Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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This is a good book. I liked it! Quite liked it, actually. I want to be as objective as possible with these reviews and really look at everything, so, picking this apart one-by-one:

Plot

So, with the plot, I’m not gonna the nitty-gritty of it because you could find the plot elsewhere, though I will say that the idea of dividing people between Red and Silver and basically making one group Gods while the other group are just normal everyday humans is nice (it does kinda sound like Divergent and Hunger Games since the Silvers are the rich–that’s the HG aspect–and the Reds are the dirt poor). Having her infiltrate the Silvers after a freak accident and basically be thrust into their world is great (and, oddly enough, has parallels to the book I’m writing–not Dreamer, the one after that–what with a royal planning a rebellion).

There were elements of other Dystopian books in it, and, after looking back, they were kinda obvious: special girl with special powers (though I do like the fact that she wasn’t actually the only one with this specialness to her. There are apparently thousands like her), segregation and classism via blood (let’s be honest, that’s basically what it is; also, similar to Divergent), Mare being the face of the rebellion (similar to Hunger Games), love triangle between two brothers (and a childhood friend, kinda like Hunger Games again). Despite all of this though, I feel like everything (except some stuff about the Silvers, which I wish had been talked about more like how they got their abilities, why Reds are so ordinary, and maybe even some info on Mare’s family tree if they were able to dig it up) kinda had its place in the story. There was quite a bit of time spent on romance throughout, so that ended up lowering the score, but I did like the book. Style helped with that quite a bit. And the twists! Hoo-boy. The way those shook things up! Okay, let’s go to characters so I can talk about them.


Characters & Character Development

Mare… Mare, Mare, Mare. The little lightning girl. I liked her in the beginning. She was quick, resourceful, witty, snapped back hard and snapped back fast. We can see elements of the old Mare Barrow at the end of the book, but we can still see that she’s changed… and some of it not for the better, IMO. The phrase that ends up getting repeated time and time again (“anyone can betray anyone”, which makes sense for a world of rich socialites all clambering for the top) isn’t exactly heeded by Mare, which honestly made me mad at the end with her trust in one of the princes (not saying who). Suspicious in the beginning and trusting in the end. She’s still there in the end, but she lowers her guard to the people that save her; she got punished each and every time she was too trusting, but it persists even till the end, so… yeah. And it kinda sucks that she was trusting like that. I want the mistrusting Mare, the one that didn’t think any of the Silver were worth even caring about.

But, before I go any further, I want to say all the things I can remember about this girl. One of the things that I like doing to sort of gauge a main character is listing off everything I know about her. If I know a lot, I’ve been enthralled and find her interesting. If not…

So, here’s what I know about Mare: very trusting, loves her family, has powers, has both Red and Silver blood but is stronger than both (however that works out. Aveyard doesn’t explain that…), has three (now four) earrings to commemorate the four guys closest to her, was a former thief. Six things. That’s not too bad. Sometimes, I don’t even know three things about the protagonist. Now, other characters.

The Princes, Cal and Maven… okay, so these two boys. Not gonna say anything because it’ll end up spoiling stuff, but these two… The way they’re painted makes the twist at the end amazing (though, in retrospect, if I had done some slight thinking and wasn’t so enthralled by the style and description, it wouldn’t have been all that surprising) and just wow. I can’t say Aveyard didn’t foreshadow it. Everything that happened and came to pass was foreshadowed well in the earlier and even middle parts of the book and Mare’s own assertions made it even better.

I’m honestly curious to see what happens in book 2 now that we are where we are. Obviously powers and explosions and boom boom!, but I wonder if we’ll actually get to see these other nations. We might end up staying in Norta (which makes sense considering the discoveries and the plot), but I’d love to see these other Scarlets that Farley has spread across everything. Evangeline… well, that’ll be something. I want to see Mare dominate her many many more times. Really didn’t like her. All the characters are propped up well and most of them fulfill their roles. There’s some character development in the book, which is always a plus, but the changes largely lie with the two princes and Mare herself. The others, not so much; they stayed pretty much stagnant and didn’t deviate from their archetypes.

Also, Farley. I don’t know what to make of her! Is she like Mare or is she just really skilled at sneaking, like Batman-skilled at sneaking? No ordinary human should be as good as she is, but I digress.


Pacing

The book’s pacing is really on point. Nothing seemed to drag or go on for too long (though, I wish that training sequence had gone on a wee bit longer and Mare had actually be able to beat the crap out of Evangeline, but I make my fights long anyway, so I’m not one to say much). Perfectly paced from beginning to end. Even when things started to go south (as they inevitably do), things felt properly paced and decided and carefully chosen to be where they were when they were.


Narrative Style

The narration is just beautiful. So full of similes and metaphors. It really does flow and, because it’s first person (my favorite and the one I write in too), we really get deep into Mare’s thoughts. It’s never terrible and I really do like it. The descriptions of the characters, the surroundings, and even what happened to them all felt very detailed and like I could see it in my head. Mare’s thoughts, of course, added to the descriptions and kinda helped my mind go wild in imagining what they all looked like.


Romance

Now, the romance. I’m not particularly a fan of the way romances are done, and this one… well, it didn’t quite do much different. Mare did flip flop with new developments and there were things that she ultimately couldn’t, you know, stop herself from feeling for the two guys; honestly annoyed me at times.


Summary

Red Queen’s a good book. It does some things differently, has some stuff that’s similar to previously published and popular Dystopian books, overall a nice, good, okay book. There are things that should’ve been explained in greater detail, particularly with the Silvers. The style was great to me. It helped keep me locked in from the very beginning. I ended up picking it up at 2 in the morning one night and I was so enthralled that I read till daylight. Whenever I put the book down, I always wanted to dig back into the world of Red and Silver and both.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I came out of the book invigorated and needing to breathe, but the book does have its issues that lowered the score. Still a great read that I’d recommend.


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