Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

April 7, 2015 Review 44 ★★★

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Orion
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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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 . . .

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bec (2)

Well, RED QUEEN was a bit of a roller coaster read. I liked it, then I hated it, then I liked it again. There were so many things I liked about the story and the world, and then the things that made me want to throw my Kindle across the room. I feel like the best way to approach this review would be to explain my journey through RED QUEEN, starting with the first 70%.

This first part of RED QUEEN was the part I quite enjoyed. The first chapter brings the action, after a bit of Mare’s (neigh) family history, and introduces us to the harsh world. The world was written to be dark and shocking, and it was really horrifying at times. The coolest part of the world was the Silvers. Not because they were nice people, most of them are despicable human beings. But their powers. There’s what is essentially elemental bending like you’d see in Avatar, people who can compel others with their voice, control minds, heal, and so much more.  Powers makes it easy for the Silvers to oppress the Reds, which helps the dystopian setting of the novel. What dystopian would be complete without a harsh government to rebel against?

Another thing that impressed me sometimes was the writing. Every now and then I’d come across an awesome passage. The words just resonated, were badass, made your blood boil and heart sing. There were also times when cliched lines were delivered unfortunately, but the great moments in writing outweighed the annoying for the most part.

And now it’s time to talk about what happened after the 70% mark to piss me off. This may get a bit ranty, just a warning. Much of this annoyance has to do with Mare herself and the romance.

What first started to piss me off was some of the convenience that came along with Mare’s plans. She managed to achieve things which really should not have been so easy. For example View Spoiler » Then there’s the Mare’s indecision when it comes to Cal.

Cal was probably my favourite character in RED QUEEN, and one of the few decent Silver characters. He sneaks into Red villages undercover to listen to what the Reds are saying- what’s hurting them, what improvement they would like to their way of life, etc. He meets Mare when he’s visiting her village after she tries to pick his pocket and instead of turning her in, he gives her money then organises a job for her as a servant so she won’t be conscripted. Yet Mare is convinced that he is just like his father View Spoiler » Seriously, his actions say he’s a decent guy, even if he has to follow orders that sometimes make it seem not so. Mare is just so dense and obviously not observant. I mean there’s that line where Cal says something like  “I can’t just sit by and let others fight for me” in regards to fighting in the war View Spoiler ». So obviously Mare’s thought in response was “He sounds like a child whining for a toy–he must enjoy killing.”

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These thoughts don’t stop Mare from kissing and pining after him… Then hating him again. Then being pleased when he shakes of his betrothed then hating and UGH. GURL, MAKE UP YOUR MIND. This indecisiveness is part of the romance too, which featured cliched lines and much eye rolling from me. There is more than one love interest and I am not a fan of any of the possible relationships. At all.

Then there’s the part that made me lose my respect for Mare. She joined a terrorist group to help overthrow the government. They plan events where people are going to die and there will be collateral damage. Yet after the event she refuses to learn the names of everyone who died because she doesn’t want it weighing her down. This pissed me of so much. You don’t rebel without death, and if you can’t face the consequences of such actions you shouldn’t have joined a terrorist group, honey. 

I was so worried that the remainder of the book was going to piss me off more and more with ever page. Fortunately there was a great plot development at around the 85 or 90% mark. After that, everything improved drastically. It wasn’t a shocking development, but one I’m glad happened because if it went the other way I would have stopped reading I think. It  helped explain some of the convenience of the annoying part. Action starts again and there’s betrayal, death, the whole shebang. People call Mare out on her stupidity which was needed, and there’s some awesome fight scenes. RED QUEEN really was redeemed by the plot in this last part.

RED QUEEN started off great, with the harsh world and the powers of the Silvers. Unfortunately there were parts in the middle that let me down. Mare got on my nerves with her indecisiveness and stupidity, there was annoying romance, and many things seemed to happen way too conveniently. It almost made me put the book down but the big plot twist near the end was enough to redeem RED QUEEN.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 2.8

44 Responses to “Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard”

    • Bec

      Yeah, it’s a book you’ll have to make your own mind up about. There’s a lot of conflicting opinions.

  1. Frannie Pan @ In Clouds of Pages

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it that much :(
    There are so many mixed reviews on this book and it’s literally everywhere, it’s making me nauseous! Before deciding if I want to read it or not I think I’ll be waiting a few more months, until the buzz goes out :/
    Frannie Pan @ In Clouds of Pages recently posted…Meeting Jennifer Niven!

    • Bec

      The buzz didn’t help with this. I had higher expectations, but at least I liked it in the end.

  2. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    Nice review, Bec! I felt similar about this book. I could not stand Mare, especially her hipocrisy and the fact that she wasnt able to face concequences of her actions. I am not even mentioning her pinning for two brothers…
    Unfortunatelly, the ending did not save this book for me. I guessed The twist early on so it did nothing to better my opinion about this book :/
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…BLURB LOVE #2

    • Bec

      Thanks!

      Ugh she got so annoying.

      Aw that’s a shame :( I guessed/suspected the twist too (the amount they foreshadowed was ridiculous) but really liked what it led to and the final action sequence

    • Bec

      I can understand why it’s hyped up, but at the same times there’s better books out there that don’t receive nearly as much praise. It’s till good and the series has a lot of potential.

  3. Sara L.

    It’s been interesting to see the range of opinions about Red Queen. I was kind of interested in reading it… But after reading some reviews where readers loved everything about the book, and other reviews where readers pointed out a bunch of things that I know would annoy me if I read it as well, I think I’m going to skip this one.

    I’m also super-wary about books getting lots of hype. That’s happening right now with An Ember In The Ashes, which I do want to read. Hopefully that one will turn out OK.
    Sara L. recently posted…Recent Reads: “Shadow Scale” by Rachel Hartman

    • Bec

      It has been such a wide range. Some of the things people loved about it I hated. It’s weird.

      Hype is always scary. I’m not too worried about Ember in the Ashes though because the first time I heard about it was when Laini Taylor recommended it at Brisbane Writer’s Festival so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good :)

    • Bec

      I’m glad you enjoyed most of it! There were some really great moments. I hope book two has more of those really good plot scenes and not frustrating ones :)

      Thanks!

    • Bec

      Yeah you probably won’t like Mare’s tossing and turning between guys (there’s at least 3) but you will hopefully appreciate the plot and the characters!

    • Bec

      The action scene at the end and what it set up is the reason I’m going to read the next book. The potential is there and I just hope there’s less annoying things to come.

  4. benish

    YES, nailed it with your review! I’m with you on this – There were some parts that I did like especially the romance and the ending xD The fantasy aspect was great as well, but Mare is such a stupid character sometimes, and most of the time this book was all talk and less plot :/ Hope your next book is a hit for you, thank you for sharing an honest review )
    benish recently posted…ARC Review: The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston ♥

  5. Nova @ Out of Time

    Oh, sorry to hear that you didn’t like Mare. I, personally, really liked her and was able to connect with her and I think that’s why I gave this book such a high rating. If you don’t like Mare, the story probably won’t be more than three stars, at least, that’s what I’ve seen for like all of the reviews of RQ.

    The plot twist was amazing, wasn’t it? It hit me like a truck and I really want to see where things go next.

    Awesome review
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…Snap Decisions and Doing What YOU Want with Maggie Hall

    • Bec

      Yeah, I found it really hard to connect with Mare which made it harder. But I’m glad you loved it so much!

      I sort of suspected the twist so wasn’t too impressed, but I love the direction it made the story take and the things that have come from it.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      There are a lot of mixed opinions. I think the only way to decide if you’ll like it or not is to read it.

  6. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Yeah, the big plot twist was what redeemed the book for me as well, but that doesn’t save me from the cliche lines, the love triangle and Mare’s inconsistency and indecisiveness. I thought it was weird how the “love interest” was presented in such a negative, contradictory light as well. Too much foreshadowing. Great review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Review: Friendship, Magic and Murder

    • Bec

      The level of foreshadowing was ridiculous and made it too easy for me to predict the betrayal. And gah the romance made me want to hit my head on a wall. I’m hoping book 2 improves the story because the plot has so much potential.

  7. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I love your review for this one Bec^^ Most of the reviews I’ve read are middling but I think yours is the best because I feel more prepared now to get into this one…like what will be good and what will (likely) piss me off too. Everything you ranted about here will surely make me feel the same way but at least now I know to be ready for it AND that it gets better after that. The world and the magical powers sound right up my alley but the romance, does not. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin things for me and that I’ll be able to enjoy (most) of the ride like you did. Fantastic review! xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Dealing with Dragons

    • Bec

      I thought she would have known better -_- If only the plot of the whole book could have been as interesting and engaging as the ending

  8. Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    Great review Bec :) I actually ended up enjoying this one way more than I had expected to – and despite the fact that yes, it did have some of those typical dystopian characteristics, the political intrigue and subtle developments which came along the way kept me interested. I can’t wait for the next book after that cliffhanger!
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…Discussion: Found In Translation

  9. Tara-Lee

    I have heard good things about Red Queen. I am very shy when it comes to fantasy because I feel like nothing will compare to Harry Potter. The Vampire Academy was the last fantasy book series I read and while I got hooked into the world, it just wasn’t the same. Have you read any books by Sarah Maas? I have heard good things about her fantasy series.
    Tara-Lee recently posted…SPRING BOOK HAUL!

    • Bec

      Meanwhile pretty much all I read is fantasy so I know the good ones XD

      I LOVE SARAH J MAAS’S BOOKS. All of them are really good and Throne of Glass is probably my favourite fantasy series at the moment (each book gets better and better). It’s a lot more epic fantasy than HP and VA though, which were based in magical/paranormal versions of our world.

  10. Faye M.

    Haha, oh, Bec! Your review definitely made me chuckle ands smile. I honestly didn’t notice your observations before regarding Mare’s treatment of Cal, and I thought to myself and found that you have very valid points and now I feel like hitting her head with a mallet :P It really was stupid to keep thinking what she thought if his numerous actions kept proving her otherwise. I mean, okay, she led a different life, but I guess the way how she was so insistent on believing otherwise without no valid reason I guess kinda made it annoying.
    Faye M. recently posted…Random Things in Motion #16: Why is Fantasy so White and Straight?

    • Bec

      It was so annoying to read omg. Even if she led a different life, you’d think she’d be able to be a bit more open minded, especially when he kept putting himself in dangerous situations and helping her -__-

  11. Romi

    Okay… so this has got me even more intrigued about this story, Bec. I had feelings that I’d find more than a few issues with Mare (neigh?) and your review makes me think I’m almost certainly going to get annoyed at her, but that, here, isn’t enough to turn me off wanting to read it, which it would, sometimes. I think the beginning sounds excellent, hopefully the middle isn’t too much of a struggle for me, and the ending… well the ending sounds totally brilliant.
    Excellent review, Bec! Loved reading your thoughts and am sure I’ll agree with most of your feelings on this book, when I eventually get to reading it. Xxx
    Romi recently posted…Adorkable (audiobook review) by Sara Manning…

    • Bec

      If you can get past Mare’s annoyingness, it isn’t actually a bad book. There are some great scenes scattered throughout.

      Thanks :)

  12. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    I enjoyed this book but some parts really bugged me. I think I gave this one a 3.5 stars. I saw that plot twist a mile away, and what really bugged me is that this book was so similar to other dystopia/fantasy books + those slogans were being repeated so many times that it became annoying. What I liked though is that I could not stop reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen at the end. Cal is my favorite character too! I think he was the one I could relate the most.
    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted…Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

    • Bec

      Yep those were my problems too. It is good that it kept you engaged, even if you could guess things! Cal was a sweetheart compared to the rest of them.

  13. Yani @ Paper Boulevard

    This is 2.8 for you? AAAHHH! Why is it when the books I adore so much and rated 4 stars or so are being reviewed with ratings of 3 stars down? :( Anyway, I enjoyed this book so much. Sorry if you’re not into it. We have different opinions and on how we enjoy the book. :)
    Yani @ Paper Boulevard recently posted…Book Tour: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

    • Bec

      We all have different tastes and there were elements of Red Queen that just really irritated me. I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

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