Cover Image: Realm Breaker

Realm Breaker

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Member Reviews

Victoria Aveyard does what she does best, takes the reader on one crazy adventure and leaves them wanted to go on the next one. This book is so full of characters, countries, and even new realms that it took me quite a while to remember what name was a character and what was a place.  Aveyard places the most random assortment of people together to save the world from those pesky villains. However, this book is long, kinda slow, and it really took me a while to wrap my head around what I was really reading and what was happening as there are so many POV's. 

Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for an eARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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I didn’t know what to expect going into Realm Breaker, as I’m probably the only person in my friend group and possibly in the world who hasn’t read Victoria Aveyard before – a mistake I will soon remedy, I promise – but I can say this: If you like fantasy, this is the book for you. And I’m not even quantifying that. Fantasy lovers in general are sure to find something to enjoy in the new series from the author of Red Queen.

As a reader, I prefer to stick more with low fantasy than high fantasy, which means that this might have been a book I overlooked if I hadn’t signed up to review it. My preference is always slanted towards more character-driven books, and I have even been known to forgive plot issues if the characters are compelling enough for me.

There are no plot issues to forgive in Realm Breaker, a very-well plotted book that nonetheless manages to strike the rare balance of also gifting us with compelling characters. From Corayne an-Amarat, our heroine, to the band of misfits that end up gathering around her, there’s bound to be at least one character that doesn’t just interest you, but touches you. This is a particularly hard thing to do when there are so many characters in a book, and even harder to do while establishing compelling dynamics between those characters. And yet here we are.

For someone who isn’t a typical high fantasy reader, this might seem like a long book, and it does take a little bit to get into it if you’re not truly used to the genre, but the plot is interesting enough to take you to where the characters take over, and then, when the characters seem like they need more to totally hook you, the dynamics between those characters take over, and you are absolutely gone. You can’t stop reading.

The dynamics, in particular, are super interesting, because as much as we all love a good team-as-family story, the best ones don’t truly start out that way, and this one really doesn’t. Instead you have a very confusing mix of characters who should be enemies – and in some cases remain so – but need to be allies, and who don’t actually get along or like each other that much. In fact, I’d even argue that these people mostly don’t care about saving the world, and they certainly don’t care about saving each other. All their care is about what’s best for them.

Our main character, Corayne, in particular, is set up not as someone eager to save the world, but as someone eager to see the world, to get away. We can all relate to parents being overprotective, and Corayne’s mother is that, but she’s also a hypocrite, considering she’s basically a pirate but her daughter needs to stay on land, and safe. “Safe” being a very relative term considering the second she wanders out alone she’s met with an grumpy immortal who was friends with the father she never knew, and who needs her, of all people, to save the realm.

Which, in the end, speaks to what makes this book exceptional. For every twist it delivers, for every trope it turns on its head, it truly takes you on a journey where you, for a moment or five, believe that you know what’s coming. You’ve seen a character like this one before, you know the beats. You understand them. And yet you never truly do, not the way you think so. The author is always one step ahead, which is always a delightful thing to realize in the middle of a book.

The crew of misfits at the center of this book doesn’t always make the right decisions. They don’t always have the best intentions. And there are times when you might want to throw a book at a wall, that’s how silly some of the decisions they make seem. But you never want to stop engaging with them, you never want to leave them to their own devices. Even when you’re mad, you’re invested. You’re seeing this thing through to the end.

We all have a favorite from this ragtag group, of course, and I will admit to having a little bit of a soft spot for the morally grey queen, and the stoic and yet actually mostly soft character. But everyone gets a moment to shine, or at least a moment to make you question your allegiance to just one character. It isn’t possible to like them all the best, but there are times where you might feel like you do.

I particularly want to take a moment to talk about worldbuilding, which isn’t always something that takes me out of a book, but it ends up being someone that can bring me into a world, make me invest more. The level of thought and care put into the worldbuilding in this book is exceptional and Allward feels like a real place, even if you might not recognize how it looks.

But if there’s one reason to give this book a try, it’s this one: the book is fun. Not light, not easy, no, but fun. And we could all use a fun book that makes us think a little, couldn’t we? And if that’s not enough, let me leave you with this quote, mostly because it hasn’t left me since I first read it. Tell me you don’t want to try the book after it:


When is the next one coming? Because if the answer isn’t tomorrow, then the wait is already too long for me to bear.
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This one was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I love the Red Queen series and mainly for the characters. I did really enjoy this book but I feel like it fell a little flat for me? I will definitely continue the series and I feel like my opinion will change once I see how this book set up the rest of the series. I just feel like the pacing was a little slow for me. I liked all the characters but I feel like I barely got to connect with them despite it being a long book. I do really look forward to book two though!
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I liked this more than I thought I would based on the Red Queen series by Aveyard. This one has more of my favorite fantasy elements. I hope the momentum for the series can keep going.
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If you're reading REALM BREAKER because you're a huge fan of RED QUEEN, I promise you won't be disappointed. A diverse cast, twists, turns, betrayals, magic - everything we've come to love and (whether she wants us to or not) expect from the amazing Aveyard. I would have picked up this book no matter what, but hearing Nic Stone also rave above it just moved it from 2 to 1 in my TBR pile, and I suggest you make the same move. 

The basic premise is a world on the brink of collapse as evil Taristan, of old Cor blood, rips Spindles open (I think of these like wormholes) in a furious attempt to basically get revenge on the world because his parents loved his twin brother more. Now, that might feel like oversimplification, and it probably is, but that's how it felt to me. An angry little kid throwing a tantrum while playing a ruthless, cold, conniving grown man (because he's 33 even if he doesn't always act like it). In perfect Aveyard form, she sets him up to be the villain quite vividly to the point where we are distracted from the other villains who are slowly creeping into the story. This is one of the beautiful ways she twists the knife into our hearts. 

There's no one I loved more in this novel than Andry, the sweet, loyal squire who never seems to get the respect he deserves. He's just good, to his heart, and it feels cliche but good guys never win. His love for his sick mother will melt any mother's heart, too. He's a much needed presence in the book and offsets some of the cruelty and just bad-guy-ness of the other characters. 

I can't say enough great things about this book - the characters are diverse and fully formed with clearly different lives, as if Aveyard knows each of them personally and extensively. The story is unique but has a few of the Game of Thrones elements that made me fall in love with that series (not the X-rated stuff, just the manipulation and betrayals, don't get confused). If there was one thing that I could change, and I'm really searching here, is that sometimes the names confused me - especially at first. They are long and unlike anything I've heard before, which is probably a good thing. We need new things. But sometimes I was stuck having to go back to previous chapters to try to figure out who was who (especially among the elders). Since I didn't really know how to say the names aloud, it made it tough throughout. I think if I'd done the audiobook, it'd have been a different story. I don't think the story suffers from this one single bit, it's just a personal preference to be able to track/follow characters a bit more easily, especially when the story is told from multiple viewpoints.

Just do yourself a favor and pick this book up, ya spindlerotten scoundrel.  =)
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Very slow start. Half the time I was confused as to who was who. I felt like the characters didn't have motivation in their task. It did have a lot of promise and I liked the story.
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I had a really difficult time getting invested into this book. There were too many characters thrown at me from the beginning. It got better as I went on, but wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Red Queen is one of my favorite series and I was so excited for this new adventure from Victoria Aveyard but I didn't really find what I was looking for in it. With that being said, I'm sure that some of my students will enjoy it, just a different demographic than those that love Red Queen. It still has a place in my library.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this highly anticipated new release. It actually came out this past Tuesday, but it’s a DOOZY at almost 600 pages, so I’m a little late here. In an ancient realm, Corayne, whose mother is a pirate and father is unknown to her, discovers that she is the last of a lineage that can save the world from destruction. No big deal. With several others who have stakes in this - an immortal, a sorceress, a bounty hunter, a squire, and a forger - she stands against an army, ready to defend her lineage and win. The story is told in several voices and leaves it open for a sequel. Highly recommended for fantasy fans in grades 8+.
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The blurb in Realm Breaker suggests the question of the story is “When the heroes have fallen, who will take up the sword?” But the heroes didn’t fall—not the way we think of heroes falling. There was no drawn-out quest for those poor souls (that readers see, anyway), no epic battle. There were just knights who fought, knights who lost. No, the question Realm Breaker poses is not who will fight after the heroes die; it’s who can be a hero, who counts as a hero, and what the best thing to do is when all options lead to death.
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I am a huge fan of high fantasy and quest fantasy stories and Realm Breaker does not disappoint.  The story started out a little slow, but as this is the first book in a series that is to be expected as the story is set up and the background information is presented.  However, once the story picked up it was difficult to put the book down.  The story was well thought out and the characters are well written.  The only downside to the story is having to wait for the next story to come out.  I can't wait!  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of these fantasy genres!
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In this book, the first in a series, Aveyard tells the beginning of a story where the world is in the process of falling apart, and 7 companions must race to save it. A number of fantasy tropes appear, most importanly a “chosen one” who is important because of her “blood” and a magic weapon. The many characters were unique and mostly fleshed out, but there were far too many points of view, which made it hard to get invested in the quest. It was also difficult to get invested because it wasn’t clear why this was happening (i.e. the villain’s motivations), what would happen if they did (what is What Waits?), or the plan to stop it (so difficult to judge success or failure at each step).
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Wow! This is the story everyone should be reading this spring and summer. It has a wide variety of characters and great fantasy tropes. I enjoyed how the chapters were written with the different characters' perspectives. The story is very plot driven with all of the characters working for a greater purpose. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an adventurous fantasy novel.
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The start of a trilogy that I will be counting down the days for book 2 and 3! Seriously, pirates, monsters, magic, immortals, and a mission to stop the total destruction of life as they know it! Just need to fan art to start coming out to tide me over :)
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The beginning was a bit jarring. The characters, while great, took some getting use to. I feel like it might be better suited for audio.
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This book!! Victoria Aveyard has improved drastically from her original series, Red Queen and if you weren’t particularly fond of her then I implore you to give Realm Breaker a shot. Heavy on the world building. Aveyard has created Allward, a realm linked to so many others through the dormant and forgotten Spindles. There’s still blood in the land that remembers, although most go on about their lives having never experienced it. Until a great evil, What Waits, finds himself a new champion to slay the heroes of old and open the spindles up to wreck havoc on the world and take over. This adventure gathers new heroes, a very rag tag bunch of criminals, a squire, an immortal, and most importantly a pirates daughter with adventure coursing through her veins. 
I’ll also mention that I haven’t had a book that I’ve been unable to predict in a very long time, and this one did just that. You’ll see when you read it exactly what this new series has in store!! 
Personally, the only gripe I had with it was that it’s a very slow-paced introduction. Although there are action scenes every now and again, it focuses on character building and the heroes trying to begin their own adventure with no help from others. That doesn’t bump it down a star though, and I fully recommend it if you’re able to make it through until it picks up around halfway through. I’m excited to read the next in the series AND what action surely awaits!
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Despite the hype surrounding it, I will admit that I was not a fan of Red Queen. I even read it twice to make sure. So I had rather low expectations when going into this book. But man! It was fun. I loved the characters, the fast pace, and the world building. I liked that there was a hint of a romance (slow burn) but nothing was rushed. Honestly, this read like a prologue into the rest of the series...and I'm okay with that. This is a solid start and I can't wait for her to continue!
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It's been a while since I posted because this behemoth of a book is 576 pages! I absolutely loved Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series. It was absolutely incredibly (so if you haven't read it, go find it now!) I was eager to see what Aveyard has planned for her new, completely unrelated novel and Realm Breaker certainly didn't disappoint. 

Corayne is seemingly a normal girl who lives in a world where her mother is a fierce and feared pirate. No big deal, right? That is until one day when she is approached by an Elder, someone who is immortal, who claims that she just might be the secret to saving the world from being completely destroyed. It seems there is a dark and powerful force (referred to as "What Waits") that wants to simply turn every realm to ash. It is up to Corayne and this Elder to recruit a misfit team together to somehow save the world.

The differences in the characters and how they interact is probably the best feature of this story. You will think they don't like each other one minute and then they are saving each other the next! Their witty banter will keep you wanting more.

One last reason to read this: there just might be an encounter or two with a Kraken!
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Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: 5/4/2021

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to @NetGalley and @Orionbooks for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review! And a very happy book birthday to Victoria Aveyard and RB!

Allward (and the entire Realm) is in danger of being torn apart quite literally at the seams.  The story begins at the end of a failed ______ to save the realm, and Aveyard’s “merry” band of characters is left to pick up the pieces and try to save the world anyway.  True to a high fantasy novel, there are a plethora of POVs, and it feels both successful and a little much at times.  Coryane - our savior wrapped up in a smart, curious, teenage girl - kind of falls flat for me in her POV chapters.  For someone so astute, I thought being inside her head would be a little more exciting.  BUT - I can overlook it because every other character’s POVs are pretty interesting.  

If you’re like me and have trouble getting into LOTR and high fantasy because of the info dump/lots of traveling in the beginning, then you’ll probably struggle with staying interested until about halfway through the book.  (This is no surprise since Aveyard says she’s directly inspired by LOTR with this series.)  When the action begins to pick up, then I was super interested.  I’m definitely ready to read the next book, but it took some time to get to that point.  

Originally, this was a 3.5 for me; however, I’m rounding this up to 4 stars on Goodreads based on the potential for all the exciting things to come in the next book.  If you’ve read Red Queen, you know that Aveyard’s ability to turn your perspective on its head will probably make an appearance in the next tome, and that’s definitely something to be excited about!
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So, I have never read the Red Queen series by Aveyard. I've never really cared to do so, but maybe down the line I will. However, this book was so fun for me to read. I'm sure Aveyard has shown tremendous growth by writing this. I enjoyed the world-building and the slow-burn romance. I'm already excited to read the next book!
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In the realm of Allward, something dark lingers on the horizon. Corayne an-Amarat, daughter of a pirate, can feel it deep in her bones. She's always been hungry for adventure, but when it comes knocking on her door, it's hardly what she had imagined. As one of an ancient, powerful lineage, it is up to Corayne to save the realm from destruction. But she cannot do it alone. Joining her is a gentle squire, an immortal scarred by war, an exiled assassin thirsting for blood, a witch who speaks in riddles, a forger with a long criminal history, and a bounty hunter who never loses.

Realm Breaker, Victoria Aveyard's new YA series (with no connection to the previous bestseller, Red Queen) is one to look out for. This book takes to heart what it means to be an epic fantasy, filled with medieval knights, pirates, seers and magic, and more. 5 stars.

This book presents the age-old yet beloved ragtag team who set out to save the world... at an extreme disadvantage. In fact, it feels a little bit like The Hobbit, or There and Back Again in its tone and atmosphere. This is a book of magic, intrigue, adventure, and becoming more than what you think you are.

With characters that are (mostly, save for few) well-rounded yet mysterious stories, a large world, and just a splash of humor, Realm Breaker is one that engulfs the reader and keeps them hooked, despite its massive heft--just under 600 pages! The one and only thing that I struggled with a bit was that it very much feels like we are thrown into a world that is vastly different from our own, and I admit that it took me a little while to get my feet underneath me.

A testament to epic fantasy, Victoria Aveyard has given us what could very well be the best books of the year.
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