Cruel Crown

As my reading slump continues, I decided to tackle a few of the short stories I had in my TBR pile and I ended up with Cruel Crown, a Victoria Aveyard short story collection from the universe of Red Queen. I've said before that I enjoy short story collections because I feel they give more depth to both the world and the characters and it's always fun to learn more about a story that you like.

Cruel Crown is actually made up of two short stories, Queen Song and Steel Scars. In the first story, we meet Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias and mother to Cal. Her family have a nice name but little money to it and in her teenage years, Coriane is forced to move away from her beloved childhood home and to the capital. Once there she befriends the then-prince, Tiberias, and a romance sparks between the two. Soon they're married and Coriane is crowned queen, a title she never really wanted but one she got when she married the man she loved. However, despite being queen, Coriane is afraid something will happen to her and she worries about her new-born son. Through her diary, Coriane tells the story of how she came to this point and how she now fears that she will lose everything.

Steel Scars is the backstory of Farley and how she travelled through Norta, planting seeds for an uprising and in search of people to join in on the rebellion. In this short story the reader gets a deep insight in many of the things Farley was up to before Red Queen and what a big part Mare Barrow really plays in the rebellion. A familiar character makes an appearance as well, giving more depth to his personality and backstory while adding both a scoop of mystery, intrigue and romance to the story.

These two short stories are very different but fit well with the rest of the series. Queen Coriane is a character that has been mentioned many times in the books and so it was nice to meet her and get a glimpse of her story. Farley is a big part of the series but she shows that the rebellion in Norta wasn’t an accident but rather the goal from years and years of hard work. I liked both stories but thought Queen Song was better. It was sensitive, beautiful and heart-breaking while Steel Scars was packed with action and fights. It’s two great short stories for anyone who likes Aveyard’s world and the Red Queen books.