Title: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi > Dystopian
Synopsis: Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
Would I recommend? er, no.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
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I feel like I’m part of the very small group of people who did not like this book. The lovers of this book are an overwhelming majority with some people saying that it was average, but not mindblowing. I have yet to meet someone who did not like this book, period. I did not like this book, and the only reason it got two stars instead of one was because the beginning was fairly promising and entertaining. And it was enough to keep me from abandoning it.
I was looking forward to this book. I had heard such amazing things, and even though I had heard that it was sort of an amalgamation of several other series, the Goodreads page says “Graceling meets the Selection,” and I have read neither of these books, which is why I wasn’t hesitant. Except I was wrong to think I wouldn’t be bothered, because I was. There were too many similarities with the Hunger Games trilogy. Too many for me to look past and get over; even the characters are similar. And since these tendencies existed and were so visibly obvious, I was psychologically more inclined to see other resemblances as well. I saw similarities with the Grisha Trilogy, and even A Song of Ice and Fire. Now, similarities are not a bad thing, and I am aware that no idea nowadays is an entirely original idea. But for some reason, it bothered me.
The world had a lot of promise. I was completely engrossed in the first seventy or so pages, but it wasn’t expanded. I wanted to see more of the Reds and their community. I wanted to see how they lived, what the popular sentiment was regarding the Silvers. I wanted to know more about the history. I wanted to know about the region. I feel like Aveyard has a very strong image in her mind (or notebooks or computer, whatever) with what she wants the world to be like, but it’s not there on paper! What’s the point!
And instead of focusing on the very interesting world, the book focused on drama. There’s an unnecessary love triangle. There was an unnecessary “bitch” figure who was, of course, “jealous.” Oh and wait for it! She had a posse too. If I wanted that, i’d go watch Mean Girls.
The plot twist didn’t take me by surprise, and I do believe that the plot twist is one of the things that had the ability to make this book soar above and beyond… but it fell flat because I saw it coming from the very beginning. I think that has to do with the fact that almost everybody in their review has somewhat hinted at it. The Goodreads synopsis hints at it. It defeats the entire purpose of a freaking plot twist. It’s supposed to TWIST the plot, not make the reader think, “Oh yeah, of course. I saw that coming from, like, page 50”
Dear God. The characters bothered me. The main character is, perhaps, one of the most dull, naive, unintelligent female characters ever written. She has this supermegafoxyawesome power, and she’s supposed to be this special snowflake (of COURSE she is, because YA novels don’t exist without special snowflakes!), but she doesn’t have an ounce of intelligence to do anything about it. The climax bothered me so much because of her naivety, that my brow was furrowed, and I was yelling at her to do what it takes her ten pages to do. Really, Victoria, do you think your readers are that stupid? The eventual ‘solution’ of the climax wasn’t a, “Holy wow, that was bad-ass,” as I’m sure was intended, but, “FINALLY! It’s over!”
The two male characters were devoid of any personality. I was indifferent to them both. I thought Cal was redeemable because of the first interaction between Mare and Cal, but nope.
Here’s the thing. The writing isn’t bad! It’s truly not. While Aveyard does make common mistakes like explicitly stating everything, and having melodramatic dialogue, that didn’t bother me. Because she’s not a bad writer. She just needs to work on developing the various elements of her stories a little more, such as constructing nuanced, complex characters and a vivid world. She can do that still in the later books, but unfortunately, I’m not interested enough to spend money on a series I’m not invested in at all.