Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
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.
I’ve previously shared how much I enjoyed Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. However, Realm Breaker is a book that couldn’t be more different from her other series. Which is potentially good news and bad news. Good news if you didn’t care for Red Queen – you might actually really like this one. Bad news if you were hoping for Red Queen redux.
Realm Breaker evokes the best of classic high fantasy stories told with an eye for contemporary tastes. The chosen one is a girl for starters and we not only get representation for POC, there is representation for the LGBTQ+ community as well. All of this is achieved with a deft hand, widening the world of what otherwise feels like a love letter to the greats of fantasy (particularly to Tolkien, who was named as a huge inspiration by the author).
While Realm Breaker lacks the breakneck pacing of Red Queen, Aveyard shows her versatility in crafting a wonderful epic fantasy tale with multiple POVs. We are given a lot of detail about Allward, all its different kingdoms, and its past history. Fans of sprawling fantasy stories will definitely find themselves satisfied by the information that’s spooled out over many pages and POVs. Though some readers cited that they were bored by all this detail, this is one area where I think Aveyard understood the assignment of the genre and story she was going for. A+ from me. I also particularly loved how the “gathering of the Fellowship” or the “gathering of the dungeon party” trope played out in this book. Finally, Realm Breaker contained everything I loved about Aveyard’s writing and storytelling in Red Queen so as a fan of her debut, I was not disappointed by her new series.
With Blade Breaker releasing later this spring, I was left satisfied by the first book. I think this story is locked and loaded to really go off in the second act. I definitely have my favorite characters already and hoped nothing bad happens to my cinnamon roll, Andry!