Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Genre: Young Adult - SciFi - Dystopia

Summary: Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except... her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

Review: Aside from the acclaim, I picked this one up because Victoria Aveyard is a local author for me, so chalk one up for hometown pride!
I was taken by surprise by how much I loved this book! The premise seemed very typical: a poor girl who lives by thieving wants nothing more than to protect her best friend Kilorn (Gale?) and sister Gisa (Prim?) from the upper class Silver government. Just when she's at the end of her line--Gisa can no longer work and Killian is drafted for the war--she is whisked away to work in the castle, and from there she stumbles into a royal deception: that she's a princess.

Pretty typical, right? But Aveyard crafted a really intricate world with exciting characters and somehow managed to sidestep most cliches that she pulled up.

To fall back on the Hunger Games comparison, Mare's saving grace as a main character is a lot like Katniss: she doesn't want any of the things that are happening to her. When she shows up in court and [spoiler]. While she is passionate about the rebel cause and the lives of her people, the life of a princess and [spoiler].

Speaking of the princes, they were written well, too. Cal seems like he was going to be the all perfect love interest, but there is a balance between him being a genuinely good person and being the crowned prince of an oppressive ruling class. Major props to Aveyard for not taking the easy way out, because while Cal understands the struggle of the Reds, he understands that he as a future ruler can't go all out in resisting the current system which obviously creates some tension for potential love story.

Maven, Maven, Maven. I won't dwell too much on him except to say plot arc well handled. He's a really multi-dimensional character, and while I saw a lot of his story coming, it still created suspense and moved the plot along without *making* the plot happen, if you know what I mean.

I liked the Red Guard, but I wasn't as wowed as I could have been. Politically, they were great. Activists with a very specific goal and a code of morality relating to how they go about it. Just as far as characters, they felt very dropped in. Considering the role they played, the people themselves fell flat. Maybe they're more so setups for the next book? [spoiler]

Added bonus: These were some badass names without being tacky!

Obviously with my four star rating I cannot WAIT for the next book. With the way things left off, I honestly have no idea what's coming next and it's going to kill me to wait until 2016 to find out!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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