War Storm Review
by Victoria Aveyard
Published in 2018
The finale of the binge-able Red Queen Series, War Storm finishes the story. Once again, this begins right where the last book finished off. Cal has decided to become King of Norta instead of being with Mare to create a society of equals among Reds and Silvers. Davidson informs Mare of another “kingdom” of Montfort which is a democratic society. Along with Cal and Evangeline, they go to Montfort to ask the council for help in fighting this final war against Maven as he retreated to the Lakelands. Evangeline decides to ally with Mare in making sure Cal doesn’t get the throne, as Evangeline wants to remain with Elane and Mare wants this democratic society to extend into Norta.
Back in Lakelands, Maven arrives to his wife Iris with the body of her father who died at the last battle. She tries to convince Maven to go to Montfort to rescue Prince Bracken of Piedmont’s children, but decides instead to try and do herself as a way to ally with Piedmont and then control both Montfort and Norta. Looks like someone may be even more power hungry than Maven. Meanwhile, Mare and her family fly to Montfort, where they meet Davidson’s husband, Cardamon. This intrigues Evangeline as she sees that Montfort is not only a democratic society, but an accepting one at that as she continues to dream of marrying Elane. Davidson agrees to help the Scarlet Guard if in return they will help them fight against wild Silvers who didn’t want to be part of this society.
It turns out that during an attack from the wild Silvers, Iris sneaks in and rescues the imprisoned children. When everyone returns, they are drawn into a council meeting to ask for more reinforcement. Cal makes a speech about how he will change Norta to also be a society of equals, which swings the vote his way and they agree to give him an army to fight against Maven. Shortly after, Montfort begins getting attacked by Piedmont as they discover that the children were rescued from their prisons. They now fear fighting a war against the Lakelands, Piedmont, and those still loyal to Maven in Norta. Maven also amps up the romance as he threatens his blushing bride to go to Harbor Bay as he believes that is where Cal would strike next, or he will throw her in a silent stone cell.
Mare and the Scarlet Guard try to go to New Town where they learn many Reds are working there as labor slaves and try to rescue them. They are attacked by Silvers and just barely manage to escape, with Kilorn badly wounded. Evangeline was sent to Harbor Bay, where she fights a difficult battle against Iris who controls water and turns the sea into a dangerous, tumultuous disaster. Evangeline retreats back to the Scarlet Guard. Mare and Cal get together again as they decide to put their differences aside for now.
Iris betrays Maven and attacks him. She decides to trade him in exchange for her father’s killer, who turns out to be Evangeline’s father. Cal is coronated as the true King of Norta. Montfort is attacked by the Lakelanders in a fierce battle as chaos rages on. As Maven almost manages to escape, Mare catches him. They both have a final showdown in a Silent Stone cell, before Mare finally (and I mean FINALLY) kills Maven. Mare decides not to be with Cal as she decides she needs time for herself after everything has happened. Cal begins to rule as many Reds from other kingdoms flee to Norta at the promise of a better future.
Final Rating: 6/10
Even though this book was the final book to the Red Queen series, it was also the most disappointing. There was way too much crap thrown into this book in order to try and give everyone a clean happy ending and the result was just an extremely messy and convoluted book. I can begin with everything I liked. Maven finally dies! Even though they could have killed him a lot sooner and save about 100 pages, I am just glad they finally got rid of him. Since he had been the main villain since the first book, it was great to finally see him get his end and I thought it was a great touch that instead of it being brother pitted against brother, it was Mare versus Maven.
I also loved the insight on the romance between Elane and Evangeline. Evangeline was always a tough, strong girl who clearly had her own motivations, but it had always been portrayed as just the goal to be queen, no matter what she had to do to get there. Elane brought a soft side to Evangeline and broke down that tough exterior into being a girl who is in love who only wanted to be queen in order to make her family proud. It also shows why Evangeline was always so protective and loving of her brother as he knew and accepted her secret, helping whenever he could.
Lastly, I loved the addition of the Lakelanders, especially Iris. We had heard of the Lakelands since the first book. They were the reason the Reds were forced to fight in the war and were supposedly the biggest threat to the Kingdom of Norta. Iris was just as fierce, strong, and strategic as I was hoping she would be. Even though she agreed to marry Maven and strike that alliance, she knew that the way Maven liked to do things was not ideal for the long-term. I loved that she was able to out-think Maven and screw him over, especially since Maven severely underestimated her. I also loved how powerful she was with her gift over water. She could control entire oceans and wreak havoc and was just such a force to be reckoned with.
To start the complaints, I am sick and tired of the Cal and Mare and Maven love triangle. It was like a crazy plot twist in the first book but I felt like it just dragged on way too much over the course of 4 books. Especially when you aren’t rooting for Maven, and to be honest, I wasn’t rooting for Cal either. I felt like they were both a poor choice for Mare. I didn’t like Maven for her for obvious reasons - torturing is a hard NO in my book. But I wanted to like Cal and Mare together because that was clearly what Victoria Aveyard was envisioning, but it just didn’t work because they were too different. They seemed to disagree and fight more than anything. Breaking up, getting back together, and breaking up again. I much preferred the romance between Elane and Evangeline or Farley and Shade. Mare was already a strong capable woman, she really didn’t need a romantic arch because I don’t think it added anything to her character.
I also felt like this book was filled with too much stuff. This was the same complaint I had for King’s Cage too when the beginning felt like it dragged on and the end was a rush. However with this book, the entire story felt like it was happening too quickly. I think they actually could have split this book in two and kept the first half of the book as its own book and the other half as a second book. It could have ended after the attack from the Lakelands on Montfort. Doing this could have given Montfort more chance to be explored as a nation and how they came to be and explain why we had never really heard of them. I also think it could have given more opportunities to see Iris plotting against Maven. Compared to the first two books where they gave adequate time integrating and exploring new characters, this book almost felt like every new character was thrown in without much thought. This is just disappointing because the addition of Davidson, Iris, and even Elane are great but we don’t get too delve too much into them because we simply don’t have the time.
Overall, I recommend this book just to finish off the Red Queen series. War Storm isn’t the best book in the series, but it is an okay book to read. It ties up many loose plots from previous books and gives the satisfying ending when Maven dies. I loved Mare as the main character and I loved the powers of everyone and the constant battles. If I rate this series as a whole, I would still give it an 8, even if the last two books clearly needed some improvements.