Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Book Review

 

Synopsis: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

Date Published: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Harper Teen

No. of Pages: 384

Date Read: February 7, 2016

Source: I bought my own copy.

 

REVIEW

A mixture of Hunger Games, X-men and a little bit of Selection. In short, something we already have seen before.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a year now. I bought it during its release date back in 2015, and since I am not one to join the hype I didn’t read it immediately. Yes I waited a whole year, the perfect timing I guess since Glass Sword comes out February 9, 2016 and Victoria Aveyard will be having a signing here in the Philippines.

So what did I think of it? Hmmm. The first 100 pages gave me the whole Hunger Games vibe and a little bit of The Selection series feel to it that I just couldn’t quite shake off. (I haven’t read the Red Rising by Pierce Brown, so I couldn’t really compare it to that, as most of the people do). I was imagining District 12 as the Stilts. The similarity is really palpable, what with Mare having a little sister just like Primrose, and Kilorn as Gale, one cannot just simply ignore it. There was also the feel of Cinder to it that I could not point exactly but it is there. Add the fact that there was also some XMen element to it. It was truly a mixture of every YA dystopian/fantasy novel rolled into one book, and I don’t know how to feel about it – the originality itself was compromised. Now I understand the mixed reviews, I was so ready to give it a lower rating, I was waiting for something to happen, something to capture my interest more, because I have to admit they are waning when I was past the 150 pages mark. I need something to hold on to, something MOREEEE! And then bam! It hit me like a wrecking ball! THAT TWIST!!! WHAT IS THAT TWIST!?? The twist won me over. Now that got my freaking attention!

I think it was the twist that saved the whole book, if it weren’t for that, the whole book will be another mediocre and forgettable one to add to the pile of all the YA books that tried to be different, but ultimately failed. It was also the reason I gave another star for it. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I knew there was going to be a twist, but I didn’t expect it to be what actually transpired. I knew from the start of the book that there was something shady that has been going on with the characters involved. There was this unease that I’ve been having towards the big reveal, I knew something was off, i’m just not sure which was it exactly, (I’m trying this to be as spoiler free as possible so forgive me for being vague), how everything was convenient and too good to be true, my suspicions came to fruition, just not what I had expected. I commend the element of surprise, I wish that was the case in the beginning, – surprising the readers one event after another, maybe then this book could have a solid approval amongst the book lovers.

Another issue was the ever present predicament of love triangles, a character torn between two people. Ugh, why can’t we just do away with it. Is it possible for YA not to have this kind of concept? LOVE TRIANGLES are the bane of my existence! Haha! or anyone for that matter, I never actually met someone who loves love triangles, so why do authors keep on incorporating it on their books? I just don’t understand. Anyway, this book even there was a love triangle, the romance was played out in a subtle way, not too overwhelming or annoying to a fault. For someone who is a sucker for romance, this is one of the few books that I was thankful that the romance was played into a minimum.

Next issue was the lack of back story about the war, that as what the book repeats all the time – the war that has been going on for centuries. I mean I wish there was more explanation as to how the war came about or as to why there was this kind of war and why it just doesn’t end. Why there was a division between the Reds and the Silvers. I have so many questions, that I wished someone had the answers to. The back story was not really well executed, if for anything it adds up to the confusion. But I would like to commend the foreshadowing, how the events led into the big reveal. How each event was linked to the end, I thought that was well played. I cannot discount such fact. I hoped the book was more polished. Plus it annoys me that there was so much repetition. For an instance, whenever Cal do something, Mare will say Cal, the soldier, doing something something, or Cal the prince, the general… and this will go on and on. We know, for crying out loud, we know, we know he is the prince, he is the soldier, he is a general. Or when Mare do something, she will say to herself, “the Red, the liar, or how lying came out so easily ahhh. That was tiring to read. It’s like every action needs justifying, needs explaining, I just don’t like that in a book.

Now let’s talk about Mare, our heroine, she’s not ultimately likable, I had issues with her, but these are more on the tolerable side of things. She can be annoying at times, and she can be mature if she wants to, so all things considered, she was still a good character, maybe I was looking for more depth. Cal on the other hand stayed consistent until the end, out of the all the confusing characters in this book his character was the one I liked most and the one I was constantly rooting for. He has a strong character yet there was soft side in him too. Now Maven, had more character growth, he was the wolf in sheep skin. Despite what he did, I liked his character, he was made to toy with the readers’ emotions, which was a plus for me.

If you are undecided to read this one, I say you do, give it a chance. Maybe you’ll like it, or not. The thing is, you should judge it for yourself. Reviews vary, people’s tastes are different from each other – always always lay judgment after you already know the whole thing, that pretty works in books and hey in life too! Haha

I understand that some people hate it with so much passion, while some loved it. I am kind of in the middle. I am not that impressed, but as I have said the twist was the rope that was thrown in to save the book from completely sinking down. So in the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed this one and will still be reading the next book. Maybe we can see some progress, book 1 will always be a make or break, and Im sure Victoria Aveyard put a lot of effort into making this book.

Rating: rating_4stars More like 3.5

“His lips are on mine, hard and warm and pressing. The touch is electrifying, but not like I’m used to. This isn’t a spark of destruction, but a spark of life. As much as I want to pull away, I just can’t do it. Cal is a cliff and I throw myself over the edge, not bothering to think of what it could do to us both. One day he’ll realize I’m his enemy, and all this will be a far-gone memory. But not yet.”
― Victoria AveyardRed Queen

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