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The Red Queen

  • Book

Who’s ready to sit on the Broken Throne?

Victoria Aveyard may have wrapped up her Red Queen series in explosive fashion last year with the novel War Storm, but for fans eager to get back into the world, the author has more in store. On May 7, her new book Broken Throne will hit shelves, featuring three original novella-length stories and other exclusive new content in the form of maps, bonus scenes, and more, as well as two previously published Red Queen novellas.

Aveyard has shared an exclusive preview of Broken Throne with EW. Above, you can watch the riveting trailer which asks, “What color does your blood run?” And below, we have an exclusive excerpt from one of the new stories, “Iron Heart.” Without revealing too much, it should satisfy longtime fans of the Red Queen franchise. Broken Throne is available for pre-order.

Victoria Aveyard author photo credit Stephanie Girard Broken Thrones by Victoria Aveyard CR: HarperCollins
Credit: Stephanie Girard; HarperCollins

Excerpt from Broken Throne, by Victoria Aveyard

Princess Evangeline. Lady of House Samos. Daughter of Volo and Larentia.

I am none of those things anymore. Not after today. I should be glad—I should be relieved to be rid of the name and the life my parents gave me. And parts of me are. But the rest of me can’t help but be reminded of what I traded away to live as who I am now. What I betrayed. What I killed. What I lost forever.

“Will you miss it?” Carmadon asks softly, taking a step forward. I shift as he moves, keeping my distance.

My eyes crack back to his, blazing and furious. A challenge and a shield. “Titles and crowns mean nothing here. There won’t be anything to miss.”

But I feel the absence like a hole in me. I’ve felt it every day for weeks, since I set foot on that underground train, put Archeon behind me, and abandoned my parents to whatever fate waited for them. My blood runs cold. I know what happened. I wasn’t there, but I know. And the thought of my father, terrible as he was, walking off the bridge, his body broken and smashed apart below . . . I can’t stand it. I hate it. I wish I never knew.

“You should be going with Ptolemus.” Carmadon is undeterred by my emotional storm, ignoring it as kindly as he can. “It’s the best way to end this.”

Behind me, his vines slither back over the grass, curling over one another. I turn with my old skill, loosing the necklace from my throat. It slices the thickest vine in two with a satisfying hiss before wrapping around my neck again.

“Are you going to make me?” I ask, doing all I can to keep my voice in check. I’ve already made my decision. Will no one honor that? “Will the premier?”

“No, Evangeline,” he says quickly. “But you know I’m right. Your brother is abdicating his crown, and you should be with him when he does.”

My lip curls. “He can speak without me holding his hand.”

“I know that. But I mean, when he abdicates, the Kingdom of the Rift passes to you.”

Even a Silver child knows that. It’s painfully obvious. Everyone knows the laws of succession in my old country, or at least what they were. Men first, and when none are left, the crown passes to a daughter. A person born to be a pawn becomes the ruler of the board.

I would be a liar if I said I had not thought about it. In the dark, in the quiet moments, in the space between lying awake and falling asleep. No one could stop a ruling queen from living how she wished, with whoever she liked.

A queen of a Silver kingdom, and all that entails. The thought pricks at me, drawing a blossom of shame. Once, the sensation was unfamiliar. Now I feel it most days. It’s difficult not to, in a country like this, compared to the country I came from, the country I would have maintained.

“That’s what the letter is for,” I mutter. Just a few sentences, enough to cut me out of the life I was meant to live.

“That’s hardly the same. It won’t carry the weight your voice will.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this argument. From Carmadon or from Premier Davidson. Even Ptolemus hinted that my presence would be helpful. And Elane did as well. She has a mind for these kinds of things. “It must be difficult, to give up—”

I cut him off, tired of this conversation. “I don’t want that place,” I almost shout, my voice too forceful, too loud. “I don’t want any of it anymore.”

Not weighed against what I have now. It’s not worth the trade. But still—I was raised to that place. To Ridge House, to the scarring valleys of the Rift. Shadow and tree and river. Quarries of iron, coal mines. A beautiful home I will never forget. And no matter how much I love Elane, how much I value being who I am, it’s a difficult life to forget.

“I’m not going back.”

“Fine,” he replies, teeth clenched. “Then you can tell Ptolemus that in person. You can stand and watch him leave. Have some spine, Evangeline,” he adds, looking me up and down with a withering glance. In spite of myself and my pride, I feel exposed beneath his judgment. Carmadon is like me, and deep down, I value his opinion. “You can live your own life here, so live it proudly.”

Rage quickly replaces any embarrassment in me. It licks up like flame, feeding my dogged resolve. I almost sit back down again, petulant as a child.

But he’s right.

“Thank you for your advice, my lord Carmadon,” I hiss, dropping into a curtsy even lower than his bow. When I rise, my fingers dance, sending a ring sailing through the trees. It returns in a blink, bringing a small, red apple directly to my palm.

Carmadon doesn’t move. “That isn’t ripe,” he says, his voice tinged with amusement.

I take the largest bite I can as I walk away, ignoring the bitter taste.

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