by Victoria Aveyard
To be published on February 10, 2015
by Harper Teen
Source: Thanks to Harper for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play 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 everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
My take: I can't say I loved Red Queen, but at the same time, as I read this book, I could see that some other readers will love it. My main issues with it were two: first, I never really connected with Mare, the main character, enough that I became fully invested in the story. Also, as I read, I began to feel that I'd seen different aspects of this book in other YA books.
I can't explain my feelings about Mare. There's nothing that I can point out that was wrong with her, but I never felt emotionally invested in her or any of the characters. And the more I thought about problem two, the more I also began to think that it had something to do with me and the dystopian genre. I love contemporaries and I rarely mind if they use tropes or plot elements that are familiar. Odd couples, fake boyfriends, hate to love relationships -- bring it all on. But in a fantasy or dystopian, I want more creativity. I want to open that kind of book and enter a story world that feels like something I've never experienced before. Other readers may not feel this way at all.
As I read Red Queen, I felt as if I recognized elements of popular YA books. In the whole red blood vs. silver blood world, (the different colored blood did feel original, to be fair) Mare is sort of .... Divergent. She travels from her lowly village to see the rich people in the capital city, a bit like in the Hunger Games. She's a girl who thought she was a commoner, but then discovers she has special powers, a bit like Alina in Shadow and Bone. There's some sort of competition-slash-choosing-ceremony for the hand of the crown prince, which seemed a bit reminiscent of The Selection. There are fights that felt a little like the ones in Divergent, and tongue-cutting for punishment as in the Hunger Games. The time period or location of the world is unclear. There's royalty and a clear have and have not set-up, but not many cultural clues.
There were a lot of pages devoted to setting up a romance. Or romances. At first, Mare seems to have a connection to a boy from her village (think a boy-next-door like Gale or Aspen) but in the capital city, she's soon betrothed to one prince and flirting with another. For me there were too many guys and too much back and forth. I've read conflicting opinions on Goodreads about the romance. Some people feel it is clearly triangular, possibly rectangular, while others insist the book sets up an OTP situation. I'm not really sure -- things could definitely go either way in a future book.
In the last quarter or so of Red Queen, stuff finally started to happen, including a pretty cool plot twist that I didn't see coming. I was pleased about that, but still didn't close the book feeling in love with the story or the characters. But I may get another chance to try: Victoria Aveyard's Goodreads bio says she's a screenwriter and according to news stories, another writer is currently adapting the book into a screenplay. It's definitely possible that I'd enjoy this story more on the screen than on the page, and I'm willing to give it a chance there. And bonus points for this amazing cover!
That seems to be the general consensus for this book: that it borrowed bits and pieces of arches from other books. I might still be able to enjoy it, but I guess it depends on which books it borrowed from.ReplyDelete
Thank you for all the comparisons! I'm interested to see if I'll see the same things when I get to reading this one~ I really love the cover so I might end up buying it just for the cover haha.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this book too and loved the cover and yes I could see the romance ...maybe they need to just work on the world and forget the romance because it muddles the stories sometimes.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed this book, but I feel like I seen it all before, and I really didn't love the romance. However, I think it would be great to see it as a movie.ReplyDelete
This seems to be a love it or hate it kind of book, either way, I think I'm better off waiting for the audiobook. I hope I like this one.ReplyDelete
I wasn't gaga over this book, but it entertained me and you are right - the good stuff really started happening at the end.ReplyDelete
Kate @ Ex Libris
I have been wanting to read this one for a while, ever since I saw the cover months ago and read the blurb. I'm hoping I'm one of those that loves it. :)ReplyDelete
The reviews on this one are so incredibly mixed! I'm really hoping I end up loving it even if it appears I will most likely not..ReplyDelete
Seriously, the reviews on this book are a mess, so mixed I cannot decide whether to read it or not! xDReplyDelete
Ps. I have a blog as well, written both in English and Italian. I'd love if you stopped by :) -> http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.com/
I didn't connect with the MC either. And definitely felt this was a mish mosh of a lot of stories I have read before. The plot line certainly had the potential to be original, but with all the similar ideas of other books it didn't hit the mark for me. I absolutely see Divergent and The Hunger Games in this, no doubt. And the love "quadrangle", yeah, I think the romance could have been left out all together and it would have made the book stronger. Great review!ReplyDelete
I've been wondering about this book after seeing it on your sidebar; I think the mixed reaction is just too much for me. Given my shorter attention span, I really want to focus on the best out there!ReplyDelete
Great review, but I would never last long enough for it to get "better" at the end of the book. If it doesn't grab me by the first three chapters (actually two) i quit reading! Like you said though that cover is FANTASTIC!ReplyDelete
I have heard kind of mixed reviews for this one but I am still looking forward to it. :)ReplyDelete
Huh, this book intrigued me, but now I'm not so sure. I don't like when I can see other YA books meshed together... Also, the romance doesn't sound that great either. I will have to put reading this one on the fence for now. Great review, it certainly helps to see what I may or may not like about this book.ReplyDelete
It seems this story hasn't been working for a lot of people and that makes me sad because I am looking forward to reading it but considering what you mentioned about the book's similarities to other popular dystopia, I am slightly worried :(ReplyDelete
I am sorry this didn't work out for you as much as you wanted it to, Jen! :(
Lovely review though!
Rashika @ The Social Potato
Yeah, it was the cover that drew me in at first, but based on your review, it doesn't seem so original anymore. But honestly, it kinda makes me want to read this more and see how much of Divergent and THG and the other books are there.ReplyDelete
I am dying to read this book!Red Queen carried around a lot of hype even before it's released,and though I've seen a lot of mixed reviews by now,I am eager to give this one a try.ReplyDelete
Great review,by the way!
This one has been high on my list. I have heard mixed reviews. I'm still going to give it a try. The multiple romance options will probably bother me. I don't like flighty characters. I like them to definitely lean towards one thing or another and stick to it, so we'll see.ReplyDelete