Published February 10, 2015 · HarperTeen
GOODREADS · THE BOOK DEPOSITORY · AMAZON
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.
From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
Red Queen is one of those novels I’ve been looking forward to since before the cover was released. The synopsis was on point; everything about it sounded deliciously brutal and the world-building utterly unique. Then the gorgeous cover was revealed and the deal was sealed. There was no question I had to read it, so imagine my excitement when I finally got my hands on a copy.
Unfortunately, that was pretty much the peak of my enthusiasm for Red Queen. After reading it… my feelings are undoubtedly mixed. While the world was still fascinating and the plot somewhat interesting, Mare, the main character, was rather annoyingly – to put it lightly. Aveyard’s writing style was also inconsistent; there would occasionally be wonderful quotes but most of the time, it came off amateurish.
“You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won’t lead you anywhere you want to go.”
– p. 143
But back to Mare. I would love to slap her for everything she’s done in the novel. Despite claiming that she has no time for romance, all her decisions were heavily influenced by her feelings her the two Silver princes in her life. Moreover, she seemed to believe everything the people around her said, although she grew up in an environment that should’ve trained her to be suspicious of everyone.
Mare’s also all talk yet no action – but what little action she did take only made things worse. What was most ironic, however, was that at the end of the novel, she became everything she claimed to despise. Awesome.
While the world-building was far from the mess that was Mare, it does take a little getting used to. Despite being classified a fantasy novel, Aveyard chose to include modern technology in Red Queen, something that rarely happens. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly sure if this decision benefits the novel because I was left wondering for some time whether it was truly fantasy, or futuristic marketed as fantasy.
On the flip side, the action and brutality in the novel was intense and captivating. Every battle was nail-bitingly exhilarating, as if you’re watching them in real life. However, there was one battle midway through the story that made me want to hurl the book at a wall. I don’t want to spoil you guys so all I’ll say is metal is a darn conductor of electricity and hence it’s obvious which has the advantage.
Moving on from the mini-science lesson, the ending of the book was thankfully – or not so thankfully since it tempted me to continue this trilogy which might end up driving me off a cliff – redeeming. With the number of bridges burned, it was a relief to see that no one was dancing around the campfire with their new allies; that would’ve been awfully unrealistic. The far from happy ending also opened a number of exciting possibilities of where the story would go.
Whether I would stick around to witness those possibilities it currently undecided. While I’m too curious to go, I definitely don’t like Red Queen enough to stay – especially if Mare keeps on making childish decisions. The rest of the characters, on the other hand, are fascinating enough to tempt me to put up with her – especially the shocking true villain and a not-very-bright prince.