Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Red Queen


Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy, #1)Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, #1
Released: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Length: 383 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Fans of Throne of Glass, Snow Like Ashes and other popular YA fantasies have much to look forward to. Victoria Aveyard took a much proven formula, twisted it and turned it until, at least on the surface, it became something new. At first glance, Red Queen seems to be exactly what a successful novel in this genre should be. It’s exciting, emotional, highly addictive and it leaves you begging for more.


You’d be hard pressed to find anything original about it, though.

We’ve read this story one too many times, it seems. A poor but resourceful girl suddenly becomes very important in her society. She gets accepted to court under false pretenses and has to secretly learn to be a lady in order to survive. The king and the people around him are cruel and unforgiving. Poor Mare has to watch her people suffer while she’s enjoying all the luxury – even if she is sacrificing herself for the greater good.

Ahh, but the story wouldn’t be complete without a handsome prince or two! Oddly enough, the love triangle (Rectangle? Pentagon? Whatever.) didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did in other similar stories. This is probably due to the fact that the romance itself never struck a chord with me. Other emotions were far more important, like the feeling of hopelessness, abandonment and overwhelming fear. Mare was all alone in a world where everyone was her enemy. Romance wasn’t at the forefront of her mind most of the time, and the same applied to me. Perhaps things will develop in the next installment, but I’m quite happy with the way they are now.

I’ve always had a soft spot for stories that involve individuals with superpowers. X-men is kind of my thing, and so is Hunting Lila and other stories that follow the same path. Red Queen follows along as well – in Mare’s world, people with silver blood rule over those who bleed red, and the Silvers all have some special ability, whether it’s pyrokinesis, mind reading or anything else of the sort. The different powers were by far the best part of this book. Even though they were used time and time again, Aveyard found a way to make them her own, especially when it came to Mare.

While this wasn’t the perfect book for me, neither was Throne of Glass, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. The story is very promising and I have high hopes for the sequel. I’ll definitely be reading it when the time comes.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

29 comments:

  1. Ahh! I am so bummed you didn't like this more, I absolutely loved it but I can see why you didn't from the things you mentioned.

    Wonderful honest review Maja!

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  2. I keep hearing the same thing about this book. It's enjoyable enough if you're not looking for anything original, but it still a cop-out way of writing a fantasy. I'm still on the fence. I might give it a chance, who knows?

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  3. I liked this one a bit more than you did, but I'm glad you still liked it overall. All the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. I agree with you on the romance. I didn't really see it as a love triangle, I think mostly because the romantic elements were pretty much absent.
    Great review, Maja!

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  4. Oh I love my books with an X-men sort of vibe, so I'm thinking that this book would be right up my street! I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this one as much as you'd hoped Maja, but it's good to know you weren't too bothered with the love triangle!

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  5. I'm looking forward to this one, even though it has received rather a lot of hype. Glad you still enjoyed it though! I trust your bookish opinions.

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  6. I thought this was solid but I wasn't a sover the moon as may other reviewers. I agree about the originality and I never got behind the romance or romances for that matter. Still it was promising enough that I will continue.

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  7. I kind of felt the same way. It was entertaining, but, no - it wasn't original.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  8. OOoh nice review! I'm excited for this one! I've read great reviews, so-so reviews, and maybe one or two that hated it. Think I can round that off to a book with definite potential! Cannot wait to read it myself! Lovely review, again!

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  9. I think I will wait for book 2 and see

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  10. Luckily for me, I love retellings of this type of story. Thanks for your thoughtful yet concise review. On a side note- this is my first time to visit your blog and it is AMAZING.

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  11. I was not happy with the... pentangle?... but it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would either. I also think this is full of potential and I am looking forward to the next installment.

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  12. Well, 3.5 stars is still quite good! I'm quite intrigued by this book, and it's in the wish list for whenever the book buying ban is over, although it's not in the top 10, mostly the top 20!

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  13. SO many mixed reviews on this!

    Ps. I have a blog as well, written both in English and Italian. I'd love if you stopped by :) -> http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.com/

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  14. Nice to hear you enjoyed this one overall, Maya. I probably won't pick this up anytime soon, if at all. I'd wait until the books are released before committing. YA is such a tricky genre for me right now. Don't like the sound of a triangle or a romance that doesn't really hit you emotionally. Lovely review! :)

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  15. Sigh. I had high hopes for this one. I guess there's just nothing new to write about. Or so authors think.

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  16. I read this one awhile ago, and LOOOVED it. While I agree that RED QUEEN seems to have a generic formula, it's still a really good read and enjoyable, so it almost doesn't matter to me that it's formulaic. I loved the X-Men aspect too, and the romance was done just right for me. Thanks for your honest thoughts though, Maja!!

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  17. I had no idea Throne of Glass didn't work for you, Maja! It wasn't my kind of book either so I am kind of worried now. I have to say though, I ADORE books about superpowers and am always on the hunt for them (you mentioning Hunting Lila made me SO happy). I know Nick adored this one which is why I am still looking forward to this but I shall keep what you said in mind while reading it!

    Hopefully it'll work out for me!

    Lovely review as always, Maja!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  18. Aww sorry to hear that there wasn't much originality

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  19. LOL!! I was the polar opposite of you. I thought the book was reasonably original, and that was it's only redeeming quality. *snorts* How funny. I know that no two people ever read exactly the same book, blah blah, but it's so interesting to me how completely different the perspectives sometimes are. Great review ;)

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  20. I'm going to try and read this one without all the hype coloring my reading experience. I did like Snow Like Ashes but wasn't a big fangirl about it. If that's any indication, I think this one would also be a decent read.

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  21. Despite its lack of originality, I'm curious about this book. I'm definitely going to check it out and see which side of the spectrum I fall on.

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  22. Hmm, not the sort of thing I would normally read but I might give it a whirl. Ironically, my mum is the Game of Thrones books fan, while I find them a bit too much! Cool cover, though x

    www.amandasays.org.uk

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  23. Throne of Glass was NOT my cup of tea so I doubt this would be either. I know that the romantic situation would bother me, despite its minimal focus in this novel, and the lack of originality would probably have me giving this a similar rating, only without the urge to pick up the sequel. :/ I'm glad this is better than the masses but that simply doesn't do it for me these days. Wonderful review, Maja--this has helped me make a decision about this novel so much, so thank you!

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  24. I think that's why I could ignore the triangle -- because I never really connected with the love interest(s). I enjoyed this one but, yeah, it's a recycled plot (hey, aren't they all?). Still, a good, fast-paced read!

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  25. I have heard good and bad about this one but for some reason I haven't felt drawn to it anyway so I think I'll be skipping it for now. It's not like I need more to read anyway. ;)

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  26. Oh it's such a shame this didn't work for you like you thought. A lot of people certainly have been raving about this book lately and although it is they hype, i actually can't wait to read and get into this fantasy book. I can say that I know where you are coming from with the not so original storyline. Lovely honest review, Maja! :)

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  27. Aw I'm sorry that you didn't like this one more, Maja! I get that it's not exactly the most original book, but I loved it nonetheless.

    Thank you for your honest review, hun <33

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  28. My thoughts about this one pretty much matched up with yours, Maja. I thought this one was okay and liked that the romance remained in the background (because of course all the guys Mare knows fall in love with her), but I'm hoping for more from the sequel.

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  29. Our reviews are similar and I almost did a DNF. The last 1/3 of the book really engaged me and has me looking forward to book two

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