This week for Teen Book Talk (a day late due to the Monday holiday), our reviewer talks about Cruel Crown, a companion novella to the very popular Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. One of the two stories is available as an ebook, and hopefully the book will be available in our catalog soon!

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Anvitha K., Teen Reviewer, Grade 9

redqueenTitle: Cruel Crown

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Format: book, novella

Year of Publication: 2016

Who will the book appeal to?: ages 13 and up, readers of Red Queen

Rating: ⅘

Cruel Crown is a companion book to Red Queen, and contains two short stories revealing the background of two mysterious characters that briefly appeared in the original novel.

The first of the stories, entitled Queen Song, is set years before Red Queen’s beloved protagonist Mare Barrow was born, and follows the story of young Coriane Jacos, better known to readers as Queen Coriane. Readers learn about her difficult past, and fall in love with her heart-breaking story as she meets Tiberias Calore VI, and faces the deadly challenges of her royal life.

Steel Scars, the second of the two stories, reveals Captain Farley’s past and shadows her as she handles being tasked with sparking the rebellion in the kingdom of Norta. Much of the story includes coded transmissions between Farley and her superiors, and readers gain a deeper insight to this secretive character. In my opinion, Steel Scars was not as enjoyable as Queen Song, perhaps because Farley was rather boring in this book, as compared to her appearance in Red Queen, but it was not a terrible story.

As a fan of Red Queen, I loved the book overall and would definitely recommend Cruel Crown to anyone who has read Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel. To others however, Cruel Crown would make little to no sense, as the book is more focussed on providing details and background information than actually following a plotline. It is more of an enrichment to the Red Queen series, and would not make a worthwhile read for any new readers of Victoria Aveyard. But in any case, Red Queen is definitely a wonderful series, and if you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you read that.