Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen (Book 1)
Paperback: 416 pages
Graceling meets TheSelection 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 set a goal for myself in 2016 to branch out from my reading comfort zone. This is going to be my year of trying new genres and experiencing new types of books that I would never otherwise read. I have never ventured far into the realms of the Young Adult or Fantasy genres. Of course I have read the most popular series like Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Maze Runner. I felt compelled to read them and see what all the fuss was about. Aside from Harry Potter, which I was enamored with, the rest were just “ok” for me. For the most part, I was entertained enough with these stories to finish the series, but not so much that I can say I “loved” these books. Unfortunately, Red Queen followed suit and came up short for me.
Now, before all the Red Queen fans team up and try to run me out of town, I only ask that you read the ENTIRE review before you comment about how wrong I am about this book. I am going to start with what I did not like about the book, then move to what I did enjoy about it. Stay with me here.
Honestly, my biggest hang up about this book was not being able to get past all the parallels with The Hunger Games… arena fights, love triangle (square?), unfair class system, narcissistic tendencies of the upper class, government oppression of lower class, uprising of oppressed lower class, government using lower class girl to pacify the uprising, the “rebels” using that same girl as the face of their rebellion, etc etc. I understand that lots of books have these common elements, but Red Queen was just too comparable. Had there not been so many similarities, my opinion of this book would have drastically improved.
Another issue I had was with the main characters. I never felt like I emotionally connected with any of them. Mare, the lead female character, was self-centered and immature. It made it very hard to root for her. Actually, now that I think of it, I liked the supporting characters BETTER than the main characters. Gisa, Lucas, Julian, and Farley, just to name a few. The love triangle (square?) was underdeveloped and lacking. I never felt the connection between Mare or any of her love interests.
I did however think the character of Queen Elara was well written and believable. Even though the evil step-mother thing is a little cliché, I thought Elara was a loathsome protagonist. I enjoyed the snarky banter between Elara and Mare.
The plot twist was this book’s saving grace for me. I saw it coming to an extent with all the foreshadowing the author gave us, however I never imagined it was going to be that intense. Kudos to Aveyard for keeping me on my toes.
Here is the bottom line, had this novel had a little more originality and better character development, Aveyard would have knocked it out of the park. She 100% has the potential to be great. I am chalking up Red Queen’s shortcomings to her being a new writer and this being her debut novel. She is a captivating storyteller and a respectable writer, she just needs to fine tune a few things.
“You believe you are the masters of the world, but your reign as kings and gods is at an end. Until you recognize us as human, as equal, the fight will be at your door. Not on a battlefield but in your cities. In your streets. In your homes. You don’t see us, and so we are everywhere” Her voice hums with authority and poise. “And we will rise up, Red as the dawn.”
Right there. Potential. I will be following Aveyard’s career, as I am sure she will only continue to grow as an author.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
What did you think about Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen? Will you be reading the other books in the series? Comment and let me know your thoughts 🙂
About the Author
Victoria Aveyard splits her time between her hometown East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. After graduating with a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California, she decided to try her hand at writing a novel. Her debut RED QUEEN came out of the terrifying, unemployed year after college.