Genre: Fantasy

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: Stitching Snow by R.C.Lewis

Review: Stitching Snow by R.C.Lewis

Posted by on 12/11/2014 • 12 Comments

Well, this is awkward… another review for a retelling from yours truly. I swear I am not seeking them out; they seem to find me, not I them. In any case, this one is extra special because it’s a retelling in spaaaaaaaace. And anything set in space is automatically “cool beans” in my eyes. I mean, usually. You know. *fidgets*

Now the only problem is… where to bloody start.

You see, Stitching Snow and I have quite a complicated relationship. I liked it for the most part, but I found a lot of problems along the way, and I for one never forget these things. Once I spot one, they become even more glaring after a while. Surely now, if ever this book were sentient, it’s probably regretting it had to be read by…

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by on 12/05/2014 • 19 Comments

Now I see why people love this author.

Truth be told, when I read Cruel Beauty not too long ago, I remember being very frustrated with it. Yes, the prose flowed exceptionally well; yes, the characters were complex; yes, the world-building was fascinating and all that, but I just couldn’t find myself liking it completely. It was a fantasy that read too much like a romance (although it can be debated that it’s romance first in a fantasy setting…), and I remember being overwhelmed with the talks of love and kisses. I don’t like it when a love between two people is shoved in my face; rather, I want it to be subtle and in the background and happening naturally.

Because of that experience, I was wary of starting Crimson Bound,…

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: 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…

Sneak Peek + Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick

Sneak Peek + Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick

Posted by on 11/10/2014 • 5 Comments

I  really enjoyed Cat Patrick’s Just Like Fate when I read it a year ago, so I’m excited to be a part of her sneak peek tour today where you can get a glimpse at her newest novel, Court, as well as enter to win!

Sneak Peek


No matter how much money was in their family bank, every kid in Eurus had a place at the in-Realm college. It was in the bylaws. Of course, most of the courtiers bought their way out to better schools in the Democracy and beyond.

“Giddap,” Mary said firmly as she drove the heels of her boots into Carrot’s burnt-orange sides. Her faithful friend dove headfirst into the wind and somehow gained speed, forcing tears from Mary’s light green…

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Posted by on 10/07/2014 • 17 Comments

After reading Legend, when I heard Marie Lu was coming out with a new series I just knew I had to read it. This woman is a fantastic author with great imagination and a knack for character development. This one was much more fantasy that I usually read, though, so it was less my taste, but it was still an entertaining ride that I think will captivate a lot of readers of the genre.

We begin this journey with a look into the heartbreaking story of Adelina’s upbringing. A girl who was once affected by the blood fever that swept the nation and made her a malfetto. A girl with a marking; useless, worthless – and feared, for many are thought to have unnatural abilities. This immediately made me…

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Posted by on 08/18/2014 • 24 Comments

I really wanted to love this one, and I could almost give it a 3-star after the fascinating twist at the end, but I just can’t. For the most part, I couldn’t stop seeing the glaring parallels with Harry Potter which annoyed me endlessly. I’m not one to roll my eyes at similar storylines – I don’t curse all MG novels about magic school for being Harry Potter rip-offs, but there are only so many similarities I can tolerate.

So let’s see, we have this kid, Call, who was marked at birth by the most evil of its kind – someone corrupted by his desire to become immortal (called the Enemy of Death but I call him Ed, sounds much more ominous don’t you think?). When Call gets to magic…