Publisher: HarperCollins

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

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Posted by on 12/10/2014 • 19 Comments

Very readable and incredibly character driven, On the Fence was the perfect pick for a cold Sunday afternoon. I can’t say that I loved it quite as much as I had expected to based on the slew of 5-star reviews I had seen, but it was definitely a sigh-worthy read that left me smiling at the end.

Our protagonist, Charlie, has an easy, relatable voice that instantly pulls you in. She’s a tomboy, she loves sports, and she’s living with her dad and 3 brothers, plus a neighbour who pretty much lives there, too. That gives us a great, hectic family dynamic that I thought was just wonderful. The brotherly banter, the silliness, their overprotective nature towards Charlie – it’s all super sweet and fun to read. It also…

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Posted by on 12/04/2014 • 13 Comments

Just in time for the holiday season, this book is set on Christmas Eve. It was a fun and fast read with a bit of a mystery element. The characters were interesting, though not thoroughly developed, and the story was a bit mindless. There are random lists that scatter this book quite frequently, but being that it is told by Chloe, it really shows her personality. She loves lists and it is very much a part of her daily life. At first it was a bit distracting, but quickly became a fun part of the story. This is just one of those books that you can sit down and read in one sitting, that you don’t take too seriously, and it’s a few hours worth of entertainment.

Chloe’s family…

Review: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

Review: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

Posted by on 11/28/2014 • 9 Comments

I was extremely bored while reading this. Even at 80% I felt like the book was going nowhere. The plot was dragging through the mud and the characters, while some are well-developed enough, were uninteresting and lacked any sort of compelling nature. It might be a good book to pick for when you just want a mindless read one boring Sunday, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect to become especially enthralled with No Place to Fall.

When we meet our main character, Amber, she seems like this party girl who makes a hobby out of hooking up and getting high with strangers from all over the world who stop by her town. She keeps track of her nightly… adventures.. on a map. But then we learn that she’s supposedly this good…

Review: Ferals by Jacob Grey

Review: Ferals by Jacob Grey

Posted by on 11/26/2014 • 14 Comments

You know what’s really hard? It is to read a book from a certain demographic that gave you a migraine, just right after you read another book from the same category that made you fly the heavens because of absolute ecstasy. There is always that voice in your head comparing the two, asking why is it like this when the other one did it better? More often than not, your mind fools itself to think that the book is actually worse than it is. I know I have to take that into account, but I can’t deny that my feelings right now are leaning towards a particular end of the stick… the one where a raging She-Hulk is preparing to throw a couple of knuckle sandwiches.

With that said, please,…

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Posted by on 11/21/2014 • 36 Comments

First off, this was such a beautiful novel, inside and out.

I like the sky. It’s rational to me in a way that life isn’t. Looking at it doesn’t suck the way you might think it would, given all the dying-girl-stares-at-heaven possibilities. I don’t think of the sky as any kind of heaven item. I think of it as a bunch of gases and faraway echoes of things that used to be on fire.

When I read the first few paragraphs of this book, I initially thought it was the diary of a self-absorbed girl who thought she was the shit. After finishing the first two chapters, I ate my words and realized that the heroine was actually exploding with a certain kind of wisdom only a mature person who…

Review: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

Review: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

Posted by on 11/18/2014 • 9 Comments

This book was a bit different than I expected, but not in a bad way. I suppose when you just barely skim the synopsis that’s bound to happen. In short, it is a book about a girl who lives in a shitty area with her mom, hasn’t had the best life, and wants something more. Oh, and add in the super hot “bad boy” who is actually not really all that bad. And gangs and trafficking too. So, now that we’ve covered that, I will say that I enjoyed this book. While I didn’t love it, it wasn’t a book that I thought about putting down at any point. The characters were done pretty well and it kept me wanting to know what would happen with them, but I didn’t…

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Posted by on 11/14/2014 • 25 Comments

Have you ever wondered what happened after Sleeping Beauty woke up from her slumber? Pondered if she really did live a “happily ever after”?

Well, A Wicked Thing is here to tell you that story. At least… one of the possibilities, anyway.

And it ain’t exactly pretty.

Retellings can be awesome and it can be a pain in the rear. Awesome, because you’re already familiar with the basic elements, so there’s already a pre-established connection to certain characters, and there’s already the excitement for the new things the author will add to it. And it can result to a disaster, too… because, you know… the new things may screw everything up, OR, worst-case scenario, nothing new gets added and we’re left with a dull, boring story pathetically trailing in the shadows of the original. This is…