Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperTeen on February 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Anyone can betray anyone.
This book is everywhere. This book is one of the biggest books of 2015 and the book that is tied for that spotlight is Ember in the Ashes.
I’m further behind in reading Red Queen than I was for Ember. Unfortunately, in that time I somehow got caught up in that hype.
RQ and EITA are very much alike. But after reading many, many reviews I noticed that they are not so much alike a book called Red Rising. In almost every serious review it was mentioned as a comparison.
This book had a lot of potential. The series still has potential. As long as the characters and the world building get better.
Mare Barrow is our main character and parallel to Laia. She is a Red and one who is about to be conscripted (drafted to the war that has been going on for nearly a century). She cares deeply for her family and will do anything to protect them, or keep them living. Mare is a thief and a good one at that. She has a really bad habit of getting the people around her in trouble or hurt. Even if that isn’t what she is intending and wants to avoid in the first place. She has many faults, but she is badass at times. There are times where I felt that she was 2-Dimensional and I think that was my problem with this book.
I never seemed to immerse myself completely in this world. And there are few books that I struggle with that. I have multitudes of reasons that I wasn’t getting into it (interruptions left and right while reading) but unfortunately, I’ll never know the real reason.
Mare is special in this book because she is a Red blood that has the powers of a Silver. And the only way that the King and Queen can figure out how to hide it is by playing her off as a long lost Silver Princess and marry her off to one of the princes.
Prince Cal is only a piece of our love
square triangle (my reasons for calling it a triangle rather than a square as many people will call it instead, I will reveal later). He is the older son of the King and the one who is a mystery in his intentions but I liked him from the start. Mare meets him when she tries to pickpocket from him and he catches her. Unlike most people who find a pick pocket, he was kind to her. Which made me wonder the entire book, why was he so kind? He was undercover, pretending to be normal and not a prince, and so she believed it and wondered why he would give her money and why a servant, nonetheless, give her so much. We find his true identity (of which I found a little predictable because I guessed it from the start) at the Queenstrial where girls from the noble houses are shown off to be chosen to be the princes wife (enter The Selection comparison). Cal was always kind and he never lied to Mare. She had a lack of trust in him, but there was something about Cal’s actions though may evil and wrong in some characters mind, his never-failing truth-telling, and the way he behaved made me trust him so much. The ones that are truthful even in their actions that might be questionable are just more reliable to me.
Our other Prince
and second piece in the square is Maven. Prince Maven is Cal’s younger half-brother and the current Queen’s son. He is the one that is forced to marry Mare when her abilities are shown off and he is the sweeter of the two. Cal can be calloused around the edges. Not afraid to suppress who needs to be for the good of the country, his people, when the people fighting for equality cannot see it. Maven is more of a mystery and something never seemed to fit quite right about him with me. I always felt that I could trust Cal but something was off about Maven. He was the younger brother who was always in the shadow of Cal’s light. This was something that Mare related to well because she always lived in the shadow of her younger sister Gisa’s light. Maven just wanted things to be better and he was willing to take drastic measures to such that. **If you have read the book or just like to read spoilers then highlight the following gap with your cursor. Spoiler: In the end, I was right all along about Maven. There were too many hints of him being his mother’s son and how anyone was capable of betrayal. I’ve learned my lessons in books that when something is repeated enough, that usually means its foreshadowing something. Maven betrayed Mare and Cal so much and that is why I don’t see him being part of the love “square”. Mare made it clear at the end that she doesn’t have anymore feelings for him, not that the ones she might have had before were that strong. I do feel like his mother may have a heavy hand in his betrayal, but regardless I do not want to see him coming back and groveling in any of the next books in this series.** I did like Maven at some points and sympathized for him. He wasn’t all bad feelings the entire time.
The third piece of this square/triangle (in my opinion) is Kilorn. Mare’s childhood friend. I never really saw him as someone she liked. She never really mentioned looking at him in the light, unlike Katniss or America or any other heroine with a male childhood friend that was obviously going to be a continuing battle of a love interest, until later on in the book she said something. She was always hellbent on protecting him. Maybe that was the sign, but I wasn’t able to see it for a while I guess. Kilorn was nothing over special for me. Just a friend of hers that she left behind when she was forced to join the world of Silvers. He turned out to be stronger than I thought he would be and that was a nice change.
The world building in this book needed more attention. I hope that in the next books Victoria Aveyard will put more attention into the history of how Reds and Silvers came to be where they are, why they have abilities, what their country really looks like, and just the details that makes the setting seem real. I was having a hard time imagining a lot of places that Mare found herself and hopefully it’ll be easier in the next book. One thing that would be nice, and something many fantasy books are now incorporating, is a map. Many books will print a map on the inside cover of the book so when you are curious where the characters find themselves you can just flip to the front or back and orient yourself in that world.
This book had many good bones and ideas that either weren’t executed properly or the hype got to me where I was underwhelmed with how it was presented.
I’m going to give Glass Sword a fighting chance. I’m not ready to give up this series. If anything, I’m sure it will hit theaters someday. Aveyard herself is a screenwriter so maybe that will make the accuracy of events more precise.
Time will tell. Hopefully, I can get my hands on an ARC but if not I think I can handle the wait from now until February. I wasn’t left in that big of a cliffhanger that I need it tomorrow.
Epic reads has posted a map of the Red Queen world! Click here to view it!
Cover photo retrieved from x