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Audiobook Review: Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5)

Published May 7th 2019

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Narrators: Amanda Dolan / Erin Spencer / Vikas Adam / Charlie Thurston / Andi Arndt / Jayne Entwistle / Nick Podehl / Emily Woo Zeller / Arielle DeLisle / Stephen Graybill

Audiobook Length: 14 hours 10 minutes

The perfect addition to the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, this gorgeously designed package features three brand-new novellas, two previously published novellas, Steel Scars and Queen Song, and never-before-seen maps, flags, bonus scenes, journal entries, and much more exclusive content.

Fans will be delighted to catch up with beloved characters after the drama of War Storm and be excited to hear from brand-new voices as well. This stunning collection is not to be missed!

[Queen Song #0.1 / Steel Scars #0.2 / Red Queen #1 / Glass Sword #2 / King’s Cage #3 / War Storm #4 Reviews]

Broken Throne is an excellent collection of short stories and additional information about the characters and world. There are six novellas in this collection: Queen Song, Steel Scars, World Behind, Iron Heart, Fire Light, and Farewell. The first two have been included as standalones and in the novella collection, Cruel Crown.

If I had the entire series in front of me, my reading order would be Queen Song, Red Queen, Steel Scars, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, World Behind, War Storm, Iron Heart, Fire Light, and Farewell. Queen Song and Steel Scars take place before the events of Red Queen, so it really would be up to the reader where they want to read them as neither need to be read before starting the series and are just extra.

The contents of Broken Throne are: Throughout My Studies (Additional Information), Monarchs of House Calore (Additional Information), Queen Song (Novella), While the Delphie (Additional Information), Steel Scars (Novella), Continental Governments Overview (Additional Information), World Behind (Novella), Timeline (Additional Information), Iron Heart (Novella), Fire Light (Novella), Farewell (Novella), and While the Nortan (Additional Information).

Let us start with the sections labeled “Additional Information:”

The first two portions go through additional world building where there is some history and background into how everything came into being. Some questions about the Reds/Silvers/Newbloods and their kingdoms were answered, while there was still more information that I wanted to learn. It was not very in-depth, but it was a great addition.

Additionally, there are a lot of maps and family trees that were amazing additions as they gave great visuals to the writing. For this part of the novella, I actually looked at the ebook version and then did the audiobook for the actual written portions.

“While the Delphie” and “While the Nortan” give further background and information into what happens in between some of the main novels and after the final novella. I enjoyed these parts, but it still felt a little incomplete.

Now onto the six different novellas:

Novella 1: Queen Song

This novella was previously published twice: as a standalone and as part of Cruel Crown. The Queen Song novella is the background story of Cal’s mother Coriane. It goes through her meeting the king, becoming the Queen of Norta, her relationship with Elara, and her ending before the events of Red Queen take place.

Novella 2: Steel Scars

This is the same as Queen Song where it was published as both a standalone and as part of Cruel Crown. This novella goes over some background of the Scarlet Guard during their infiltration of Norta. It follows General Farley and her missions, her meeting of Shade, and gives an introduction into the Newblood abilities.

Novella 3: World Behind

World Behind is a separate story that seems to take place around the latter half of King’s Cage, but before War Storm. (I could be wrong and maybe it is during War Storm, although Aveyard placed it before the “Timeline” section that summarizes the entire story, so I am inclined to think I am correct and it is during the time of King’s Cage.) It follows Lyrissa, the Piedmont Silver princess, who is betrothed to Orion, the prince of the Lakelands. She is traveling and comes across a Red smuggler named Ashe and the plot follows them on the journey in the Disputed Lands, where there is no law, and them getting to know each other. While it does not seem to fit in the main series, it does give a new point of view to the refugees that are affected by the war, which the reader experiences through those involved with the main characters in the series. The main characters (Maven, Mare, Iris, etc.) are all discussed, so it was interesting to see “outsider” point of views for their stories. While this was novella had a great concept, I wish it were tied more into the series to integrate it more. As it stands, this novella just feels out of place yet it takes place in the same timeline.

Novella 4: Iron Heart

Iron Heart takes place after the events of War Storm and shows Evangeline adjusting to her new life with Elane. Over the course of the series, Evangeline became one of my favorite characters, so I already was a little biased towards this novella. If you are not a fan of her character, than this most likely, you will not enjoy this novella. However, the events in this novella do lead up to these characters’ roles in the next novella, Fire Light. The essential plot for this story is Evangeline torn between her duty to her kingdom as a royal and its new place in the aftermath while also wanting to remain away from it all. The story includes both her point of view and Elane’s, which was a nice addition since Elane was in the main story the entire time, but the reader never fully got a slightly more in-depth look into her character. It was not a big in-depth look, but it, at least, felt a little better than nothing was. However, this story felt incomplete as Evangeline is clearly going through a lot at the beginning in the aftermath of the big battles and she is not quite the stronger character that the reader is more familiar with. I wish there was more added on to this novella to explore her emotional state a little more, but it was nice to see her finding a place in the “new world.”

Novella 5: Fire Light

Fire Light is where Mare and Cal reunite, so most readers will prefer this novella compared to the others. It opens with Mare in the mountains with her family as she is trying to heal emotionally from everything that she went through in the series, including the heartbreak she feels at the end of War Storm. However, she cannot stay away forever and needs to return with the other forces to begin planning the next steps as there are still “enemies” out there and there are many issues that need to be addressed. She returns to council and here is where she reunites with Cal, Farley, Kilorn, Evangeline, and everyone else on his or her side, except for Cameron who is away.

 Cal and Mare are both still going through a lot emotionally and remain broken individuals. They each have complicated feelings about Maven and each other, but they still love each other and wish to be together. However, it is easier said than done, as there are a lot to work through in order to make their relationship work. Whether you agree with it or not, I was happy that there was some closure given to their relationship.

Plot-wise this story shows that the war is far from over, so there is no actual closure for the reader. There is a lot of political discussion, war talks, and rehabilitation discussed in this novel so the reader can infer their own conclusions, but the author does not spell it out.  Everything in this novella plus the story in Iron Heart felt that they could have been combined to make a longer epilogue at the end of War Storm instead of being their own novellas. There is some content in War Storm that could have been taken away and each of these novellas could have been slightly shortened to all fit together in one book.

Novella 6: Farewell

There are two parts to this story. The first is Maven’s perspective where the reader gets to experience the last conversation between Maven and Cal during War Storm. The second part is Cal’s perspective where he says a good-bye to Maven at his gravesite. Each was one chapter, so it is difficult to go into detail about their content or to fully review them. While it was nice, in a way, to revisit why Maven had to have a certain ending, it felt unnecessary, as this seemed to reiterate what the reader already knows from the main series. However, since it is the final piece from the characters in this collection before a brief conclusion of the entire story is given, it was a nice way for the reader to give their own “farewell” to Maven.

Overall Conclusion –

In this collection, the reader gets the history of the world and characters. Then, the main antagonist Elara enters the picture and the reader follows how her initial part of the story with Coriane affected the future all the way through to Maven and how his part of the story ended. The “timeline” section was nice as it reviewed all the main events from Red Queen through War Storm, so could essentially just read this collection and skip the whole series and the reader would still understand the gist of the series while only missing the details and some emotions. I really wish that there was a prequel novella featuring Thomas and Maven as that is a huge part of Maven’s character and his emotions. Another prequel novella that I would love is Elara’s origin story and how she came to be the person that the reader is introduced to in Queen Song. It was very interesting to find (or remember) that the Red Queen series does not take place in a made-up world and instead is set in the United States (and part of Canada) 1000 years in the future. Overall, the collection was a great addition, but there was still a lot lacking so I did not walk away satisfied. However, I am glad that I read it as it at least gave a partial conclusion to everything after the main series. This collection is worth reading if you want to complete the series and also if you want to learn more about this entire world that the author created!

2 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5)

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