Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Victoria Aveyard
February 10, 2015
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart. - from Goodreads
This book has been on my radar for awhile.  The gorgeous cover really caught my eye, and there's so much hype out there (20,000+ reviews on Goodreads already, with an overall rating of over 4 stars!).  So I was really looking forward to Red Queen, but unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed.

It started out pretty good: Mare seemed more sarcastic, more bitter than most YA heroines.  I thought she had real personality, and I had hope that she wouldn't fall for the typical YA clichés, but eventually she did.  Like, even though she is a pickpocket and thus light and quick on her feet, she doesn't know how to dance, leading to some inevitable scenes of Prince Cal teaching her.  And that love triangle?  Or square?  Mare develops feelings for both Prince Cal and Prince Maven, plus her maybe-maybe not relationship with her best friend, Kilorn, who just happens to be a gorgeous guy, and they all, of course, seem to have feelings for her, too.  Too much!  Although truthfully, when I was 17, I probably crushed on every guy who smiled at me, too.

Anyway... I liked watching Mare learn how to survive in her new royal world after growing up in poverty, especially with her newly discovered powers.  She is smart and quick on her feet.  I wish there had been more world-building, though - I wanted to know more about the Scarlet Guard and where they came from; I wanted to know why the Reds and Silvers became so segregated (would a Red-Silver marriage ever happen?).

I was happily surprised by the twist ending of the book - none of the characters acted in the way I expected them to.  So even though I'm not a huge fan of the current YA trend of every book being part of a series, I think I would continue reading to see where it goes and hopefully learn more about the world introduced in Red Queen.

3 stars - For YA enthusiasts.  Overall, this is a quick, fun read with an interesting premise that I hope gets fleshed out more in the next installment.

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