Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult
Series Status: Red Queen #1
Page Count: 383
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 …
Hype, hype, and MORE hype, galore!! If you guys haven’t heard of this book yet, you must’ve been living under a rock, for this book has been EVERYWHERE since it’s release. No joke. So naturally, my interest was piqued! I had meant to read this when it was released, but somehow never got around to it until September last year. Oops! Better late than never, right? The sequel to this is being released this February, so I figured I should probably do my review on the first book before I read it. 😉 So without further ado, my review on Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard!
Okay, so, I’m going to be trying out a kind of mixed reviewing style for this one: a list and my rambles, all in one! If you’re looking for the lowdown, and most general form of the things I liked/disliked, just reading the list below should suit you. I have a lot of thoughts on this—both positive and negative, so just bear with me! Feel free to skip to the overall part if you want—I won’t mind, LOL. Even I can admit this review is really long! XD
Two words; déja vue. Because yes, I won’t lie, there are indeed several elements in this book which have been seen and used before in other books. If you’ve read The Hunger Games or The Selection, when reading this book, you could probably notice the similarities. I’ve also seen comparisons to Red Rising, but as I have not read that yet, I can’t really judge.
BUT I DIGRESS.
Did the familiar tropes used in this book bother ME, personally? Well, I still enjoyed the book, but I must admit that I had been hoping RQ would manage to stand out on its own, be unique under the mesh of common tropes. From that perspective, my expectations weren’t completely fulfilled.
Having said that, I did still thoroughly enjoy the world of Red Queen. Although perhaps not fully unique in terms of themes and messages (a battle between social standings of rich and poor, tension, threat of rebellion, etc.) Red Queen had a premise/concept that I loved; the idea of Reds and Silvers. I do wish there was more backstory included about them, but for now, I’m hoping some unanswered questions will be answered in the next book.
As for the world-building, it isn’t in-your-face obvious, I’ll give you that. It does go at more of slower pace, and through various descriptions and events, you get the gist of it. I really enjoyed it! In addition to that, the plot as a whole was great to read. Plot twists, suspense, intrigue. Even though the pacing can be slow at times (especially the beginning), it really built up the to final moments of the story.
Anyone can betray anyone.
Speaking of plot twists and final moments, I must mention this: The final plot twist was mind-blowing—even though now looking back I can see the signs. It’s funny, because while reading, there was this part where I was thinking “What if the bad guy ends up being [name of bad guy which I will not write for sake of no spoilers]?” And I dismissed it–probably ’cause I didn’t want to believe it. But then I got to the end and I was kind of in a state of shock! Like noooooooo…!
Okay, NOW I’m definitely rambling. You get what I’m saying here though, right? Moving on to…
I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.
In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.
The characters are definitely one of the hit or miss parts of Red Queen. You either like the characters, or you don’t. I, for one, have to say that I liked them well enough, for the most part.
Let’s start with the good, shall we? I know several readers complained about Mare, but I must say that I found her to be a pretty good character. She has the typical characteristics of most female protagonists these days; strong, reckless and sassy, yes, but she still managed to be a bit realistic and someone I could root for. She made some terrible decisions at times, and her emotions were all over the place in several spots, but at the end of the day, she was a good character.
BUT. She didn’t really go through any major development by the end of the novel… so don’t go in expecting some major changes! I also wasn’t a huge fan of her flitting and bipolar-like feelings over the love interests in this book. One minute she’s trying to convince herself the guy is good, the other minute she’s 100% sure he’s evil. Make up your mind!! It’s what caused me the most trouble, trying to figure out what MY opinion was. Lol.
Apart from her, there’s of course, the two princes; Cal and Maven. I have to say I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cal for a pretty long time throughout the story… although I’m not sure whether that’s because of his character, Mare’s feelings or just MY feelings on Maven clouding my opinion. 😉 I don’t know, I respect him and he was fine and everything, but he just didn’t sit right with me for a good chunk of the story.
Maven, on the other hand, I found to be so interesting! I suppose I liked him more than Cal for a lot of the story, but that’s not just it. His character just seems so layered and complex! I could empathize with him, yet I could… gah, it’s hard to express how I feel without giving away spoilers. XD Let’s just leave it at the fact that he’s layered and a very intriguing character!
A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they’ve written a tragedy.
Also, an important fact you might want to note before entering the realm of this book; There IS a love triangle—though it’s more of a love rectangle or a everyone-loves-Mare thing. To be honest it’s not that aspect of it that bothered me the most; it’s more the fact that Mare’s feelings were so inconsistent sometimes, it just didn’t feel like there was enough depth to all the relationships. But maybe that’s just me. One good thing though, is that the romance didn’t FULLY dominate the plot. Yes, it did take up a good part of it, but it’s not the extent of what this book’s all about! (To me, anyway. I know some people feel differently.)
The sparks are gone, replaced by fierce, ugly tears that track down my face. Thunder rumbles somewhere far off and the air is warm. But the humid temperature is gone. The heat has broken and summer will soon be over. Time is passing. My life is moving on, no matter how much I want it to stay the same.
Despite being simple and straight-forward, Victoria Aveyard’s writing managed to really hook me in. I loved how vivid and descriptive the style was, without being too over-the-top. Sometimes simplicity beats flowery prose, you know? The narration, everything, was suited to the mood of the story and was super easy to read.
However, there is a little thing that perhaps won’t bother everyone, but did occasionally get on my nerves. At times, there was a bit too much repetition. I understand now that it’s to emphasize and foreshadow, in a way, of what was to come, but it still was a tad bothersome. I don’t know. Personal preference, I guess.
Red Queen, although not without flaws, is still an entertaining novel. Depending on your taste, if you like fantasy and/or dystopian novels, this one is a good pick for you! Here’s a little recap of what you should know and how I felt about this book:
- This book won’t be the most original one out there. Readers of The Hunger Games, The Selection and/or (supposedly) Red Rising might enjoy this book for the similarities—or might dislike this book because of the similarities. It kind of depends on your personal taste!
- The plot is relatively entertaining (though it is unnecessarily dragged out at times). Despite having similar elements to other storylines, the plot in Red Queen is quite intriguing and suspenseful to read! The world of Red and Silver was interesting and a cool concept to read about—though don’t expect the best backstory for it.
- Characters like Mare, Cal and/or Maven are subjected to personal preference, but I liked them okay. Mare is a strong, albeit reckless and naive at times, female character who I was able to root for despite the reasons why I might’ve been tempted not to.
- The writing style is simple but engaging and descriptive. I had no problem with the writing in this book! It was easy to read and suited the story. There was a bit too much repetition of words and expressions sometimes, but I credit that problem more to my own self and the plot.
Funny, how all that rambling that I did before the overall part was summed up so easily here! LOL.
So, the real question here that I’m sure you’re all wondering: Should you read it? From a critical view, I’ll admit this isn’t the best book, but from an entertainment perspective, it definitely isn’t the worst book out there–it’s quite good, actually! If you’ve taken into account all the above info, and think it’s a good fit for you, I don’t see why you shouldn’t read Red Queen! If you go in with lowered expectations, you should be fine. (Or so I hope!) I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on Glass Sword, the sequel, if only to see what will happen next! ❤
Now, it’s time to talk! What did you think of Red Queen? What parts did you like/dislike the most? Also; how do you feel about having themes and tropes from other books being included in another book? Are you planning on continuing the series, or are you quitting? Do you want to read this book? Let me know whatever thoughts you may have below!
Thank you for reading (even if you didn’t read the whole thing :P) and Happy Monday!