Series: Realm Breaker #1
Published by Orion on 2021-05-04
Length: 413 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2021 New Release Challenge
Irresistibly action-packed and full of lethal surprises, this stunning new fantasy series from Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Queen series, begins where hope is lost and asks: When the heroes have fallen, who will take up the sword?
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.
It took me nearly a full month of reading, but I finally finished Realm Breaker, the first book in a brand new fantasy series from Victoria Aveyard. I’m not really sure what I expected going into the book. I really enjoyed the Red Queen series, but I knew this was going to be different. Different can be good though 😉 Realm Breaker starts after a failed attempt to stop a portal to another realm being opened. The heroes have failed, and the survivors have gone off to lick their wounds and hopefully rally another set of heroes to do what the others could not. Following an immortal prince, a lowly squire, a witch, an assassin, and a girl who didn’t know the power within her, Realm Breaker is a high fantasy adventure where hope is lost and only the strong will survive.
The book begins with the squire who witnesses the fall of the heroes. Andry Trelland returns to his queen with the news that Taristan has opened the spindle gates, unleashing an undead army and killing the knights he was sworn to serve. Andry is one of my favorites of the series. He is what you’d expect a squire to be: loyal, moral, and brave. Yet this squire has already faced death and lived to tell the tale. He is haunted by nightmares and shadows, and his loyalty will be put to the test when his morals don’t match those he serves.
My second favorite character is Domacridhan, the immortal prince of Iona. He is ethereal and what I’d picture elves to be if he was from our own stories. His best friend and charge, a Cor blood, one of few who could open and close a spindle, was killed by Taristan at the opening of the story. Somehow Dom survived, and like Andry, is haunted by ghosts. As an immortal, death is not something he sees often and grief is rarely a feeling encountered by his kind. So he is set apart, angry that his queen will not raise an army to save the realm, and determined to find a Cor blood who can. When he learns that his friend had a daughter in secret, his hope is renewed. Dom is interesting in that while he is hundreds of years old, he still has childlike tendencies. He’s clearly been sheltered in Iona, and it’s endearing.
Other notable characters include Sorasa Sarn the assassin, Corayne an-Amarat a Cor Blood, and Taristan. Sorasa is first introduced when Dom is seeking Corayne. He knows he cannot find her on his own, and so he seeks the assassin’s help. Sorasa is cunning and a bit intimidating. She is definitely someone you want on your side. Corayne is a lonely girl, daughter of a pirate and too smart for her own good. Never knowing her father, Corayne longs for adventure. Then Dom arrives and Corayne’s world is turned upside down. The adventure she longs for awaits.
Taristan is the boogey man of the story. He is seen in the first pages leading an undead army and killing the hope of the realm. He intrigues me more than scares me. He is powerful, but what does he have to gain? Why is he opening the spindles that have long remained closed? Why risk killing everyone to gain nothing?
Overall, I enjoyed Realm Breaker. Told in multiple POV, as the reader you get a full picture of what is happening. Dramatic irony reigns as at times you know what is happening before the characters. The sense of desperation and the tiny glimpses of hope drive the story. I can’t wait for more of their adventures because the story is just beginning. If you are a fan of Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and high fantasy adventures, I highly recommend you add this one to your shelf.