yard to know how to maintain some semblance of calm. Even if Corayne An-Amarat is more terrifying than either.”

Long story short, Corayne plays the role of the everywoman. The self-insert with no discernible wit, personality, or talent so everyone can relate to her. I thoroughly believe it’s such a shame these characters dominate YA when they have the main role and then leave the book unremarkable.

Andry is literally the male version of Corayne. Basically just a nice guy once again with no personality. Like, I don’t even know what his arc is or what purpose he actually serves the plot besides one thing. The funniest development in this book with Andry? His growing “relationship” with Corayne. Don’t be fooled, no romance happens in this book (another excellent decision by Aveyard), but growing attraction is there and it sucks. How is it the two driest characters become attracted to one another in a span of a few days with the most juvenile interactions. My friends, this is possible the driest romance in the history of YA romance and YOU HAVE READ YOUNG ADULT! YOU KNOW HOW BAD IT IS.

Their interactions are actually even worse.

“You’re the best hope we’ve got. That comes with consequences.”

She huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. “Does one of them have to be a brooding immortal listening to my every heartbeat?” she growled, nodding at Dom only a few feet away.”

“If it keeps you alive, yes.” Heat spread across his cheeks, a flush blooming over his brown skin.
That was forward, Trelland.”

What about that was forward? “Oh, I hope you don’t die.” Yes, that is something we want for most people.

Their interactions are so mundane. They’re like (I’m making this up now) “her skin brushed his. He blushed. Was he being too obvious?” Again and again.

(Seriously, why is it in YA that people turn red every time their crush appears in the corner of their peripheral vision. Why? They must look sunburnt ninety percent of the time.)

Even this little conversation felt forced.

“A squire who doesn’t like taverns or barmaids or drinking on another man’s coin,” Charlon laughed, gesturing for another beer. “Rare as a unicorn, that boy. Not that I’m exactly clear on what that boy is bringing to the table, if I’m being honest.”

“Andry Trelland is the reason we have the Spindleblade and even a chance of saving the realm,” Corayne answered coldly, her Cor eyes inscrutable.

Charlon raised a hand in placation. “All right, all right. Ca galle’ans allouve?” he muttered, raising an eyebrow at Sarn.

Dom failed to hide a smirk. He did not speak Madrentine, but by now he knew that Corayne most likely did. With the same twist of her lips, Sarn met his eye, sharing his sentiments for once.

Corayne’s face flushed, her grip closing on her drink. “I can think of nothing more ridiculous than being lovestruck in times such as these,” she said tightly. “And if you’d like to talk about me, I suggest you do it in Jydi. I can follow in almost everything else.”

Valtik cackled merrily into her cup.

Understand well that Corayne and Andry have known each other for a brief while before this, they’ve little to no chemistry and, yet, this is a wink-wink, nudge-nudge sent by the author, saying “aww, they’re so in love. Even their friends see it!” It’s like she’s trying to convince us they should be together rather than allowing things to happen organically. Cut out the romance, Aveyard, please. The book is flying without it. It’s really not needed, especially when it is the most boring ship I’ve ever witnessed and is a prime example of why we need to get away from unnecessary YA tropes.

Sorasa Sarn is probably my favourite of our crew but she stills relies on generic Assassin trope. I feel assassins have been overdone, especially assassins who are emotionless, disappear like Batman, are legendary everywhere. Also, in the first half of the book, there’s lot of times where Sorasa makes snarky little comments about men and it’s like “why? Who asked for this?”

He was always terrible at hiding his intentions. Such is the way with men.

Or (my personal favourite)

The Amhara has great need for those who pass unseen and who is more unseen to men than a woman


I learned long ago not to trust the promises of men. Even immortal ones

Yes. You go Queen.

Joking aside, you might come at me like “but, empowering!” No, frankly, I just found them really annoying and lazy. They came out of nowhere and once again, it’s like the author is trying to pat herself on the book and smugly say “look how feministy my book is” because her character…disses guys?

I firmly believe if a book has to tell you it’s message verbally by its characters, it’s because it’s not doing a good job. Tell-don’t-show once again. It feels like peak Girlboss feminism, like “woohoo, look at me, attacking the patriarchy,” rather than offering anything of substance. It's getting too surface-level and is honestly I skip over it at this stage.

Honestly, I’d just rather have more fantasy books where the women aren’t second class citizens. If we can’t have gender equality in real life, can’t we have in it in some books? There’s instances in this book where if a woman is in armour, they get side-eyes or little boys sneer. Thankfully, this discourse does stop in the second half but I rolled my eyes whenever I had read through it.

Sorasa does have a lot of agency and I feel the cold-hearted man killer assassin is toned down, which is great because it sets her apart from other assassins. Another great aspect of Sorasa is she’s about thirty, I think? And it was refreshing to see a character with that much skill have a believable training timeframe to back her up instead of being like “I’ve been the Assassin Legend since me mum kicked me on the street when I was little more than a toddler.”

Though her and Dom’s relationship gets old (they insult each other all the time. He snarls, she snaps, blah-blah), I liked it her relationships with woman in the novel. She takes on a – I wouldn’t say motherly – but a protective role towards Corayne which was refreshing to see.

To return to the feminism aspect of this book, it’s actually a shame Aveyard did feel she had to mention anything about it because all the female characters are powerful and exist as their own person. The work was already put in so the quotes pointing out men ended up being more irrelevant. Aveyard, rely on your own writing and characters please! It’s all there.

Valtik is our final member of the group and is…unneeded. She’s a witch who can see the future but the thing is she speaks in…rhymes all the time. It’s certainly a choice. Also her future-telling is really ambiguous. She only tells people things when she wants to so it’s kind of like “Yo, Valtik, will we die?” and she cackles and says “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall etc.” and you’re like. “Um, no.”

Her eccentricity is supposed to be part of the whimsical *charm* of her character but I think it’d just be really annoying in a real life situation. Like, I can’t even get behind it as a reader because she has these powers and she’s just not answering anything. She literally says “Where’s the fun in telling you everything, that’s a boring song to sing.” Valtik, stop being so self-absorbed! They’re trying to stop the end of the world.

Though this rhyme did make me laugh.

Better than a kraken, we are not forsaken

It’s just because I pronounce kraken as kra-kin not cray-kin so it was a little lost on me.

Besides the characters, I’ve the same issue with the dialogue. It’s very “snarky, snark, snark” and completely serviceable but as I read on I was thinking “what distinguishes this from any other YA book? Could I divide this from ACOTAR or Shadow and Bone?” And I realised I couldn’t. It reminded me of an AI bot spends a thousand hours studying YA books and this is exactly what it would be like. It was never funny or quotable, just completely, utterly filler. Now, I’m being unfair. I could use this criticism on many books. But maybe it’s just because I’m growing out of YA that I’m looking for a little more and I’m not getting it.

World? Probably fleshed out, only issue is I didn’t have a map. I heard there’s one in the hardback copy but that seems a real loss by the publishers since all these place names were thrown at me and I could never reference them in my head, so I’ve forgotten most of them I think. They need to do them in the paperback one day. Not for financial purposes, but just because it does make the book struggle, I think.

(This is an edit to say I had a dream where my paperback did have the map? I don’t know what’s real anymore and I’m too lazy to check)

No distinctive cultures or traditions stood out. It was like “oh, look Jydi and Gallish people” and I was like “if you say so.”

The magic wasn’t fleshed out. That doesn’t bother me, but I’m reading Legendborn at the moment and that magic system is proving a real treat. My only issue with the absence of a magic system is you’re unsure what the limits are. There's a sorcerer in this book (barely used) and it posed the question couldn't he defeat all of his enemies with magic hand waving? There must be some limit there, but it was never unexplained. This means a possible deus ex machina could be pulled out of nowhere in the future which I would be very disappointed by. Since it wasn't popped out in this book, I don't mind it all and it doesn't need to be explained to me.

The villain is unremarkable. Wants chaos and He Who Waits to come out for no justifiable reason (in my opinion). He makes dramatic speeches and threatens people for fun. I think I prefer courteous villians (think Gus from Breaking Bad) who do what they have to do without the boring "I hate everyone and I don't care who gets hurt in my mischef, mwa-ha-ha." (I do hate everyone, though, so I can relate). I mean just go to therapy, man, and resolve your low self esteem issues. It’s so much easier instead of wanting to take over the world.

The writing was magnificent. Best written book I’ve read all year. Definitely why I’m giving it four stars. It always kept my attention and was so enriching, just *whispers* yes, God.

The ending is actually kind of strange. I’d disagree there’s a twist. In fact, this book ends like the sequel is an after-thought. I can confidently say it wrapped up the majority of what happened in this book. And while it’s better than those books that tie nothing up in lieu for a sequel, it’s still like “Oh. That’s all that happened?” It could be a standalone, if a standalone didn’t actually use the elements it said it would.

Overall, it’s a good second book (series, I mean. This sounds like I was trying to ignore the rest of the Red Queen series, but it was literally just a mistype. But I also did kind of ignore the rest of the series so...I'm not wrong?) from Aveyard. It’s excellently written, expansive and there’s a lot of potential there. However, I just couldn’t bypass how generic the characters and dialogue were. It really feels like it’s combined every YA book to form them without putting in any effort or making them anything more than blank mouthpieces.

The four stars must seem conflicting but this is really just the book I’ve selected in today’s Why YA Needs More Originality. Hopefully with a little more effort, some use of the Spindles and character development (anything, please), the next book might step up to the mark.
Profile Image for Booked and Busy.
47 reviews642 followers
July 8, 2022
It should be illegal for a book to be this long and this boring.
Profile Image for Kira Simion.
819 reviews126 followers
Want to read
May 31, 2018
Who tf (the fudge) gave a book without anything (no title, no year, no blurb, nada) a rating???
Profile Image for paige.
567 reviews638 followers
July 13, 2022
"Well, if you don't belong to a place, perhaps we belong to each other? We who belong nowhere?"


I miss the Red Queen series.

- Paige
Profile Image for Kevin (Irish Reader).
274 reviews3,928 followers
September 2, 2021
There’s a lot I liked about this book, such as, the characters and the world. I found each POV interesting to read form and I enjoyed the perspective of each character. The world was really easy to understand (for me anyway) and I loved it. This book had a lot of potential to be really good and a great start to a new fantasy series, however, I feel the pacing and lack of action is it’s major downfall. While there was some elements of action scenes etc. It was just a bit too brief and the ending was slightly anticlimactic. I do think book two in the series will be much better now that everything has been set up, so I will be reading that and continuing. Since I adored the characters so much, that’s why the slow pacing and lack of action wasn’t a huge issue for me. Also love the idea of a villain romance in book two!
Profile Image for Mika Auguste.
158 reviews2,584 followers
February 6, 2022
i’m giving this a 3.5/5 because while this book was definitely good, it was just waaay too long. there is soooo much world building which is understandable because it’s the first book in a fantasy series, but i would’ve enjoyed more plot overall. HOWEVER, i really didn’t care for some of the POV’s, but most of the characters had me so interested that i genuinely couldn’t put the book down.

Sorasa, Corayne, and Dom….yeah i would lay down my life for those three and those three only.

i’m excited to see where the rest of the series goes and i hope that the next few books delivers more on plot now that the world building is out of the way!!! fingers crossed cus i’m rooting for u miss aveyard
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
457 reviews379 followers
Want to read
May 11, 2021
[UPDATE: OMG OMG I HAVE IT!!!! Now, to procrastinate reading it for about a year...]

Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal. Don't give me a Cal.


The fact that I yeeted this to my TBR at the speed of light, speaks for itself.
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews957 followers
Want to read
December 2, 2020


Profile Image for Cesar.
350 reviews235 followers
Want to read
July 12, 2021
Me: *adds book to TBR*

My brain: What are you doing?! You didn't like her previous series! Why read this one?

Me: Because I'm a masochist, apparently.
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews833 followers
October 24, 2021
Update- 2nd October
Finally finished! 2.5 stars. Review to come.

Content/ Trigger Warnings- Fratricide (on-page), Sword violence (on-page), War themes & battle violence (on-page), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Blood & gore depiction, Murder, Fire, Death of parents, Child abandonment, Betrayal, Self-harm (on page), Suicide


Update- 29th September

I started this again after putting it on hold for some time. Hoping its better this time. ✌


Update- 21st May 2021

Starting this now!


Update- 13th May 2021

Copy located! Will start this next week. 🥳


I haven’t had my luck with Victoria Aveyard’s books so far, but I might read this. We shall see.

The cover looks good, but the synopsis sounds like typical ya. I wonder how this will be🤔
Profile Image for alex (hiatus).
259 reviews150 followers
June 20, 2021
~before review~

my strange and violent self seeing the cover: just squeeze a liiiiitle more

~after review~

woah. that last line gave me chills. anyway, i thought that it was pretty good (though i am disappointed because there wasn’t really any big plot twists) but for the last seventy pages, i have no idea what happened. there was like a serpent or something and then people were fighting, it was just a lot packed into seventy pages
good things:
-i liked Sorasa a lot
-i thought that the world building was pretty good and the map was so pretty
-nobody super important dies so thanks Aveyard for sparing me the pain
-Erida was so cool
-there’s a lot of things i haven’t listed just because i don’t remember
Profile Image for Emma Theriault.
Author 1 book231 followers
February 7, 2021
this book pretty much includes everything I love! dirty pirates! disappointed mothers! mysterious lineages! extremely tired immortals! destinies being thrust upon the unwilling! a rag tag group of the least likely heroes! a very large and scary world! Victoria takes some tried and true fantasy tropes and once again smashes through them with her sword. it's the most fun I've had in a while.

feb 7th edit: reread the physical ARC and my love for this book only grew. cannot wait for everyone to meet this crew of misfits who are often stubborn, sometimes stupid, but always brave in the face of staggering odds. I just! love them so much!!! and the worldbuilding is honestly on a whole other level. Allward lives and breathes as easily as the cast of characters Victoria painstakingly brought to life. preorder now, I promise you'll fall in love.

also, VILLAIN ROMANCE!!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Georgia.
28 reviews832 followers
May 31, 2021
Before anything else, let me just say that I was not sure how I was going to feel about Realm Breaker. All the little snippets and details Victoria had been teasing us with for literal years had me excited and curious, but I was also wary. The book, from the beginning, was heavily marketed as being almost like Guardians of the Galaxy meets Lord of the Rings. The LOTR part was what made me nervous because I generally have trouble with denser fantasy books, so… A GIRL WAS NERVOUS. But Realm Breaker very quickly won me over.

A quick note about the beginning of Realm Breaker that I want to make: if you’re struggling with the first chapter, or even the first few, STICK WITH IT! Please! There’s a lot thrown at you in the beginning, and it’s a bit of a slow start, but in my opinion, it was all for the better, and everything sinks in fairly quickly, lining up before you know it! Also, the beginning had Spy Kids 2 vibes. That’s not relevant to literally anything, but I felt the need to share that with the internet.

Anyways, moving on.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Victoria Aveyard’s true calling is being a high fantasy writer. I have no credentials to back up that claim, so take it with a grain of salt, but, seriously, I never would have anticipated the writing we got in Realm Breaker based on what we see in the Red Queen series. I don’t say that to discredit Red Queen—I LOVE those books—but rather to emphasize how different the writing styles in these two series are, and how wonderful of a surprise it was. The storytelling in Realm Breaker was on such an unreal level in its richness and immersion. It sounds so cheesy to put it this way, but while reading Corayne’s first chapter when she’s in Lemarta, I remember truly feeling like I could smell the flowers, feel the mist coming off the ocean, hear the creaks of the wooden docks. And this immersion isn’t limited to Victoria’s ability to beautifully set a scene; it also extends to how thoroughly and masterfully Victoria constructed the world and characters.

The characters! Wait, we need to talk about the characters!

I well and truly had so much fun with this cast of characters, and I’m already eager to get more adventures from them. Now, it’s more of an ensemble cast in this book, with a variety of POV’s, but if we were to say who was more so the main character, it’d probably be Corayne, and there is one thing I want to highlight about Corayne that I especially loved. Usually when we get a character who yearns for adventure, I think the problem can arise that said character ends up being bratty, whiny, or both. This is not the case with Corayne, and I liked that it’s established early on that Corayne really does appreciate how fortunate she is in life, and even when her chance for adventure isn’t what she necessarily wanted or expected, she is willing to undertake the task with a sense of bravery and determination.

I don’t have many specific notes on other characters other than I just love, love, love them! I do have a few specific faves, though:

Andry, my sweet, sweet boy. I fear for him.

Sorasa, a not-literal-but-actual QUEEN. The badassery is unparalleled.

Dom, my somewhat grumpy husband. I also fear for him.

Erida, lowkey coming in with those Evangeline vibes which MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I need so, so, SO much more of Erida, please!

And Taristan, who we really got so little of but who is somehow still super compelling as a villain? Again, much more of him, please!

Ok. Time for some screaming.

DAMN YOU, VICTORIA AVEYARD! That ending was cruelly placed, but perfect!

And that’s all I’m going to say about where we end Realm Breaker. Just know that I am impatient for the next book.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Red Queen series, or if this will be your first dive into a book by Victoria Aveyard, I truly believe there is something in Realm Breaker for everyone and that love for this first installment in Victoria’s newest series is inevitable!

**Thank you to Victoria Aveyard and Epic Reads for entrusting me with an early copy of Realm Breaker!**
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