Books · Reviews

Review: Red Queen

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Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: YA, fantasy, dystopian

Pages: 383

Published: 2015

Publisher: Orion

Format: Paperback

Acquired: Bought at local bookstore

Rating: ★★★★☆
Book Blurb:: 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 seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red Girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

But Mare possesses a deadly talent of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of her potential, the Silvers hide Mare in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. Knowing that one false move will mean her death, Mare must use her new position to bring down the regime- from the inside.

Now Mare has entered a game of betrayal and lies.

This Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

****

Red Queen is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, as I have always been really intrigued with the theme of magical blood. And once the blurb said it was a royal game of betrayal and lies, I was sucked in (it’s one of my favourite themes to read). Of course the beautifully sophisticated cover helped too. Beautiful covers make my day ❤ My edition also has sprayed edges, with a lovely fleur-de-lis pattern down the side. I was so worried I was going to accidentally get it wet and ruin the colour though!

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So Red Queen centers around Mare Barrow, who Red blood. In her society Reds don’t possess any magical abilities and are in the lowest cast of society; poor and ready to serve the elite Silver-bloods with their powers. Those without jobs are conscripted to go to war. After some terrible events with her family and friends, Mare suddenly finds herself serving the Royal family during a pageant to find the Crown Prince’s wife. It is during this job that Mare discovers she has an impossible power that could threaten society as they know it.

With sibling rivalry, terrorist plots and betrayal, Mare becomes entangled in dangerous attempts to preserve her life and shake the foundations of her world.

****

So I really enjoyed this one! I didn’t know how I was going to find it, as some other reviews find the storyline quite cliché/overused, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a really fast-paced story and there was always something going on- especially once Mare becomes part of the Silver courts and starts to learn so many secrets.

Although there are tons of stories out there that deal with upper- and lower-classes, and even lower-classes infiltrating the upper-class societies, it is a plot I really enjoy. It was different enough that I didn’t get bored thinking I had read it before, which I was grateful for. The action was really gripping, and I was NOT expecting the ending at all! The betrayals came at such a shock to me, and it was by my favourite character so my heart broke a little (I can’t tell you who it is though, as it would spoil the story).

giphy-shocked
source: giphy.com

One thing I was disappointed in though, was that there wasn’t as much stress on Mare’s situation as I was expecting. Considering Mare’s status and power, I thought there would be a lot more fear about her being discovered. It was mentioned a few times, but apart from a fight scene near the end, I really didn’t feel any desperation to hide her heritage/colour of her blood, which was a shame. I though the book would have a lot more situations with tense power-plays trying to fool everyone; but there were enough people who knew her secret that I didn’t empathise with her situation as much as I would have liked. However, this is a personal preference, as I think I wanted more stabbing opportunities so her blood would be shown, haha!

I also wasn’t that keen on the romance aspect of it at first, because I thought it was going to a be really cheesy. There was a little bit of insta-love, but thankfully it didn’t dominate the storyline. I will say that it could have been a bit more developed at times, there were some love-related scenes that felt really sudden and forced, and I didn’t know why Mare would think certain things so quickly. I was definitely rooting for Maven though, I always like seeing an underdog getting the girl (or maybe I was just trying to avoid any conflict).

Of course it isn’t all about the love, and there was a big focus on changing society. With living with Silver royals and a Red rebellion, it was very interesting to see how it all linked together. With Mare finding out more about her powers and its impact on the Reds, I am really excited to see whether they can achieve their goals in the sequel, Glass Sword.

****

Okay, so I cant talk a lot about the characters without giving too much away, but I generally preferred Maven over Cal. I felt like Cal was too much like a ‘golden prince’, but he didn’t have a lot of personality? However, by the end of the book my opinions were definitely swaying! So much happened and I have to read the second book to make up my mind over the two.

Mare was an interesting character. I rarely focus on female characters- I think I’m mainly on a quest to find book-boyfriends- but she was a really strong personality throughout. She is intelligent and I liked her flaws and her witty remarks. I didn’t feel like her love story flowed that well, but I liked seeing her learn and develop throughout the story.

****

Despite some little issues I did enjoy this book. Royal fantasy is one of my fave genres, and combined with magic and betrayal I am always interested. The ending was a shocker, and I can’t wait to read book two to see if it is just as good!

Have you read the Red Queen series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Rating: star-1star-1star-1star-1

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