Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Published: February 10, 2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Dystopia
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads Summary

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.

I was in a terrible reading slump so I decided to give this one a spin. FINALLY I got through a book (I've started 8 that I can't finish), and I read it in just a day!

I've wanted to read Red Queen since it came out, but I waited until there were 3 available in case I need to go on a binge read (which is looking like a distinct possibility). I haven't read any reviews since it was released to keep from spoilers.

Is it without flaws? Of course not. 

The Good

Red Queen has a lot of aspects that I adore in a read. The cover is gorgeous. It's a fun blend of fantasy and dystopia. The imagery is fantastic. The world is well-developed as well though I know there is still so much to learn about it.

There is a royal family involved which always means conflict, power struggles, and (gasp!) betrayal. As a matter of fact, 'anyone can betray anyone' was a common motto throughout the book and held true. I thoroughly enjoy trying to figure out who Mare can trust while reading.

On top of the whole royalty thing, there are also some wicked special powers that the Silvers have. At first, I thought there were only a couple of different kinds of powers, but really there are quite a few and they are all are interesting. Not necessarily powers I hadn't seen before, but a great mixture all the same.

Beyond the drama of being thrust out of poverty into a royal family, there is also a strong political story happening in the background which had me hooked. I have to know how this struggle ends in the long run for the civilians and the revolution. The side characters are well developed and though I hate it at the same time, I love that Aveyard will kill a bunch of characters off. It keeps things intense knowing a character could die any second.

The Bad

So there is some predictability here, but I will say that there are also a few things that I didn't see coming which made those more special. I enjoyed not being totally right in what I was expecting. Though if you hate some of those main cliches (the super special snowflake character, the love triangles, etc.), then these things will bother you about Red Queen.

Also, Mare is not exactly great in her decision-making ability. She's quite bad at it actually. So I'm really hoping that we see some growth in that area. Don't get me wrong, Mare transitions a lot just through this story going from hard, dirty thief to a character with great conviction and poise so it will be fun watching her become even better as a character down the road.

The Romance

As mentioned, there is a love triangle (or square?) in this one. She's got three guys vying for her attention and one of those guys is taken himself. She's not sure how she feels about any of them honestly and manages to hate them all and disappoint them all at some point. I can see a clear contender for her actual love interest here, but I'll leave that open for you to read.


Red Queen is a lovely start to this series. While not perfect, it was very enjoyable and I gobbled it up in one day. I loved all the intrigue, the side characters, the revolution, and the powers and am very much looking forward to more in the future. I hope Mare starts making better choices and actually considers the consequence of her actions though. Recommended. 

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