February 26, 2015

Review ~ Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard


Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had.

Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

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Graceling meets The Selection? More like Red Rising in the world of Graceling, and some of the characters are from a lot of different YA books.

There is no The Selection bit in this novel, except the royalties and the choosing for the next queen. However, where the prince in The Selection is allowed to take his own decisions into consideration, that is not the case in Red Queen, not at all. The next queen is already chosen the crown prince, even before the Queenstrial has begun. There really is more Red Rising in here than The Selection. I normally don’t compare books by their similarities, but I just can’t help it with this one.

I didn’t feel that invested in the characters, but Mare Barrow has an interesting mind. I like the way Victoria Aveyard wrote Mare, though when it came to the other characters, not so much. Mare’s “voice” has a poetic feel to it in the monologue. I enjoyed reading her thoughts, which gives off a dark vibe. I didn’t connect with the other characters, and most of them blurred into each other until I cannot see the differences in them at all.

The plot was appealing and intriguing, but I don’t know what to feel about it. I can say it’s good, but it lacks the action and intensity I am looking for. Let me tell you that this book did not make me smile even once, and the dark vibe in everything that’s happening built my anticipation for what’s coming next. But it just keeps building and the only action I saw—which is in the climax, about more or less ten pages—is not enough to do that anticipation justice. It felt like I was anticipating an exciting, adrenaline-filled hundred-foot drop but instead the drop was only five feet. That was the only disappointing thing in this book for me, but it feels like one too many.

The thing I hate the most about a book series is the questions it leaves me. I have so many, and I can’t complain that they’re unanswered because there are sequels that have yet to come and those answers might be in there. I hate it that I can’t rant in my reviews about the plot holes and confusing things—like that thing with Shade—because it might be deliberate and I might see why in the coming sequels. I hate it that I have to wait years before I can complain about what I think are plot holes.

The thing I liked best in here is the twists and turns of events, which totally deceived me. I love it that Aveyard switched the readers’ focus in other things so we cannot think much about the coming twists, which then made it unexpected. I love it that she wrote in the way that the readers will think what she wants us to think, so we will all be surprised when she drops the bomb. I love it that even though I felt like Red Queen is not too action-packed and intense for my taste, I still like it because the way Victoria Aveyard wrote it is beautiful and it didn’t give me a choice but to like it.

I would have liked to see more back-story about the Reds and Silvers and their abilities and the war—more than the more or less five pages of explanation we were given. This books is all about moving forward and thinking of the future, like the history matters very little. I also did not like that.

Red Queen felt like a mix of several different YA books, but it has its own charm that will hook you into the story and never let go even after you’ve turned the last page. It’s a novel where you will count every day left before the sequel comes out. It’s a book that demands to be read.

~ Zee


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