Book Review: Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard)

Publisher: Orion

Pages: 383

Release Date: February 10th 2015

Summary (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…

Review:

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book but a close friend said it was awesome so I had to give it a go.

I did have my problems with it but I think overall I really enjoyed the read. I like the complicated relationships of the court and the backstabbing and double crossing.

In Red Queen the world is split into two types of people: the ordinary ones with red blood and the ones with silver blood and special powers. Except for Mare, who somehow has red blood and special powers. The idea made me think of a kind of reverse X-Men: in X-Men the people with special powers are feared and shunned, while in Red Queen they rule the world.

Mare was an interesting protagonist. Although she had that typical ‘special girl’ thing going on, which can be annoying, she also had flaws that made her more interesting. I love a character that isn’t always easy to like. Mare lied and used people to her advantage, and then seemed surprised when they were annoyed at her or that had repercussions. But I understood her motivations and I still found myself rooting for her.

There were a lot of plot twists, and I did guess a major one (that’s my book-psychicness coming through again) but there were plenty of surprises too. Although it’s obviously the start of a series, there’s a clear plot for this first book with a really dramatic conclusion that I loved.

I think my main problem with the book is it just seems to tick all the boxes of current YA trends:

  • Ordinary girl finds out she is special – check
  • Love triangle – check
  • Poor girl becomes a princess – check
  • Girl becomes face of a revolution – check

This post kind of summed things up well:

http://snarktheater.com/post/95555236954/ya-book-white-young-girl1-ya-book-she-is

It also felt like the book was just written to be quoted. So many lines came across as over dramatic and too self aware: the kind of statements that I can imagine being better placed in a review than said by the first person narrator. It was probably done to be dramatic but it just made those statements sound silly to me.

Despite my issues, I did really enjoy the book and am moving straight on to the sequel.

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