by Victoria Aveyard (Goodreads, Website, Twitter)
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Format: Paperback (388 pages)
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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 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.
Ever felt cheated when it comes to reading a book? That's what I'm feeling now that I've finished Red Queen. Frankly speaking, I got lured into the hype and I regret that I even dared to venture into reading this book. Now, don't get me wrong. Victoria Aveyard's writing was good, and the concept, although unoriginal (the typical dystopian novel), seemed intriguing, but boy, I was wrong.
Basically, Red Queen... was boring... and was literally Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, with a little bit of Kiera Cass' The Selection. The instant I began to notice numerous parallels that go in line with Collins' famous dystopian trilogy, I immediately felt gypped. Now, I have nothing against books that were inspired by others, but there must be at least something that would make it stand out from all the rest. But Red Queen—other than the superpowers and the whole kingdom and royalty shebang and a little bit of a twist in the setup—was basically a mere carbon copy.
In the world of Red Queen, we have the Reds (the poor people) and Silvers (which is basically the "Capitol" but with supernatural powers). Mare Barrow is pretty much a second-rate Katniss Everdeen. She risks her life (by being a thief) in order to feed her family, has a mature younger sister and a guy best friend whom she's willing to risk her life for. Similar to the Reaping, [Red Queen] has an event called the "Conscription" in which jobless 18 year olds are sent to fight to war. What does Mare suggest she and her best friend do? Run away. Sounds familiar, right?
Then follows a series of events that leads Mare to be given "royal treatment" at the palace, upon pretence in order to protect the Silvers' reputation, and in addition, to use her as a distraction to prevent the Reds from their supposed "uprising rebellion". There's also an arranged marriage and a ridiculous love triangle (or square, rather).
The characters were unappealing. Mare Barrow was the typical underdog YA heroine, who also turns out to be the "only hope" of mankind and the key that will lead the whole rebellion to victory. Nothing new. Her supposed "badass" demeanor just appeared immature and selfish to me. Plus the fact that she suddenly hand a change of heart when the boys came into the scenario.
Ah, the boys. Mare is thrust in a love square so ridiculous that it just made my head hurt. There's the best friend who's been with her since childhood, the incredibly indecisive crowned prince and the overly envious younger prince with daddy issues. Of course, as usual, it's very obvious who she would end up with, anyway.
Then there's the infamous betrayal scene that everyone has been raving about. I, for one, was excited for this scene to come because I was so bored out of my wits, I needed action. Sure enough, past 60% of the novel, we start to get glimpses of the promised war between the two races, but it wasn't enough. Then came the betrayal scene, which I already had figured out at a few chapters in as to who the traitor could possibly be. The execution, however, was not bad at all, but the gigantic plot twist appeared at the very near end of the novel and hastened which made it appear a little anticlimactic.
But hey, I'm not a massive YA fantasy reader, which was my reason to pick this novel up. I'm not going to say this novel may have ruined my experience with the genre, but I do confess I may have now become a little iffy as opposed my original enthusiasm to dwell in this genre. Obviously, this book isn't for everyone, and I am one of the minority that claims this book had merely been a waste of time. But if you're into typical YA fantasy centered on romance, well this might turn out to be your favorite.