Book Review: Red Queen

Posted October 16, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 3 Comments

Book Review: Red QueenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th 2015
Genres: young adult, fantasy
Pages: 383
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

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...

There is no pickier reader than me. I feel sorry for the bloggers and readers that follow me here and on Goodreads. My tastes are always changing, I’m inconsistent–some days I can read an entire book in one sitting, sometimes it takes me a week to finish a single book. I’m on a Sci Fi kick right now–months ago it was contemporary. It’s been paranormal. I still like dystopians and zombie novels, but most contemporaries just can’t hold my attention these days. I always seem to like high fantasies, but I didn’t really like The Winner’s Crime, and I still haven’t read Throne of Glass, though I did really love A Court of Thorns and Roses. I hardly ever finish series. I can’t be counted on to read any book another reader recommends to me, and you never know what I’m going to DNF.

What’s my point? I don’t know. Lyn didn’t think I would like Red Queen, and frankly, after seeing the mixed reviews, I thought I probably wouldn’t either. But I waited until the hype died down. I HATE reading what everyone else is reading.  And waiting was a good thing. I think I would have liked this a lot less if I had read it when everyone else was. I’m just so nitpicky. Heck, most of the time I don’t even know what I will like myself!

But I liked Red Queen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from a perfect book. The world-building is vague, the writing could be more atmospheric, and I didn’t ship any of the romances.

Thing is though, if a book can hold my interest and make me want to finish it as soon as possible, that’s worth a three star rating to me right off. My attention span is nil these days (I think I have ADD and was never diagnosed as a child), so if I can finish a book even remotely as fast as I used to be able to, I’m going to be thrilled. Red Queen is compulsively readable. It’s very much like crack, and it’s hard to put down. It’s tense, fast paced, and there is always something exciting going on.

It’s hardly unoriginal. It has shades of The Hunger Games, Pawn by Aimee Carter, with a little bit of X-Men thrown in for good measure. But it was utterly entertaining. The plot ABSOLUTELY makes the book. It’s not that the characters aren’t decently developed, but you are not going to read this book for the characters. You’re reading it for the escape, one hundred percent. And it does that incredibly well.

I’ve always believed that if you know what you are getting into before you crack open each book, you are more likely to enjoy it. Case in point here. I scanned some of the reviews before. I knew most of the people I follow on Goodreads thought it was mediocre or didn’t like it. That lowered my expectations. I knew from other reviews that it was going to be super addictive. I knew the world-building was not going to make much sense. Keeping all those things in mind made me able to enjoy this book more.

I didn’t hate the romance, but I knew there was going to be a twisty twist at some point because I’m really great at spotting foreshadowing. It wasn’t hidden all that well either. Just look for the social cues, look for odd behaviors that don’t add up, and you’ll figure it out. And there was sort of a love square going on, but not really. It’s hard to ship any of the ships when Mare barely spends time with any of the guys in question. That’s not to say that I won’t be on board for romance in the sequel (and OMG yes I am in for the sequel), but I want Mare to spend more time with the guys so I can pick a ship. I’m sort of glad she didn’t in book one though. It got things off on the right foot and made the book more exciting plot-wise, and so much less about the angst. I’m sick of the angst.

Yeah, I was pretty all right with Red Queen.

Kara Sig Plant

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