Monday, April 6, 2015

ARC Review: Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on February 10, 2015
Published by Orion
Pages: 320
Read From: 4.9.15 - 9.12.15

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. 
To Mare Barrow, a seventeen-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?


Dear Red Queen,

I am always dubious of books like you; books that receive a ridiculous amount of pre-publication hype. Once your type are released, the majority of readers will not give it a negative review, so I can't even trust my fellow reviewers. But I had you as an ARC, and it would only cost me precious time to see what all the fuss was about.

I admit that at the first couple of chapters, I wasn't too impressed. The "terms" for the magic users - telkies, nymphs, greenies - were pretty silly and not very imaginative. The plot was a little slow. We are introduced to Mare's world, where society is separated literally by the color of your blood. Silvers have magical powers and are therefore the ruling class, while Reds are serfs and have no powers. Until Mare, that is, who can produce and control electricity. I'm all for world building, Red Queen, and you do it marvelously. I was completely sucked into Mare's world, and the structure of the society made total sense. It was even believable - as far as magic beings and silver blood can go. But I was finding the beginning a bit of a drag because I wanted to know what would happen when Mare's power was revealed - and how.

And then finally we get to the meat of the story - when her power is revealed and the Silvers claim her as not a Red, but a long-lost daughter of a prestigious Silver house, and she is betrothed to the youngest prince - Maven - in a bid to use her as a propaganda piece to comeback the Red Guard: rebels who are bent on toppling Silver rule.

This, Red Queen, is when you became interesting. And this is where I discovered what all the hype was about. Mare's world comes totally alive and the characters begin to develop and flesh out. I found Mare to be a totally acceptable protagonist. She is strong and courageous. She doesn't want to fight, but she knows that the only way to survive is to play along - and be good at it. Then she joins the Red Guard, and while I didn't trust the Red Guard at all, I applauded Mare for seizing her position as an opportunity to undermine the Silvers. She took an offensive stance, unlike so many female protagonists who find themselves in similar situations. Mare's struggles felt real and her conflict heartfelt.

The other characters were equally fascinating. The queen was downright terrifying and Prince Maven an immediate favorite. I couldn't help it; I immediately sensed his potential of going bad (whether he does or not is a secret, of course) and I sympathized with him so totally, feeling forgotten by his parents and living under the shadow of his brother Cal. But I loved Cal, too; he was strong and caring and his struggles were real and heartfelt as well. I found myself in the rare position of appreciating every character's struggle, while still protesting against their actions.

But of course, Red Queen, you are a YA novel, and that means you have a love triangle. But it is one the best love triangles I have ever read. It was there, but subtle. I knew who Mare would choose, but her struggle even in this area was understandable.

Of course, your ending left me totally unsure of what will happen next. I saw it coming, but I wasn't totally right - and the surprise was a nice one. Many of my preconceived notions were trampled or put on their head. I did not expect you to live up to the hype, Red Queen, but you did, and I just can't wait for the next one.

Feeling surprised,

~ Mara ~


  1. Great Review, I haven't gotten round to reading this yet but it looks brilliant!
    Naomi @The Perks Of Being A Bookworm

  2. I have seen this book floating around everywhere! Just found your blog and I love the way you format your reviews. I was planning on reading this one anyways but it's nice to kind of have a heads up that things don't get really good right away--but that they do eventually. Love triangles aren't my thing but this one sounds like its done well. Great review!

    1. Thanks for following, Bailey! :) The beginning is a little slow, but well worth it, and the love triangle is almost not one, but I can't say too much about it. ;)


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