Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review | Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

“The truth is what I make it.  I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Published by Orion
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★✩

Synopsis: 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?

Teisha's Review

I probably would have bought this book for the cover alone, because it is just gorgeous!  

However, there were a few other reasons why I picked up Red Queen on it's release day.  First, I had seen a ton of stellar reviews for the book on Goodreads.  Second, that synopsis. (Need I say more?) And, third, this book trilogy has already been picked up for a movie deal by Sony, and it's not even finished!  So, it must be promising, right?

One of my most highly anticipated reads of 2015, Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen did not disappoint.

Here are the five reasons why I gave Red Queen 4 out of 5 stars:


★ The World

The world that Aveyard has created with Red Queen is incredibly unique -- it's futuristic and dystopian, but there is also royalty and I love that.  I appreciated that Aveyard brought that historical element to a futuristic/modern setting.  (I need a break from horses, carriages, and petticoats sometimes.  But, I will take Kings, Queens, and bloody politics anyday.)  I also found the element of the society being split into Silver and Red blooded classes to be intriguing.  When Aveyard first describes what it's like to see a Silver bleed, it paints a perfect picture and doesn't feel forced or unbelievable.  (I actually think that it would be really cool to have silver blood.  But, that's just my opinion.)

And, finally: the magical abilities.  (I have been reading so many magical books lately that, when I return to something contemporary, I think: Why can't the protagonist just avada kedrava his or her way out of this situation?  It would make things so much easier.  Where is the magic?!  Yeah, it's a problem.)  Some of the powers Aveyard's characters are gifted with, and the way in which they use them, are very interesting.  I would say that my favorite power belongs to  the Queen, but I won't spoil that for you all.  (Also, a sidenote: I hope we see more of the Queen, because she seems like she will make a great villain. She is so sneaky and conniving and I really want to get inside her head.)



★ Cal

I'm just gonna jump right on this and say that Cal is my favorite character in this series (so far)! I love him.  And, it probably doesn't hurt that I pictured him like this:

Henry Cavill from Man of Steel -  goodness, this guy is so gorgeous, it hurts! YUM!!!When we first meet Cal, he is described as such: "In the light of the inn, his eyes glint red-gold, the color of warmth...  His black hair is too glossy, his skin too pale to be anything but a servant.  But his physique seems more like a woodcutter's, with broad shoulders and strong legs.  He's young too, a little older than me, though not nearly as assured of himself as any nineteen- or twenty-year-old should be."  I just love this description of Cal.  And, maybe Henry Cavill's too old to be Cal, but...he's hot.  Don't judge me.  

But, other than the fact the Cal is a prince, and he's gorgeous, and charming, he is probably the most complex character of the story.  From the moment we meet him, we get the sense that Cal is a good person.  He has morals and beliefs and he sticks by them.  And, as a soldier, he fights for his people and what he believes in.  By the end of the story, Cal is tested in many ways, but he perseveres and finds it himself to do what he knows is right.  I'm eager to see Cal grow as a character and see how he handles himself as the world he knows, and the moral standards he upholds, crumble beneath him.



★ The Love Square & Queenstrial

I'm also excited to see where Cal's relationship with Mare goes.  I ship Calare so hard.  (I literally just made that up.  I don't know if that's the correct ship name.)  I loved watching Cal and Mare interact with one another, especially considering the tension created by the love square they are involved in.  They share some very sweet and romantic moments, and I need more of this in the next installment.

I also loved the 'betrothal ceremony' of Queenstrial: "Today we honor tradition...now is the rite of Queenstrial, to bring forth the most talented daughter to wed the most noble son.  In this we find strength, to bind the High Houses, and power, to ensure Silver rule until the end of days, to defeat our enemies, on the borders, and within them."

So, Queenstrial is kind of like The Bachelor for people with magical powers.  The girls want to win the prince's heart, so they have to prove themselves as invaluable assets to the crown.  I've also heard other book bloggers relate Queenstrial to The Selection by Kiera Cass.  (I personally haven't read The Selection.)  But, I really liked this aspect of narrative.  I thought that it was entertaining.  There is also a really important plot twist in this part of the story which sets the course of the entire book.



★ Plot Twists

Speaking of plot twists, there were quite a few in Red Queen and they were crazy fun.  Obviously, I won't spoil anything for you guys, but I just wanted to note that the plot twists definitely made this book a wild ride.  A book without plot twists ain't a book for me.  That's the motto.



✩ Predictable 

Although there were a lot of plot twists to this story and I was continually engaged with the characters and the world, I have to admit that the story felt really predictable at times.  There was one plot twist that I saw coming from a mile away, but it was still a heart wrenching moment in the story that was really well written.  But, then again, that could just be me; maybe other people won't see these twists coming and will be genuinely surprised.  (I mean, you're talking to the girl who'd figured out the ending of We Were Liars by page 70.) I think that, being in my fourth and final year as an English major, I have learned to (over)analyze everything I read.  So, I pick up even the smallest clues very easily.

While Red Queen is unique, it is also quite similar to other YA Dystopian/Fantasy books you have probably read.  So many plot points fall into the tropes that are typical of these genres, such as:
The-Girl-Who-Is-Normal-And-Leads-A-Difficult-Life-Discovers-She-Is-Unique-And-Has-Superpowers.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who's getting tired of that story.


***

I think that I probably over-hyped this book for myself.  It definitely wasn't as great as I had anticipated, but none the less it was pretty good.  I'm hoping to see some serious character development start to unfold in the next installment.

Overall, Red Queen is a great start to what I am sure is going to be a great trilogy.  I can't wait to see what Aveyard gives us next!


Tell Me What Color You Bleed

  1. Have you read Red Queen? Tell me your thoughts!  Who is your favorite character?  Would you prefer to be a Silver or a Red?

Talk to you soon!



4 comments:

  1. When I read the part about the silver blood, I immediately thought about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone where the repeatedly talked about how unicorns have silver blood. I agree with you though. It would be kind of cool if we had silver blood. I haven't read the Red Queen yet, because I'm waiting out the hype. I find that I don't enjoy the books as much when I read them during a high amount of hype. Great review!

    Meredith @ A Book Lover's Corner

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    1. Thanks, Meredith! I would say that Red Queen is definitely hit and miss for some. I enjoyed it, but I have seen many other reviews where readers did not like it at all. I am hoping that the sequel is even better than the first.

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  2. The book looks very wonderful and interesting. I look forward to reading it.
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  3. Great review , I really enjoyed the book! My favorite Characters are Mare and Cal . In my opinion the world wasn't well developed . Hopefully the sequel will be better. Great review!!!!

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