Title: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Publication date: February 10, 2015
Synopsis: Mare Barrow is a Red, which means she’s a servant of the Silver’s who run her society. Her whole life she has been nothing more than a thief until a chance encounter lands her with what seems like a great gig in the Silver palace. One problem, some very suspect abilities land her on the proverbial chopping block. Now, she has to do whatever she can to keep her head attached to her shoulders, even if it means betraying someone she loves.
I’ve been waiting for this book to hit shelves for months. MONTHS. It was really hyped up and I wasn’t sure if it was going to actually live up to it. Early reviews were mixed and I wanted to like this so much that I was very nervous to start reading it. I ended up absolutely loving this book. Personally, I had a hard time getting past the first few chapters, but once I did I was absolutely hooked and couldn’t put this book down. The marketing for this book was Graceling meets The Selection, and if you are banking on that I’d throw those thoughts out the window. “Red Queen,” is not like either of those books, in fact, I think the only thing it has in common with The Selection is the fact that there is a marriage situation going on that is semi-similar if you squint your eyes and look really closely. There are some major ? moments in the book, but there were also some really strong moments. Mostly, I left feeling some mixed emotions.
What I liked: I know some people have talked about the slowness of the book, but I honestly loved that I got to interact and understand the world before we really jumped into the action. This book is fraught with political perils and enough life-threatening danger to make it heart-wrenchingly intense. I chose to engage with this plot from the viewpoint of it’s discussion of family dynamics. Maybe I’m the only one who sees that, but the connection that Mare has with her family is what I saw to be at the core of this book, not the love rectangle which I had SEVERE issues. Every twist and turn eventually leads Mare back to the people that matter to her the most, and it was refreshing to see this play out against the backdrop of both a revolution and a romance. This was the real sparkling point of this book for me. I only wish that we’d seen more of Mare’s actual family rather than her interactions with the royal family.
What I didn’t like: Honestly, I was not feeling the romance. I wanted to be more invested in it, but I didn’t feel like it was developed enough in this first installment to cause too much investment. Also, I felt the “major betrayal” coming a mile away. While I enjoyed the books there were certainty moments where I felt it was a tad on the trite side. I’m hoping to see a little more depth in book two.
Overall, this was a great read. For me, it certainty lived up to the hype and after a slow start I found myself totally engaged. I enjoyed the plot and the action and cannot wait for the next installment. Though I felt the romance was a tad weak, the action was high, and the prose was lovely 3/5