VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
“I will not be a red queen”
This has got to be my favorite Series finale I’ve read. So if you’re wondering if I’m satisfied with the conclusion to the Red Queen Series? Yes I am. My greatest fear had been that this wouldn’t be the case, but once the odds have been in my favor and I loved this book! War Storm was a perfect ending to one of my favorite Series, at least in my opinion. Now this finale wasn’t exactly what I expected, actually it was the opposite (more under the spoiler Tag) of that, but the author really surprised me with a different ending that I adored so much more than anything I had come up with. It’s rare to find a conclusion that is so satisfying, but War Storm managed to take my #1 spot of favorite Series finale (2 is The Midnight Star, 3 The Ship of the Dead if anyone wants to know). I’m just so happy about the ending and of course a little sad, that the book Series has come to a close and I have to leave these lovely characters behind. Gladly, we’ll get one last short story collection and after that it’s truly over. Strangely I’m not too sad, because I’m 100% okay with leaving things like they are. War Storm left me feeling happy and hopeful for the characters and I know that I’ll be able to accept this ending. I’M JUST SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS ENDING BUT ALSO A BIT SAD, do you feel me?
SPOILERS. Click at your own risk
What I wanted more of
- Cameron Cole – Look there were supposed to be 6 POV’s but the cut one and it must have been hers and that’s the TEA. Now this is not unusual, there was probably a reason for this edition in editing, but I was expecting a Cameron POV and was sad when we only saw her a couple of times. I loved getting her perspective in King’s Cage so I was very sad that we didn’t see her more often. Especially as I loved her relationship with both Sara and Farley. Plus we never see her make peace with Julian or Cal. WHERE IS MY SPINOFF?? I want one so badly, but the author I think has said that she’s not going to write more in the Red Queen world 😦
- Sara Skonos – She’s a minor character I know, but I LOVE her so much and adore her background story (and romance with Julian my fave). While Julian got a lot more of pagetime (and I was very happy about that!), Sara maybe had like 3-4 scenes. She wasn’t even in the first 300? or so pages and I wanted to hear what happened to her so badly. Even worse, we didn’t see enough romance with Julian and I wanted to see her friendship with Cameron shown again.
- What’s Jon doing? Now that Mare let him go, he’s out there … lurking around or something? I truly cannot believe that he
- Is Clara a Newblood? We still don’t know how exactly this blood mutation works, so it could be possible as Shade was one (it seems to be somewhat genetic as Mare is one as well), but idk.
- What’s up with Anabel and the Lakelander Queens? They must be so pissed about the ending. Anabel wanted Cal on the throne, so wouldn’t she try something to ruin all the progress? And the Lakelanders won’t be gone forever.
- What did they do to Maven’s corpse? We never see it again or even hear what happened to it. So … did they burn it? Bury it?
I have a lot of feelings about this book
“I’m not going to tell you to get over it,” she [Farley] whispers in my ear. “But you have to get through it. Just for now.”
⚡️Mare’ continued character development. We really see how far she has come already and it was a great way to end her character arc. I was very proud of my girl for improving so much and dealing with the insecurities and issues she had int he past book. Mare is far from perfect but she has now accepted that the different facades to her character (being the Lightning Girl or Mareena) are not what defines her as a person, but can help her achieve what she needs to do. She has also seen that she’s no longer alone in this, something she did not realize in Glass Sword. Mare has opened her heart a bit to other people now and feels a sense of belonging, be it with her fellow electricons or her family. She lets them help her and doesn’t try to isolate or shut out her heart anymore. We also see her face her trauma again and again. I liked that this wasn’t glossed over, we see Mare struggling with her time of imprisonment and the end especially is where she manages to get through it. When she kills Maven, he lures her into a chamber made out of silent stone, very triggering for Mare ever since she was a prisoner of his and constantly kept under this influence. It’s incredibly hard for Mare to face this again, but in the end she does and she wins against Maven once and for all. Yes, she ends her abuser and I was so happy about that.
“When she [Mare] moves, I realize her hair is different too. The gray ends are gone, replaced by a beautiful, familiar purple. I love it.”
Random side note: I love the purple hair!!!
⚡️We saw more Barrow family + Kilorn interactions. I really loved the focus on family and that despite all the war going on we got a lot of interactions. I adore the dynamic that Mare has with her family, it was so funny to watch her brothers tease and fight and be protective of their sister. Kilorn obviously has become part of the family by now and it was so great to see his friendship with Mare again, he’s truly a great friend and while Mare still wants to protect him she knows that he is Scarlet Guard wand wants to be involved. Their friendship stands strong nd I’m glad that Kilorn has moved on from his crush on her. But … Cameron? I had NO idea, I was thinking that Gisa’s crush wouldn’t be one-sided, but I was wrong. I do very much like the idea of Kilorn and Cameron, they fit very well together and it makes sense that she trusts him, as Kilorn is not a Silver. He’s Red and therefore not like those who oppressed her. For Cameron that’s important and with her strong will and his jokes they sure fit together well!
⚡️Maven is finally dead!!! If you don’t know, I’m not a huge fan of Maven. I just … think that he’s a bit overrated and not as great of a villain as he could have been. I never really cared about him, not even in book 1 before he betrayed Mare and the Scarlet Guard. Apart from the story about Thomas, I didn’t find Maven particularly interesting as a character and later I just hated him. Not even love to hate. More like “go away”. This time we got two chapters or so from his perspective – it was sure very interesting, but being inside his mind showed again that he’s a too powerful child throwing a tantrum because he cannot get what he wants. Also, how he treats Iris is despicable and all the times where he told her she was basically a dog to him that should obey … yeah that’s how he generally treats women, so how am I supposed to root for someone like that? I didn’t so I was delighted when Mare ended him. And! I was glad that there wasn’t an attempt at a redemption Arc. So I’m celebrating his end!
“You forged this crown yourself – now wear it. Or don’t.”
⚡️Cal and Mare’s dynamic and problems were so well-written. I loved everything about their relationship arc and Cal’s personal character arc. The thing is that Cal isn’t letting go of his crown for the majority of the book. He’s struggling between what he always wanted to have, what he was born to be – a king and what would be the right thing to do – rebuild Norta as a democracy, as otherwise they will always end up with a hierarchy. Nothing will change if he’s king, sure he tries to introduce a few reform to liberate the Reds, but in the end – especially with Anabel at his side – nothing would change. Cal doesn’t see that though, he can be pretty clueless and naive at times. It’s clear that it’s tearing him apart as well, since he loves Mare, but she won’t stand for him trying to in the crown again. Throughout the book Cal thinks that he has no choice but to honor his father and become king, even though Evangeline constantly challenged him. He doesn’t see reason and is even surprised when the Scarlet Guard won’t stand for his pursuit of the crown. Cal is far from perfect and not a born diplomat like Maven might be, but he’s not a bad guy either. He never wanted people to suffer and he even faces his fear of the water to fight of Iris. On the other side Mare tries her best to block him out, as she won’t be his red queen and she won’t stand for his crown. I adored that she stood up to him and wasn’t ready to throw her cause away for love. It was a hard decision, but she stood for it.
In the end both had a weak moment, but when the time came, Cal choose the right side. He chose to let go of his crown, after reading his mother’s diary and realizing that she had wanted him to be different. I loved that it was the dead queen who changed his mind and made him realize that he had a choice. I cheered when he finally made his choice and joined Mare. I also have to say that I loved how Mare said that she needed time to find herself and heal after this war and the long months of torture. Cal wasn’t too happy but in the end he accepted it and said that he would wait. I know not everyone was happy that their relationship was left a bit in the open, but It was exactly what I wat to see in YA. I want to see relationships that take time, people taking time to heal. I want a romance that isn’t 100% perfect by the end of the book. I want two people who respect each others wishes and work towards someday being able to have a happily ever after. And please give them both a bit more credit. Mare said that she would return and Cal is going to be there, I know it. He loves her and I cannot imagine a world where he doesn’t wait.
⚡️I adored Farley and Mare’s new solidary. I was always wanting them to be friends, but their relationship was nothing if not rocky. However, now they finally stuck together and I was so happy about that! There’s still a bit of fighting and teasing between them, but it’s more friendly than it was before. After Shade’s death it took a while, but now they have grown closer together and are allies and friends. Now that Farley also has Clara she is part of the family as well and I loved how devoted she was to her child. Farley totally slays btw, she was just pregnant but is already out in the battlefield and nothing can take her down. She’s strong, resilient and utterly loving when it comes to her daughter. I’m glad that she finally found some peace and I love that she didn’t choose the road of vengeance. Like Mare said, trying to end Ptolemus could end in her death and then Clara would be an orphan. I loved how the two of them stood up for each other and supported the other more than ever before!
“But we all still have the ability to choose, in the end.”
⚡️I gotta say that I was satisfied with all the battle and politics. It was actually very well done and totally did the title of the book justice. We are literally in a storm of war and I liked that the author showcased all the different conflicting motivations and goals of all the players on the board. We saw quite a few battles and explored the shaky coalitions that were built. The Scarlet Guard is only with them, because they planned to overthrow the monarchy in Norta all along. Both Farley and Mare want no king on the throne anymore, which conflicts with what Cal + his Silvers, their ‘allies’ want. Anabel – Cal’s grandmother – wants to do anything to see him on the throne and isn’t too happy about working together with Reds. She plays her own game with getting rid of Volo Samos – the king of the Rift who wants to remain in his own power and new throne – and bargaining with Iris. Now everyone pretty much wants to see Maven gone. Cal to take his throne, but Iris to expand the Lakelands. Her family plans to control all of Norta and other countries as well to rule as emperors. Therefore, they need the Scarlet Guard and Cal gone. So as you see there are a lot of conflicting goals and I loved the complexity of the politics! I also thought that the page count was totally justified. I never felt like the story dragged or gor boring.
“I am different from what my world demands I be. And I am not worse for it.”
⚡️Evie is struggling between duty and love & she totally slays. We saw how much Evangeline struggled with the expectations of her family in King’s Cage. She’s forced to be another pawn in her father’s game, a princess of the Rift who should marry Cal like she always had to. Momentarily Evie thought that she was free, but then it turned out that her father still intends to sell her off, not caring that she truly loves Elane. Meanwhile Elane is married to her brother, as a part of a deal so they could be together. But with Evangeline forced to be by Cal’s side and Ptolemus the future king f the Rift, Elane isn’t going to go with her. It was so heartbreaking to watch and her entire family made me very angry. It was a bit disturbing to see how Elane was regarded as a possession that would be used to breed new heirs, that’s super gross. And Volo Samos it the worst, both he and his wife have always treated their children horribly and regard them as their property that they can use how they like. Evie struggles a lot between what she is supposed to do and what she should do, especially when Davidson offers her a way out. She even tries to play matchmaker for Cal and Mare (that was SO funny), to get him to abandon his crown. I loved how she challenged Cal all the time. Evangeline just slays. In the end I was glad that she left her father for dead (he deserves nothing else) and escaped with her brother and Elane (+ Wren, the girl Ptolemus is actually in love with) to Piedmont where she now happily lives. I’m so pleased that she got her happy ending and can live happily ever after with her girlfriend! I also appreciated that Mare and her kind of made peace in the end.
⚡️Julian my love had more scenes. I love my precious Julian, he’s by far my favorite character of the books, as his story has always touched me. I highly recommend reading the “Queen Song” novella, as it offers a great insight in his past, how his sister became queen and was ended by Elara and how that destroyed both him and his great love Sara. In War Storm Julian gets a lot more scenes then he did in Glass Sword or even King’s Cage. I loved how we saw him supporting Cal and advising him. Their relationship was adorable and so pure, Cal is basically like a son to Julian and they love each other very dearly. Julian also competes against Anabel, who also influences him. They kind of work together when it comes to ending Volo and making a deal with Iris, but still they are very different. [Can we please talk about how he was forced to compel Volo to kill himself? That must have been horrible!] Julian might be Silver but he doesn’t think himself above Reds and he disagrees with a lot of Anabel’s opinions. Mare and him initially clash a bit, as she’s not too happy that Julian is supporting Cal’s way to the crown. It hurt me to see both of them fighting, because Julian has become a dear friend and mentor to her. In the end, they made peace and it warmed my heart! However, I wished we had seen more scenes with him AND Sara, because they are such a good couple!
⚡️It was so interesting seeing more of Iris + her country. Iris is another POV that we get and I liked learning more about her and the Lakelands, her home. I was pleasantly surprised that unlike Norta, the women rule the Lakelanders. It isn’t her dead father who had royal blood but her mother who is the rightful queen of the Lakelands and way stronger than he ever was. That’s another difference: both of Iris parents are nymphs, which makes her and her sister Tiora – who is also the heir to the crown – very powerful. I loved the dynamics between Iris, her sister and her mother, they all clearly cared about each other and wanted to see their country succeed. We also learn a lot about the Lakelands, like how they have bloodlines instead of high houses and that they have actually exterminated any whispers in their country. Then of course we see Iris struggle against Maven, who is treating her absolutely terribly. I loved how she managed to challenged him up a lot of times and managed to be collected, but Iris is also affected by her time in Norta. To her Maven is a bomb that could always go of, unpredictable and hard to control.
⚡️We got to see Piedmont and learn more about Davidson. I was delighted to see Piedmont as well and learn a bit more about its history. After all it’s the only democracy and a country where everyone lives together without any kind of blood hierarchy. Of course things are far from perfect as not all Silvers were happy with the developments and they have become raiders who continue to plague the country. Piedmont is a pretty new democracy too, so they still have a way to go. I also adored Davidson, their leader, he’s a Scarlet Guard ally and amazing. I love him so much, he’s a great character! Basically Davidson is super smart and very good at always appearing calm and collected. He’s definitely a good diplomat, but also isn’t going to let anyone make a fool of him. Davidson has got a sharp edge to him as well and he often spoke the truth. I also loved that we got to see him interact with his husband, they were such a cute couple!
“But I am only eighteen. I have time.”
⚡️The ending was perfect. I didn’t expect this ending. I expected there to be blood, I expected the author to kill a lot of beloved characters and totally tear out hearts out. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see that we got a happy ending. Sure some things were left in the open, but that makes sense. Nothing is ever perfect and a democracy isn’t instated overnight, especially after hundreds of year of a monarchy. I know that not everyone will like this ending and a lot of people might say that with so much War going on some major characters would have to die. I agree, but I don’t mind that no one died for once. I actually relished it. I was happy that for once my beloved characters were saved, that a Series I loved came to a close with a happy ending. Happy endings aren’t overrated, sometimes you need them, especially when so many other stories end in death and pain. Therefore, this ending was everything I could have wanted.
“I will go back.”
Have you read War Storm? Who is your favorite character? ⚡️