Author: Victoria Aveyard
Narrator: Natalie Naudus
Audiobook Length: 16 hours 34 minutes
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.
Realm Breaker is a great start to the series (I believe this will be a trilogy, but I am not positive). The world is complex and takes place over multiple places, so I highly suggest looking at the novel’s map to get a visual of where the characters are and where they are going. Although I loved the audiobook version, as I also enjoyed this narrator in All the Tides of Fate, I think I would have retained and comprehended more of the story if I read it either in ebook or paper format. There are six main different points of view in this story, so at times it took me a minute to remember who was featured at a particular moment.
Corayne is the main character and daughter of a dangerous pirate, but her mother refused to let her sail. One day an immortal and an assassin change her world by informing her that she has to save the Realm, but she does not need to do it alone. She is naïve, at times, as she tries to navigate this new existence, but she is very smart and logical. Even though she is not a fighter, she is not useless in the journey and uses her cleverness as a weapon, when the need arises. The one part that I would like to see in the next novel is more information about pirates. As the daughter of a pirate, I expected it to play a bigger role in the story, but there was not a lot. Most likely it will come up later in the series, but I just wished there was a little more in this one.
The assassin is Sorasa of the Amhara, legend of the Shadows. She was a fun and sarcastic character that aids the team through many dangers. Domacridhan (“Dom”) is an honor-bound immortal who wishes to avenge the death of his friend. His character appears stronger and closed off on the outside, while being more emotional on the inside. The two of them and Corayne form a team to set off on the journey to save the Realm. Along for the journey on their team are a group of other characters, including, Andry and Varik. Andry is adorable! He is a royal squire that never quite fit in and dreams of knighthood. He will fight for those he cares about and is very loyal. He also suffers from survivor’s guilt after a failed mission. Varik is the very old witch that likes to speak in riddles. She was a little annoying, to me, at first with her mysterious wording, which made me frustrated, but I somehow still liked her by the end.
On the other side, there is Erida, the Queen of Galland. She is an excellent morally grey character and I loved reading all about her. She comes together with Taristan, the Realm Breaker and main villain of the story, and the two of them are very interesting together. There is a lot that I hope that happens with them, as I loved their parts of the story. I could have easily read a whole story featuring just their parts.
There are a lot of other characters that all play a role in this story, too, but it would be almost impossible to go through them in detail. Even the characters I mentioned above, I could easily go into them in a lot more detail with more opinions, but that would be almost a novel in itself. The characters are a mix of ages, so it is not just one age group represented to either save or destroy the world. Corayne, Erida, and Andry are the youngest in their late teens. There are Sorasa and Sigil, who are in their 20s. We have the older witch, Valtik and some immortals, Taristan and Dom, who are over 500 years old. They are really interesting in their own ways and I cannot wait to learn more about them. There are many friendships, family-like relationships and potential romantic relationships presented, but with so many characters, it would almost be impossible to discuss them all. I have a few favorites, but I will have to see how it all develops in the next novel.
This series is very complex, but the one thing that stands out is that I was torn about who to root for as I loved the “good guys” and the “villains” almost equally, which is very rare, to me. The basics of the plot are simple, but the author managed to present it in a very complex and interesting manner. There is a lot of build-up where there is a lot of story leading up to a more intense last third of the novel. The pacing is very slow paced, which I expected as the first novel in the series, where the first few chapters are a plethora of information presented to the reader. The next novel most likely will pick-up right where the last one left off, so I am not sure if there will be a recap or not, but I’m sure a lot of the information in this one will be featured in the next novel. Essentially, I will definitely have to do a re-read before moving on to the next novel as I cannot fathom picking up the next novel without reviewing what happened in the previous novel.
Overall, this is series has great potential. For me, it is difficult not to be bogged down in the details, as there is a lot of information. The characters were interesting and I like how everyone will have their own opinions and favorites. Some may find the main character, Corayne, “boring,” while others may love her, which I did. The same division can be said for all of the other characters and I enjoyed that aspect of the writing. Based on this novel alone, I most likely would not consider it a re-read worthy story. However, I will definitely try the next novel before actually making any decisions about the series.