Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Red Queen by Victoria AveyardRed Queen Published by HarperTeen on February 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA
Source: HarperTeen
Buy on Amazon

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?

Well, what do you know… I actually found myself enjoying this one, despite my initial reservations.

If I could briefly describe this book, it’s Red Rising by Pierce Brown Set in a Castle-Turned-Into-X-Men-Academy. And trust me, it’s way cooler than it sounds. And it already sounds way cool.

It’s a premise we have seen before – in fiction and in history: the people are divided into two classes, the rulers and the ruled. The first are the Silvers, who enjoy the luxuries of life and have various abilities (reading and controlling minds, manipulating elements, healing); we also have the Reds, who toil and work their lives away for the latter, oppressed and living in extreme poverty. And we have Mare Barrows, a Red who finds herself wielding Silver powers – an anomaly, a mistake, but perhaps, a hope for a better future?

First things first, the writing is actually pretty good. I loved how it was set in first person and gave us a very intimate look into the lives of the marginalized and the oppressed. You can really see how they were suffering so much and working so hard for very little. You feel their pain through Mare’s eyes, and it’s not very hard to feel angry at the Silvers in their place. Imagine being a Red parent – you have to give up your children one by one when they reach a certain age because they are conscripted to fight in the front lines fighting for a hopeless cause. Imagine being a Red child, knowing there is no future because your life is in the mercy of people who feel no ounce of compassion for you.

Red Queen immediately gives you these feelings at the very beginning, immersing you in a political war between two classes that has been raging endlessly for centuries. Mare’s feelings are raw and genuine. She is broken by the system and we can feel it through her words, but she tries to fight anyway, because if not for her at least for the people she loves. She embodies a fiery spirit akin to Katniss from The Hunger Games that I embraced completely.

I loved Mare. I seriously loved her. She uses her head, and bids her time even if she is in enemy territory because she knows which battles to fight and which battles to wait for until she has the upper hand. She makes a lot of mistake, trusts the wrong people, falls down and wallows in self-pity for a while, but she is quick to remember the reasons for fighting and uses them as fuel to stand up again. I love reading characters like her because they serve as an inspiration for me to do better. They, like me, fuck up, too, but sometimes you just need ONE reason and ONE reason alone to do something about your mistakes and redeem them.

And you know the best part? She never becomes a lovesick fool. Sure, she sometimes feel her stomach twisting here and there for a certain someone, but I’m sure you and I and everyone else in the room has felt that for someone or for George Clooney… (what? I’m the only one? Oh okay…) In any case, while it’s true that she lets her heart decide the actions for her, it’s never in where boys are concerned. Because seriously, who has time for love and kisses and hugs and rainbows and butterflies when you have a whole class of people to save? I’m glad the romance mainly takes a back seat in this one. They’re not a separate drama but interweaved in the story itself and that’s awesomesauce.

If there is one thing that I didn’t really like about this book, it’s that sometimes it has a tendency to feel dragging. World-building wise and plot-twists-wise, it’s pretty consistent and solid, but there are times we have paragraphs upon paragraphs of details that I wish could have been toned down a bit. This book was really long, and I felt it could have been 50 pages shorter, maybe even more. It came to the point that I sometimes skipped pages just to get a move on already.

All in all, this is a pretty solid debut, and I can easily see fans of Red Rising and The Winner’s Curse loving this one. And oh, those who love superpowers , too, a la X-Men, will find something to love here, especially since I found that aspect of the book really enjoyable and well-done. Whether you’re a fan of Dystopia, Science Fiction, or Fantasy, there’s definitely something here for you to enjoy.


3.5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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23 Responses to “Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard”

  1. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    Personally, I thought the romance actually did play a big part in the book, which I didn’t like. I didn’t like the romance in this book in general, to be honest. 🙁 But the book as a whole held a lot of promise, and I liked the original idea of the story. Sadly it just wasn’t for me, or maybe I read it at a bad time. I’m glad you enjoyed it more than I did, Faye!

  2. Pili

    Glad to hear you liked this one and despite the dragging along in some parts, the world building was amazing and the romance was not too prevalent! I really need to give this one a try as soon as I can get my hands on it!
    Great review Faye!

  3. nokey

    OMG. You reviewed this book…

    I just finished this book two days ago, This book really interesting with the plot twist then unexpected mutation gene but yea like you wrote too much paragraphs of details that made me skip it a lot.

  4. Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    Eeeeh I’m so glad you liked this one, Faye!! I loved the writing and the twists and turns. I felt the story was dragging a bit in parts, but I loved the politicality of it and the manta Be careful who you trust. I thought this was a great debut as well! Lovely review, Faye <33

  5. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m really excited to read this book, Faye. It’s sitting in my Nook waiting to be read, but I’m waiting closer to the release date. It sounds so awesome! I’m happy to hear about the romance taking a backseat and the world building being great. I can’t wait!
    Lovely review!
    But seriously Faye, George Clooney? Haha! 🙂

  6. Danee

    I love your “brief description” of the book. Way cool. Plus, who doesn’t appreciate a strong heroine!?

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Emily

    I have been going back and forth about this one. I hear people excited about it, but the summary on Goodreads didn’t really give me any feeling one way or another (not that that’s a bad thing! I’ve missed out on some great books just because I refused to read it due to the summary). After reading your review I must say it sounds like something that is right up my alley. I will definitely be adding it to my to read list!

  8. Laila BC

    Fayeeee! i think someone posted a review of this over at Social Potato…was it Aimee? anyhoo…i was really wary when i’ve read two reviews already about this book and it wasn’t such a stellar review :/ and this is one of the books that i really look forward to reading in 2015. But i decided to still get a copy of it when it comes out and form my own opinion about it. I am familiar with reading such kind of premise in a book/series…i didn’t know it was that long…but i am sort of relieved that you also loved the heroine …coz i am all for strong heroines! so i know once i end up loving the MC it will be a great one for me already. yeah i am like that hehehe! So thanks for your thoughts about this one 🙂

  9. Milka@ReadReadRead

    Great review – I read this one earlier this week and definitely agree on a lot of points out make here. I especially loved seeing the mention about Mare not becoming a lovesick fool – I was happy to see that too since I was so afraid it would happen with the whole “I am with one brother but I might like the other one better” scenario.

  10. Amy

    I have this one to read too. It does sound really great. I’m glad that there isn’t much romance and it focuses on the main storyline. Not that I don’t love a good romance, but sometimes it is unnecessary and out of place in some books. Great review hon!!

  11. Vivian

    I am actually hearing about this one for the first time, but ugh, this sounds absolutely amazing for a debut. I am so sold by your review, especially the good writing and the sound of Mare! Going to give this one a shot during the holidays. Lovely review!

  12. Hannah

    I am so very excited for this one. So many people have been raving about this one, and I’m glad to see it living up to expectations. Great review!

  13. Carina Olsen

    Yay 😀 Amazing review Faye. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. And yay for the writing being good 🙂 I do love great writing. <3 I'm so curious about this. Just got my arc of it today 🙂 Crossing all my fingers that I will love it too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. <3

  14. Olivia

    I am really anticipating this books release and can’t wait to read it myself! It sounds awesome, if I am honest and like something I would enjoy. Especially the idea of her not becoming a lovesick fool as well, like some characters do.