Review: Red Queen

3.26.2015
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10th, 2015 by HarperTeen
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//Indiebound//

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
I had to think long and hard before deciding how I feel about this book, and even now, I'm still not entirely sure if I loved it or not.

Red Queen is not a very unique book. As many have stated, it has several obvious elements from other YA dystopians. I was able to get over this fairly easily, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't. I very much liked the idea of being separated by blood color, though, and stark contrast between the way Reds and Silvers live easily parallels our own world.

"Their methods are your own fault. You make us work, you make us bleed, you make us die for your wars and factories and the little comforts you don't even notice, all because we are different. How can you expect us to let that stand?"

The romance was by far the weakest part for me. I see it as rectangular, (though that changes by the end of the book) and I don't feel the chemistry with any of them. It felt like a huge waste of my time and I struggled not to skim these parts. I do appreciate that Mare never gets extremely lovey-dovey, so to speak, but that's honestly the only upside in the romance aspect. I think it's quite obvious what direction it will go in the future, with Kilorn making some grand revelation or gesture (possibly sacrificing his life for Mare? I could totally see this happening. Not that I want it to. But it feels authentic to the story so far for me), but of course Mare will fall in love with Cal. If this isn't how it turns out, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

"You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won't lead you anywhere you want to go."

Aveyard certainly knows how to write a fight scene. There were plenty of them, and I found these to be the most exciting parts. Described in vivid detail, I never struggled to understand what was happening or to imagine it myself. Her writing conjures images of sparks and twisted metal, shining silver blood, Mare's fear and rage and cold acceptance whenever she's put in the ring and forced to battle against Silvers who have been trained to use their abilities for years. I can only imagine what's in store for the rest of the series.

"You can talk your people back into their chains."

There are plenty of intriguing secondary characters in Red Queen. Farley, a member of the Red Guard, Kilorn, Mare's childhood best friend, Shade and Gisa and the rest of Mare's family, and others in the palace that Mare meets along the way. Each of them has their own story, and I appreciate that we got a glimpse into several of them. I hope that more will be revealed in the next book; I think there's a lot of history there to see.

"Anyone can betray anyone." 

Mare herself, though not the greatest narrator on the planet, kept me hooked. She's angry at the way her world works - and rightfully so. She's just discovering what a horrible place it really is while discovering powers she certainly shouldn't have. I can tell she's going to become a strong leader, and I think there's plenty of potential for some great character development there.

Overall: There are a lot of things I didn't particularly love about Red Queen, but because my gut instinct is to give it 4 stars, that's exactly what I'm going to do. The plot is exciting, there's a twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming, and the potential for the rest of the series is INCREDIBLE. I can't wait to see what kind of damage Mare can really do. 4 stars. 


6 comments on "Review: Red Queen"
  1. I understand your frustrations in some aspects! The romance was a wee bit strange to me as well... we had Cal, his brother, and Kilorn and it was weird having almost every bachelor out there interested in the MC. Yes, the twist by the middle was quite unexpected, but even then, his 180 degree change of personality felt weird o_O but all in all, I loved the writing, I loved the anger and the agony that were apparent in Mare's voice, and the world is amazing!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't stand when everyone and their mother seems to be interested in the MC. And I agree, the anger throughout the book was just always there, even just when it was subtle, and I loved that!

      Delete
  2. I've heard a lot about this book, though I have to admit that it's not exactly something that I'm sure I'll enjoy. It does sound good, but I'm always ALWAYS put off by badly-done romance. I really dislike when the MC gets all mushy and gushy, but if Mare doesn't get that way, I think I'll be alright. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that was definitely the upside to the romance. I absolutely hate it when that happens!

      Delete
  3. I realise you're getting many comments from me Zoey, but how have I not found your blog before?! It's so so good, as are you! Anyway, I personally loved Red Queen, it surprised me so much, and I tend to avoid hyped, loved books in the community, so that *could* be why I didn't see much similarity between that and other books out there, guess I'm just lucky, but yes to everything else! The characters, the writing, and scenes, the power, the emotions, I quite liked the romance aspects too, I want to fangirl, but also tell you this is a great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts!<3

    Amanda - Beautiful Bookish Butterflies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meanwhile, I go after every hyped book there is! Usually. I always want to know what it is that makes everyone love them. I definitely end up disappointed a lot, but then I don't spend all my time wondering what the book is like!

      Delete

3.26.2015

Review: Red Queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10th, 2015 by HarperTeen
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//Indiebound//

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
I had to think long and hard before deciding how I feel about this book, and even now, I'm still not entirely sure if I loved it or not.

Red Queen is not a very unique book. As many have stated, it has several obvious elements from other YA dystopians. I was able to get over this fairly easily, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't. I very much liked the idea of being separated by blood color, though, and stark contrast between the way Reds and Silvers live easily parallels our own world.

"Their methods are your own fault. You make us work, you make us bleed, you make us die for your wars and factories and the little comforts you don't even notice, all because we are different. How can you expect us to let that stand?"

The romance was by far the weakest part for me. I see it as rectangular, (though that changes by the end of the book) and I don't feel the chemistry with any of them. It felt like a huge waste of my time and I struggled not to skim these parts. I do appreciate that Mare never gets extremely lovey-dovey, so to speak, but that's honestly the only upside in the romance aspect. I think it's quite obvious what direction it will go in the future, with Kilorn making some grand revelation or gesture (possibly sacrificing his life for Mare? I could totally see this happening. Not that I want it to. But it feels authentic to the story so far for me), but of course Mare will fall in love with Cal. If this isn't how it turns out, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

"You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won't lead you anywhere you want to go."

Aveyard certainly knows how to write a fight scene. There were plenty of them, and I found these to be the most exciting parts. Described in vivid detail, I never struggled to understand what was happening or to imagine it myself. Her writing conjures images of sparks and twisted metal, shining silver blood, Mare's fear and rage and cold acceptance whenever she's put in the ring and forced to battle against Silvers who have been trained to use their abilities for years. I can only imagine what's in store for the rest of the series.

"You can talk your people back into their chains."

There are plenty of intriguing secondary characters in Red Queen. Farley, a member of the Red Guard, Kilorn, Mare's childhood best friend, Shade and Gisa and the rest of Mare's family, and others in the palace that Mare meets along the way. Each of them has their own story, and I appreciate that we got a glimpse into several of them. I hope that more will be revealed in the next book; I think there's a lot of history there to see.

"Anyone can betray anyone." 

Mare herself, though not the greatest narrator on the planet, kept me hooked. She's angry at the way her world works - and rightfully so. She's just discovering what a horrible place it really is while discovering powers she certainly shouldn't have. I can tell she's going to become a strong leader, and I think there's plenty of potential for some great character development there.

Overall: There are a lot of things I didn't particularly love about Red Queen, but because my gut instinct is to give it 4 stars, that's exactly what I'm going to do. The plot is exciting, there's a twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming, and the potential for the rest of the series is INCREDIBLE. I can't wait to see what kind of damage Mare can really do. 4 stars. 


6 comments:

  1. I understand your frustrations in some aspects! The romance was a wee bit strange to me as well... we had Cal, his brother, and Kilorn and it was weird having almost every bachelor out there interested in the MC. Yes, the twist by the middle was quite unexpected, but even then, his 180 degree change of personality felt weird o_O but all in all, I loved the writing, I loved the anger and the agony that were apparent in Mare's voice, and the world is amazing!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't stand when everyone and their mother seems to be interested in the MC. And I agree, the anger throughout the book was just always there, even just when it was subtle, and I loved that!

      Delete
  2. I've heard a lot about this book, though I have to admit that it's not exactly something that I'm sure I'll enjoy. It does sound good, but I'm always ALWAYS put off by badly-done romance. I really dislike when the MC gets all mushy and gushy, but if Mare doesn't get that way, I think I'll be alright. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that was definitely the upside to the romance. I absolutely hate it when that happens!

      Delete
  3. I realise you're getting many comments from me Zoey, but how have I not found your blog before?! It's so so good, as are you! Anyway, I personally loved Red Queen, it surprised me so much, and I tend to avoid hyped, loved books in the community, so that *could* be why I didn't see much similarity between that and other books out there, guess I'm just lucky, but yes to everything else! The characters, the writing, and scenes, the power, the emotions, I quite liked the romance aspects too, I want to fangirl, but also tell you this is a great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts!<3

    Amanda - Beautiful Bookish Butterflies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meanwhile, I go after every hyped book there is! Usually. I always want to know what it is that makes everyone love them. I definitely end up disappointed a lot, but then I don't spend all my time wondering what the book is like!

      Delete