Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows. Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to the #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.
Queen Song: Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary – how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lie ahead for her in royal life.
Steel Scars: Captain Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation – Mare Barrow.”
Review: I have discovered, largely through this blog, that I am not a fan of collections of short stories when they act as a companion to a larger series (Exhibit A: my largely unfavorable review of Happily Ever After, companion to the Selection series, https://bannedbookbrigade.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/bonus-book-happily-ever-after-by-kiera-cass/). However, I was willing to give Cruel Crown a try because I liked Red Queen and LOVED Glass Sword. While Queen Song definitely had its merits, I found Steel Scars to be incredibly boring. The majority of Steel Scars involved a lot of scene-setting and hard-to-read dispatches between Captain Farley and her Scarlet Guard supervisors. I think Steel Scars had the potential to be successful, especially because the reader gets to see how Shade Barrow and Captain Farley first meet. But Shade and Farley (two of my favorite supporting characters in the series) managed to completely bore me every time they interacted. I almost gave Cruel Crown two stars, thanks entirely to the interesting vantage point provided in Queen Song. But Queen Song was such a small portion of the book overall and I found it very difficult to finish the much-longer Steel Scars. Not worth the read, in my opinion (which is ironic, given that the best quote from the book was, “There is nothing so terrible as a story untold”).