After many recommendations and umm-ing and ah-ing about reading this series, I finally decided to give it a go. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard explores a rather unique dystopian future with more backstabbing than most fantasy books and some rather interesting characters. However, despite glowing reviews from some, there was something that just didn’t click.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
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.
Red Queen seems to be one of those books that people either love completely or hate vehemently. Me? I seem to be in the very minor category that doesn’t love or hate it but is still sitting on the fence. I have actually tried to read this book once before but only got about half way through before I stopped (Luckily the second attempt at reading it was more successful). Both times I was rather hesitant going into this book because of the massive hype around the series but ultimately found that the book, while not super worthy of the overwhelming hype around it in my opinion, was still quite a good read.
Segregated population? Oppression? Rebels blowing stuff up? Have I read this book before? The answer is yes… sort of. Like many futuristic dystopian books, Red Queen has many similarities to other popular YA novels in the same genre. Despite these similarities however, I actually rather enjoyed Aveyard’s use of the common and popular plot elements. Even with the similarities, Red Queen has made those recycled ideas its own and definitely stands out in the crowd. One issue I would have liked explained in more depth would be how the society in the book came to be separated into Reds and Silvers instead of simply being told that that is the way the world is now and not questioning why.
I must admit that I had a rather love/hate relationship with many of the characters. While I think that Mare was a fantastic protagonist, with her feistiness and sass, there were times when her actions and reactions to events annoyed me greatly. I hated HATED S/He Who Shall Not Be Named from the start; I just want to put that out there. I didn’t like them, I didn’t trust them, and I definitely wasn’t buying that innocent act one bit. Cal, on the other hand, made me want to swoon. He is such a darling and is always trying to do what he thinks is right (If you haven’t figured it out, Cal is my favourite character).
I must admit that I found the starting of the book a bit slow. Instead of jumping into the major action, there is quite a bit of world building before things start to pick up. As I said earlier, there were quite a number of similarities between this book and other YA dystopian novels and some of the plot twists were a bit predictable. Even so, I think that Victoria is a very talented writer and even though some parts felt rushed and others were a bit slow, I am optimistic that the “first novel” mistakes that were made in this book will be corrected in her other works.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has got to be one of the most hyped up books in the last few years. Unfortunately, while a excellent debut, the book did not live up to expectations I had. However, with the mostly original concept and some definitely enjoyable characters, I believe that the series should, hopefully, get better and better as Victoria finds her stride and perfects her craft.