Book Review: Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Page Number: 383

My Rating – 3.5 Stars Out Of 5

Synopsis –

“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.” (source)

Yet another time where I’m faced with a book that I really want to love and, despite the great potential it contains, I just can’t do it.

I’ve seen the Red Queen series be hyped-up for quite awhile now, and have since started following author Victoria Aveyard on Twitter, where she’s one of my favorite accounts to see pop up on my feed. Even though I snagged both Red Queen and its’ sequel Glass Sword for a great deal, they have been sitting on my bookshelf for the longest time now. As summer draws to a close, I knew I just finally had to scratch these books off my TBR and finally see what all the fuss is about.

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Like I said, the Red Queen world had a lot of potential. Though the ideas definitely feel familiar, it was still very interesting to me. A world divided by blood – a world divided by powers. That stuff is cool. There’s also a revolution stirring, with the some particularly rebellious Reds forming the Scarlet Guard in an attempt to overthrow the Silver-controlled government and establish equality between Reds and Silvers. This aspect definitely reminded me of The Hunger Games, in which the Reds represent the Districts and the Silvers represent the Capitol. But I definitely believe that The Hunger Games series handled political revolution a lot better than the Red Queen series does. I couldn’t help but feel that the bigger picture – Reds vs. Silvers, poor vs. rich, powerless vs. powerful, etc. – kept getting ignored in favor of pouring more attention on the petty teenage drama happening within the walls of the palace. I will elaborate.

Our leading lady, Mare Barrow, has red blood, which means that she is normal, powerless, and destined to live a life of lowly servitude. However, in a freak accident in front of the royal family and the most elite and powerful Silvers, it’s discovered that she possesses the ability to manipulate electricity. Thus puts in motion a series of convenient and not at all believable events.

To up the entertainment value, instead of Mare being executed, which should be the answer since the King and Queen aren’t exactly the greatest people, she becomes a freaking long-lost silver Princess. Next thing we know, Mare is betrothed to the younger of the two princes, Maven, and is being dressed up in gorgeous clothes and attending lessons. Cue eye roll.

And of course both the princes are drawn to Mare and develop romantic feelings for her. Cal, the oldest prince, is the ‘perfect’ heir and is very powerful with his ability to control fire. However, his allegiance to his father and the way he’s hell-bent to prove himself by hunting down rebellious Reds paints him in a more villainous light. Maven, on the other hand, is more intelligent and calculating. He also shows himself as more kind-hearted and compassionate, and becomes Mare’s best buddy within the palace.

The books prods along, the only thing really keeping my attention being the Scarlet Guard, which Mare tries to help from her new place of power among the Silvers. But the whole Scarlet Guard and the tensions between the Reds and Silvers still felt very vague to me by the end of the book.

There is, however, a pretty big plot twist that I for one did not see coming. And it totally improved the story for the better. Though I know it will only do to intensify the unfortunate heaps of superficial drama within the book, I can’t deny that this major twist will make the next book, Glass Sword, more interesting.

I recommend this for fans of YA (I’m not a fan of YA typically).

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