If I could have dedicated more time to this book and read it a little faster than I did, I would have. Because, oh my God… let’s get to this review of The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
Our main character is Mare Barrow and she lives in a new world that is separated by blood. If you have red blood, you’re a lowly pleb like myself. You serve, you live in poverty, you face many challenges, your family can get sent to war in an instant, and you’re a plain old human. If you have silver blood, you could be royalty, you’re definitely Lords and Ladies, you are taken care of by Red Bloods, you are given quality jobs and work, and you have powers. Think Hunger Games world with X-Men abilities.
That’s the initial issues I had with the first chapters of this book: here’s another Katniss watching an arena game of torture, while hanging out with her fellow poor Red Blood male friend who she probably likes more than a friend. I’m also one of those weirdos who didn’t like Hunger Games the book (I didn’t like Katniss at all and didn’t care if she lived or died; she read so boring), so I was hoping not to get another Hunger Games.
Thankfully after a few chapters, the story developed into its own creative genius. It wasn’t just Hunger Games anymore; it was so much more complicated than that.
Mare is on that precipice for me of being a Katniss to me, and being a Lyra (The Golden Compass), who I do like. She’s a bit of a self-centred punk, but she has good and just intentions. Also, she should learn to trust her intuition a little more, because foolish female characters anger me. Don’t worry – she wasn’t foolish in the least. I actually found her to be a very strong and powerful female lead, but I had to remind myself that she’s just a teenager as well. She was clearly a feminist force to be reckoned with, and you know I dig that! I feel like this book didn’t really give me a perfectly rounded picture of who this girl is, and I’m hoping the next books in the series might do that. I can’t fully imagine her, but I do know that I like her.
But I don’t like the arena fights. Every time there was an arena fight in this book, I was bored and counting the remainder of the pages to the next chapter. I know that’s strange considering the focus on those fights is to emphasize the powers of the Silvers, but meh. They read “bored” to me. They read too slow.
The arena scenes were most definitely the only slow parts of the book. Every chapter ended with something exciting that had me wanting to read on. This is bad if you’re trying to savour a book, or if you have a lot to do in your day – haha! I was constantly excited to read on. The book had me hooked at every chapter, right until the last line of the epilogue.
Let’s talk about those endings, spoiler free (but not hint free… so careful).
First, there was one twist that I actually anticipated from the very beginning and that’s because of the way Aveyard wrote the character. She was trying to be honest and descriptive, but it came off as silly, and that’s where I got the impression that Mare was a little foolish. I didn’t like that image of her, and I certainly think she’s smarter than that.
There were three other twists at the end of this book (omg twist central!) that I didn’t expect, and some even had my mouth drop and my eyes well up with tears. Like I said: this book has you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book but now I’m in trouble, because I want to dive into the next books in the series! And then the world will disappear in an instant! I always do that with series I love…
Pros: powerful feminist female lead, not typical stupid love-triangle, love the magic powers, had me on the edge of my seat until the end, great writing
Cons: unnecessary foolishness of Mare at times, slow beginning, boring arena matches
I HOPE THEY TURN THIS INTO A MOVIE!
I think I’ll make myself sit tight with continuing the series until I finish those other books I bought (which I’m also really looking forward to reading) and I got my first book from an independent writer to review, so that’s extremely exciting! It’s called Melody’s Key by Dalas Coryell. I will be reading it along side The Forgetting by Cameron.
What did you think of Red Queen? Or if you haven’t read it, has my review coaxed you into doing so? Let me know in the comments!