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.
First word that comes to mind - ah-mazing! It's like The Hunger Games, Stolen Songbird and A Game of Thrones rolled into one. The world-building was post-apocalyptic and dystopian - set maybe centuries into the future, with monarchy having a stronghold on the population. The two races - Silvers and Reds, are different only in the color of their blood and the fact that Silvers are like hereditary X-men. So they have power and the families have powers, and this makes up the court, and the Reds are basically Panem districts who are oppressed by the Capitol Court.
Mare lands in a position of power, as a princess betrothed to the second prince, so the monarchy can keep a watch on her and use her to twist the story of the appearance of her powers, which is an anomaly among the Reds. What ensues is a deadly Game of Thrones, as she navigates hiding her true bloodline, from the courtiers, while also helping the rebellion. She thinks she is manipulating the pieces because she has a greater stake, but she starts getting in way over her head when she starts falling for both the princes. Betrayal had to happen, and - basically, it is pretty exiting and the plot is full of surprises. You would have to read it to know it, and that's all I am going to say now!
Character writing was pretty good - and considering it is a game of manipulation and betrayals, there are so many shades of gray in the different characters. Mare, especially, having to maintain her mask and keep her true feelings hidden, when she is such an open book most of the times. Maven, well, he was pretty intense and interesting and Cal was, well, complicated to say the least. Evangeline was the regular bratty-princess you encounter in almost every fantasy novel, only with the added advantage of being lethal. World-building was also pretty good, and pacing and plot were executed flawlessly along with it. For such a mash-up of sci-fi, magic, and politics, it blended so well that it was quite real. Honestly, in the few times I did take a break I was itching to go back to the story. Brilliant book and high hopes for this series!
Received an ARC from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. Receiving this galley does not affect my opinions or review in any way.
Stupid ending had to be interesting. *grumble grumble*
OKAY SO. Let's talk about RED QUEEN. Red Queen felt about 50% Hunger Games, 15% Throne of Glass, 5% Shadow and Bone, 5% Divergent, 15% original story. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off BUT I just saw soooo much of other series in this book. Honestly, I think it's just because I'm such an avid reader, I've read SO many dystopian novels and now I'm gobbling up fantasy -- I think I'm getting to that point where I can't NOT see other series in a book because there's (cue music) always something there to remind me (end music) of something else.
That being said, I have read many, many books where I haven't seen SO much of another series within the pages. What exactly does that say... I guess maybe this is why RED QUEEN has had the success that is has with the general population. You loved The Hunger Games? You loved Divergent? You loved Throne of Glass? Guess what. This book is ACTUALLY like those and not just sort of similar like all those other recommendations that those book bloggers hand you (ahem). I do appreciate that it reaches a larger audience because fans of those big series are able to see those series and push this book into the hands of their friends who will also see similarities of what they love.
I guess what I'm saying is that it felt like the average dystopian novel combined with the average fantasy novel. I actually really did enjoy it from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that's why I felt like I could know them more intimately -- I had met someone just like them before. But really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I did enjoy it. I think Victoria Aveyard's writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it's gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.
I didn't have ISSUES with the romance but it was kind of all over the place. Not always in a bad way but it's sort of triangle-y but not really but it is but it's not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven't read the book yet. If you have, I think you understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was "supposed" to be on and actually now that I'm finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I mean, okay things changed but remember exactly HOW strong those feelings were? You can't just forget all that.
So why the 3.75/4 star rating? I simply couldn't get past HOW MUCH it felt like other books. I tried to ignore that when I started the book -- I really did -- and for the most part, it didn't bother me until I got further in. Yes, I immediately saw pieces of The Hunger Games in there but then again, what dystopian novel DOESN'T have elements like that? Then I started to see more and more and more similarities and I just couldn't shake that feeling and then I was LOOKING for similarities which isn't good. Again, not saying it was done intentionally or that I thought she was ripping it off -- it just sort of fits a young adult/dystopian/strong heroine/magical elements mold and since that mold was established by other extremely popular YA series, that's what I see.
I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming since my brain was where it was but stupid ending had to be interesting and that's why I'm leaning more towards four stars than rounding down to three. The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn't sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there's a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, "HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book." Of course by that time I was ready to resign myself to more of a 3.5 rating so I was irrationally upset to see it get better haha. (Anyone else do that?)
Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed (GOD it took me the whole review to find the term "cookie-cutter". YES. That's the phrase I wanted.) but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren't anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling!
I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I'm also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I'm definitely interested in more of this story but I'm not sure it'll be an urgent read for me.
And I guess be prepared to read this review on my blog again in a few weeks because I accidentally wrote a whole review when I was supposed to just write reactions. Clearly I had a lot to say. Oops!
Full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 9/4/15: RED QUEEN was a hard book for me to start. At first I was wary of the dystopian feel, then I was afraid of the hype, and then I was afraid of all of the comparisons that popped up as people were reading. The reviews were mixed and my expectations were sort of all over the place… But when I saw that my library had a copy of the audiobook, I thought it would be a great time to start the book and find out for myself!
I can’t sugar coat it… the comparison thing was sort of an issue for me too. RED QUEEN sort of felt like a cookie-cutter dystopian with some fantasy elements and I could not stop the comparisons from popping into my head as I was reading. The Hunger Games feel was very prevalent along with Throne of Glass with a little Divergent and Shadow and Bone. I do read so much and have read so many dystopians that it’s not uncommon to be reminded of another book but RED QUEEN felt too similar at times to the point where I could pick out specific settings, scenes, and characters from other books. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off. I think RED QUEEN really fit into that dystopian mold and sometimes that mold is hard to break. For me, RED QUEEN just didn’t quite break out of that formula.
I wonder if the fact that is was so similar to these other popular series may have boosted its success with the general population. It’s easily pitchable as that true comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent and Throne of Glass and readers who are looking for books just like their favorite series will find that comfort within the pages of RED QUEEN. I know when I first finished The Hunger Games, I really was looking for a book very similar to it and I enjoyed so many other dystopians that I picked up afterwards. I appreciated the differences but I kept on hunting for that one book or series just like it so seeing a similarity in RED QUEEN, I think, makes it easy for fans of big blockbuster series really able to identify with this new series while still enjoying a new world and concept and then they’re also able to pass it along to their friends with the same idea in mind.
That being said, I actually really did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that’s why I felt like I could know them more intimately — I had met someone just like them before — but really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I always felt curious, involved, and excited. I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it’s gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.
I didn’t have issues with the romance but it was kind of all over the place for me. Not always in a bad way… but it’s sort of triangle-y… but not really, but it is, but it’s not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven’t read the book yet. If you have, you may understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was “supposed” to be on and actually now that I’m finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I understand that the situation changed and she was seeing someone in a different light but her feelings were strong and I think it’s hard to switch to the opposite spectrum after that. Even if it is a realistic reaction, it was hard for me as a reader to forget.
Because of the constant reminders of other series, I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the book wrapped up! The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there’s a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, “HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book.” Of course by that time I was ready to for a different ending so it did boost my feelings towards the book but it was almost too little too late to really hook me or wow me.
Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren’t anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling! I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I’m also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I’m definitely interested in more of this story but I’m not sure it’ll be an urgent read for me.
The only reason I read this was because I borrowed it from my friend Renee. The only reason I finished it was because I was on vacation and didn't bring any other books to read (my mistake). I kept putting the book down, complaining to Bear that I was reading a boring book.
For something so action-packed, it is INCREDIBLY DULL. And while it's derivative of all the other YA bestsellers out there, it's not the fact that it's derivative that bothers me so much as I DON'T CARE. There's not a single thing that made me care about any of the characters, especially the eponymous protagonist, who is The Special with unusual powers and three--count 'em, THREE--boys falling in love with her.
The writing is serviceable, but awkward in places. I'll say this about Queen of the Tearling (another boring, mediocre, over-hyped novel): at least the writing was good. This...was just...average in the worst ways. This is writing I've read from teenagers still honing their craft. And while the author herself is young, and I"m sure the awkwardness will pass, it pulled me out of the novel more often than not. My experience reading this book was incredibly disjointed; I kept puttng it down because I was bored and didn't care to read on, and I also kept getting jerked out of the novel by awkward turns of phrase.
And they spent a million dollars on this one. Harper Teen is looking hard to fill that void filled by the ending of Divergent.