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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

YA Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen
Book #: 1
Pages: 320
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 4.11
Published: February 10th, 2015
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?
Taschima's POV:
"They taint me, tease me, trying to make me crack. But I won't. I won't."
I am seriously divided in my rating here, because I seriously liked some aspects of Red Queen but at the same time during most of the middle of the book I was a bit bored. I guessed all the major "twists" in the plot from a mile away so it kind of threw a wet blanket on my reading experience. But then you get to the ending and it gets so exciting again, it made me want to pick up the sequel. So a solid 3 stars, good entertaining book that shouldn't be so damn obvious.
"A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they've written a tragedy.
Mare Barrow is a girl down on her luck who feels like the only way to be useful to her family is to steal in order to put food on the table. She has no aspirations, and no time for dreams. Even if she did it wouldn't matter in the world she is from. You either are an apprentice or you are sent to fight in the war (where a death sentence is a sure thing). The Silvers (superior humans who have "powers") control her world and there is nothing to do but try and survive. That is until the day Mare, a Red, finds out she has super powers as well in front of a stadium full of Silvers. In order to cover up the Red's powers the Silver monarchy decide to give Mare a fairy tale story- she is now a long lost princess, daughter to a most respected general who died at war, who had been living under the roof of a Red her entire life. Sounds like a dream, only is anything but. Mare has tons of enemies, people who want to see her crash and burn, and only keeping quiet and acting the part might save her life. What IS Mare? Where do her powers come from? Will she find the strength within herself to survive the Silver world?
"I'm an accident. I'm a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion."
Red Queen has a lot of the underlying YA tropes that we have all sort of come to expect. Love triangle (total check), main character who is extra special with a cherry on top (check), from poor to riches effect (check), bitchy/evil other girl who is that way just because she is born this way (check), all males want to bone the main character (check... well, at least 3 main ones want to). So it isn't completely original, but at the same time you can use these tropes and create a completely new story. Red Queen sort of did this, only I needed a little more explanation regarding the races (I have a ton of questions about the Silvers, their history, where DO they come from? Are they aliens from outer space--doubtful since they aren't very tech savy-- or are they angels, or gods? WHAT ARE THEY, and why do they have silver blood? Do they menstruate silver? Maybe a gross comment but it plays into my questioning of the story).

The only thing that seems to distinguish the Silvers from the Reds (other than the super powers) is that the Silvers bleed Silver and Reds bleed Red. So the story they use to cover up Mare's childhood to other Silvers is faulty in that it stands to reason Mare should have bled (one way or the other) at least ONCE in her life. And once she bled, everybody, including herself, would instantly know she was different. So why didn't the Silvers who were questioning her question this ONE fact? Why didn't they demand she bleed in front of them? Because it would have ended the ruse too quickly and destroyed the story. So I chilled out and tried to look past this obvious piece of information.
"The Mare Barrow of last week wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry at this version of herself. But she was a foolish girl and now I pay the price."
I liked Mare for the most part, which is why I liked the story so much. She reminds me of Katniss in a way, all about survival and she obviously hates the capitol monarchy. Her attitude I guess reminded me of Katniss. Also she has a fight inside her. My one concern when it comes to her is that she was able to be fooled so easily, she trusts too quickly and she let her emotions get the best of her in a number of parts. But then if she had questioned the obvious bad guy early on then we wouldn't have much of a story... And here is where the problem lies.

I knew who the bad guy was from the get go. I knew, and found myself questioning the intelligence of my main character because it seemed too damn obvious. By the end of the book however we are back on the same page, Mare and I, which is why I think the sequel stands a chance. For the most part I enjoyed learning about the different powers, and the characters are complicated and not so black and white. Both princes in the story are more than meets the eye, and they are both not perfect. I also enjoyed the character of Gisa, Mare's sister, who is just as awesome as Mare is (if not more). She reminds me of Prim, only older and with more snark. I liked that Gisa was her own woman, and I hope to read more from her character in the subsequent novels.

For new YA readers the Red Queen is a great introduction to the YA universe. It has good characters, good writing, an interesting premise, and the world building was better than most I've seen lately. To YA veterans you might think Red Queen is something that you may have read before (elements of Hunger Games, Pawn, Red Rising, etc) but it still has its own spark that makes the series worth picking up and giving it a go.  I am definitely curious to read the next titles and see where the story goes.

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