[ARC Review] The Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1

Publication Date: February 10th, 2015

Publisher: Orion

Number of Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy

Source: Gifted

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


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?


Review

I feel disappointed.

This book reminded me a little bit of The Ring & the Crown in the way that freaking NOTHING is ever set up the way you expect it. In other words, there is a giant plot twist at the end which may or may not make any sense depending on if you were expecting it or not.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t expecting it. But it was partially because I was kind of bored by the book.

Oh and before I forget, I’ll mention that it reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games.

(Spoilers. Highlight to read.) There was a training arena where Mare went to hone in on her abilities and the intense fighting within the setting reminded me a lot of the high expectations and stakes that even the training sessions held within the Hunger Games. Later, the novel ends with Mare and Cal on a train, where they had been saved from the arena. Reminded me of the train scene at the end of The Hunger Games and the dramatic save at the end of Catching Fire. Of course these weren’t bad things, just small moments that reminded me of that particular series.

There were quite a few problems that really disappointed me.

Romance. The romance was abysmal. There were like five different possible love interests, none of which had chemistry with the main character. There’s the childhood friend, the forbidden love, the nice guy, etc. etc. etc. And I didn’t like any of them. There is no foreshadowing and no way to determine who Mare might end up with. I mean, you could kind of guess if you followed common YA trends but I was kinda rooting for her to leave the series single. I said I didn’t like cheating right? Well I really don’t care about it at all in this novel mainly because there are no nice couples and there isn’t any realistic reaction from the characters.

Characters. Although the romance might have been a complete bust, I did think that the characters were developed fairly. The protagonist, Mare, is developed very well. Her faults and strengths are both explored. She’s a really snarky character and her sarcasm was a great addition to the book. I loved her as a character. However, other characters were kind of flat. The princes are kind of boring and flat. Alas, probably the reason I didn’t think they were hotties that would sweep Mare off her feet. Cal was… meh. And Mavin was even more meh. I think I’ll root for Kilorn, the childhood friend. Because at least there’s a good reason that his personality isn’t as developed.

Worldbuilding. Sort of there but also kind of not there. I heard it reminded a lot of readers of Red Rising but I haven’t read it so I can’t comment on that. But for me, I really couldn’t imagine it in my head at all.

Writing. I hated the writing in this book. It was, by far, my least favorite part of the whole novel. It was kind of choppy and didn’t allow me to really enjoy the book. The world of the book never came to life for me. And what really annoyed me was the overdescribing. I don’t mean the settings. I mean the way that every symbol, theme, plan, and emotion was TOLD to us. Seriously. In the first chapter, the Red/Silver blood social classes are described in great detail WITH their themes and underlying meanings. Then we are robbed of the ability to analyze character actions to determine an emotion. It takes away suspense and makes everything kind of less interesting. It bugged me in the beginning and it still bugged me in the end.

Stuff I liked.

So far the review makes it sound like I really hated the novel but the truth is that I didn’t. On the contrary I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I acknowledge all of the problems that the book had, but as a whole, I liked it a lot. I’m hoping that some of the issues that Red Queen faced might be fixed in the sequel, which by the way, I will read.

As I mentioned above, Mare is a really likable narrator. Although she might sound kind of pretentious at times, her snark and sarcasm was substantially entertaining.

I loved where the story was going. Well most of it at least. (Spoiler. Highlight to read.) I like the idea that they would have to compete with Mavin to get to the powerful Silver and Red powered people. It brought the nonexistent suspense up by quite a bit.

3.5/5 Stars

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