Victoria Aveyard, author of BookTok’s favorite Red Queen, has done it again with her latest book, Blade Breaker. It was one of our most anticipated books of 2022, and now it’s finally here. It’s clear that Aveyard can tell a fantasy adventure story as good as any of the best. Realm Breaker and Blade Breaker are definitive proof that Aveyard is a wizard of the genre. The world-building is on point, the characters are chaotic, and the story is getting wilder. It’s a book journey well worth taking.
Merry Band of Misfits
If a trope works, why mess with it? Throwing together a wildly chaotic group of anti-heroes will always make for compelling reading material. The team that came together in Realm Breaker is back again, this time more dysfunctional than ever.
We love to see it.
This time, however, the sexual tension is dialed up. This…sometimes works? Honestly, I’d be happy continuing to thrive in the chaos of this misadventure without the romance. I also wouldn’t be totally opposed to exploring the romantic potential in these characters if it’s done right.
Twice Queen, Rising Empress
Making Erida the villain in Realm Breaker was a stroke of storytelling genius. While this character absolutely could have gone either way, who doesn’t love a villain who girl-bossed too close to the Sun? Blade Breaker further takes us into the depths of depravity in a thrilling and kind of fun way. Everything Erida does is despicable. She’s unlikeable and commits unspeakable atrocities. Yet her chapters are among the most engaging.
As this character navigates her evil descent, it’s only appropriate that an equally evil man is by her side cheering the entire way. As Erida becomes more and more consumed by the darkness, it becomes easier to root for her ultimate demise. It may be clear where this character is heading. But that only makes the journey more satisfying, knowing that she’ll ultimately have to reckon with the chaos and destruction she’s caused as a Queen of two kingdoms.
Now There’s a Dragon
Is it even a fantasy story if a dragon doesn’t show up? Aveyard has readers covered.
A dragon can become such an overused plot device, and a fantasy story can rely on dragons to the point that the story suffers. Happily, Blade Breaker doesn’t fall into this trap. There’s just enough dragon content to keep readers intrigued. It’s never overplayed.
If anything, the presence of a dragon effectively ups the ante in this story. It also further builds the world. The dragon is a thrilling element to add to this realm that really has enough to deal with. However, if there’s a group of people that can handle the fact that a winged beast roams the sky, it’s this one.
Really, the inclusion of the dragon comes down to one question: Why not?
There Are Also Zombies?
This may be more of a future problem, but yes, there are now zombies in this universe. Aveyard adds some surprising humor that actually works in the context of the story. The zombies just add another layer of chaos to the cosmic stakes readers have already been introduced to; they just illustrate the depths that the villains are able and willing to stoop to. It also gives our heroes yet another barrier to blast through in their quest to save the world.
Like all good zombie content, Blade Breaker leans in to the tragedy of the undead. It is always effective to remind readers that even hypothetical undead would be made up of actual former human beings. Blade Breaker’s ending is particularly heartbreaking. The set-up for the next entry in this series will be rooted in tragedy, continuing the themes that have already been introduced.
Blessed Are the Burned
What Blade Breaker does best is further the stories of the characters we came to know and love in Realm Breaker. The stakes may be cosmically high; however, these characters are incredibly relatable in their world-saving quest. It’s clear Aveyard is committed to continually exploring her characters with greater depth, in spite of everything happening around them. The story is richer for it.
The entire story is a heart-wrenching exploration of trauma, and the healing that comes from the support of those around you. Blade Breaker is the best of the found family trope. It also never devolves into trauma porn. Rather, this entire story is an authentic portrait of broken people trying their best to navigate the circumstances in which they find themselves.
Blade Breaker is a worthy addition to the series and to the fantasy genre. It will make you laugh, cry, and think. It will also leave you enamored with the universe, and will have you cheering for the heroes to succeed. What else can you ask for in your next read?
Blade Breaker is available now, wherever books are sold.