Saturday, 21 February 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion
Released: February 12th 2015
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
(from Goodreads)

I...loved this book. I don't even know how to write this review. It was just amazing. Go read it. Seriously. I haven't liked a book this much in a while.

So before I started this book, I was super, super excited for it. When I first read the summary I knew it was something I had to read, it just sounded awesome. So when I saw it on NetGalley I was SO happy, I requested it straight away and practically cried with joy when I was approved. So needless to say I had some high expectations, and honestly, I was not disappointed.

First of all, Mare was such a brilliant character. Half the reason this book was so good was because of Mare. She perhaps didn't stand out in a big way like other characters in popular YA, but I really do think the book wouldn't have been as good if Mare weren't the main character. I just loved her dry and sarcastic sense of humour, and the way the narration came across because of that - it was so witty at times! I liked the way she was always suspicious of the King and the Queen - she knew they could kill her at any time if they wanted and didn't trust the promises they offered. I also liked the fact that she was willing to risk so much for her family. I could sort of understand her feelings at the start; she was overshadowed by her younger sibling who was much more talented than she was and was the one the family was proud of, whereas Mare was always looked down upon for stealing, even though she was the only reason the family could afford to get by. But after everything that happened, Mare was willing to do whatever necessary to keep her family (and her friend) safe, even if it meant abiding by the King and Queen's rules. She lived in a cruel world and she knew she had limited options. Her powers were definitely interesting as well. They worked differently to regular Silver powers and I liked learning more about them through her lessons with Julian and also through her physical training. I do think the plan to pass Mare off as a Silver was very flawed - did they really expect the masses to believe this girl had never bled for 17 years? And she was at risk of bleeding and showing the true colour of her blood in training! But as the book went on it seemed to be less about making the people believe and more about keeping them quiet and you could tell there was definitely something sinister going on behind the scenes.

Regarding Maven and Cal - well I can't say much without spoiling the whole book. But for a lot of the book I was torn. I was suspicious of them both throughout - especially Maven, being the son of creepy mind-controlling Queen Elara and all - but at the same time, Victoria Aveyard managed to make me feel sorry for them both. Maven because, much like Mare, he was overshadowed by his brother; the Crown Prince who was better at everything, who was favoured by their father, who was the one who everybody loved, who was always chosen over him. He was bitter. And Cal, well Cal had no freedom. He was being forced to marry a woman he barely liked, he was always on show, always having to live up to his father's expectations. He didn't want revolution, he was too afraid of the war change might cause - and that was where he and Mare really differed (and I have to say I agreed with Mare. How could Cal possibly stand for the horrific injustices that occurred? How could he not want change if he disagreed with it so much?). He was sympathetic, but unwilling. Though I am intrigued to see if his mind will change in the next book. Mare clearly knew real suffering and didn't want to be part of such inequality. I don't know how much she influenced Cal, but I think out of the two, they had the best chemistry and I hope that Cal steps up because that's the only way I would like them to end up together. Ahhhh I honestly cannot wait for book two!

Plot-wise, I loved everything. Some parts were slightly predictable but I think you get that in every book. Red Queen differed from quite a few books in the sense that Mare actually played quite a direct role in the rebellion, as opposed to being a figurehead or motivational speaker or something. People died because of what Mare did, and even if it was for what she considered the greater good, even if she did regret it later, she had to live with that. I also liked the way certain actions affected Mare's relationships with some of the secondary characters (who were pretty much all fleshed out and not just random filler people), like Lucas (who I really liked) and Julian. And the ending, wow. Even though I was expecting something of the sort to happen, it was still thrilling and I could not stop reading. I finished this book at like, 2am, because I couldn't put it down. And after that ending, well. I just need the next book. I don't know how I'm going to wait, honestly.

I've probably missed out loads of things and I definitely haven't done this book justice, so all I can say to you is read it. Read this book. It is the best first book in a series that I have read in ages, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

4 comments:

  1. I'm excited to read this one. The cover caught my attention and the summary sounds great. Now that you liked it I'm even more excited.

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  2. Yay I'm so glad to hear this was such a great read. I picked up a copy of this at ALA midwinter so now I want to dive in. There have been some conflicting reviews but most of them have been on the positive side.
    Thanks for the great review!

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  3. I cannot decide whether to read this or not, there are so many mixed reviews out there :(

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  4. I adored this book! Glad to see you enjoyed it too! Now bring on the sequel!

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