February 12, 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard 
Publication date: Feb. 10, 2015
Publisher: Orion
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy
Source: Received ARC via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win? (Adapted goodreads.com)


The good
How to describe Red Queen? It's fantasy but a little modern. Simple premise but complicated world. In this society, people are divided into two groups – Reds and Silvers. The former are commoners, often sent to war if they don't secure an apprenticeship or job and the latter are their elite rulers who have special abilities (like manipulating fire). Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrows falls into the Red category. Not only that, she doesn't have a job, three of her brothers have already gone to war and she's doing her best to help her parents and sister before she's sent off as well. But chance circumstances land her in the Silver Palace to work until powerful abilities she didn't know she had manifest in front of the entire Silver court, including the King, Queen and two princes. Being both Red and Silver make Mare dangerous to the Silvers and she is trapped in their midst until she can figure out what to do next.

Mare's journey is that of a typical fantasy heroine. She's the underdog that no one expected and even though she's forced to play by Silver's rules, she's fighting the good fight. She tries to aid the growing group of Reds who want to start a revolution. At the same time she's learning to control her abilities, seeing the inner politics of the court and getting to know the two princes - Cal and Maven (love triangle alert!). To the author's credit, I thought I knew exactly where the story was going and it admittedly had it's predictable moments. But the last quarter of book took a few turns I didn't see coming at all!

(Major) Reservations
There were a lot of things I struggled with. Mainly the lack of world-building. It's an extensive society with all these different words for the individuals with varying abilities. These words are thrown at the reader casually and I found it confusing to keep track of them all. Then I had trouble connecting to Mare. She just seemed to be going through the emotions of what she should be doing and while I did sense some of her internal conflict, I didn't feel as if I ever got to truly know her character. Or even the other characters she interacts with. And there was this overall feeling of a potential love rectangle (and definite triangle) hanging over the story that had me thinking to myself.. please, please don't go there. It just lacked that certain something to truly hook me onto the series.

Do I recommend?
I thought the book was okay. It ended on a note that did make me curious for more and I think the second book will be the deciding factor for me as to whether or not I'll continue with the series. But it has gotten a lot of good reviews from other bloggers so if you're intrigued, check it out and let me know what you think.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

How do you feel when a main character has more than one choice romantically?
I am admittedly not a fan of love triangles and would prefer not to have one in a book. That said, it doesn't mean I can't appreciate when a main character has more than one romantic choice if it's done well

These are my pet peeves with love triangles: 
  • I hate when you can tell who "the one" is immediately and it's obvious the triangle is just a silly plot device. 
  • In trilogies, when she's with one guy in the first book and then the second book plays up the other guy so you end up liking him more but what's the point because by the final book, she's going to end up with guy #1 anyway. 
  • The story becomes all about her "big" romantic choice. 
But because I said I don't totally hate on triangles, here are the ones that I think have been done well:
  • The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  • Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
  • The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4 comments:

  1. Agh, I don't know if I should read this book anymore haha! World building is so important to me... And I'm not sure I like the idea of a love rectangle LOL. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

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  2. I do not love triangles in any sense. There are rare times where it can be done well, but overall, I'm much more of a slow burn romance kind of gal. I like to see my characters really fall for one another without an unnecessary third party. It makes me feel like the relationship isn't as real when they're torn between two people.

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  3. The Infernal Devices has an AMAZING love triangle. In my eyes nothing can compare to that!

    I personally really enjoyed this book. The last quarter was absolutely crazy though! :) Nice review <33

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  4. I do appreciate that we both feel the same way about Red Queen. I definitely see it having such a strong appeal to a lot of readers, but there were a lot of things that personally didn't work well for me. Still, because of the potential I sense, I'm probably going to be giving the second book a shot - and deciding how I feel afterwards!

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