Book in Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

10:38 AM

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publishing Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Orion
Format: ARC
Rating: 4/5 stars


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?

"Rise, red as the dawn."

I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way but reading Red Queen reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Attack on Titan and Legend of Korra - 4 of my most favorite things. If I were to describe Red Queen, original would not be the first word that would cross my mind, but despite that, the execution of the story is good, and the plot is well developed and consistent.

Red Queen's deals a lot with oppression. In a futuristic / dystopian world, the people are divided into two classes: the Reds, who are normal people who live in such extreme poverty, and work for the rich, and the Silvers, who rule over the country and enjoy luxury and also by the way, have awesome cool powers like manipulating matter, reading minds  and even controlling them. The Silvers are described as practically gods, though unkind and cruel ones who dont care about the people but make them work endlessly. The Reds are forced by the Silvers to give up their children to be conscripted in the front lines of a war they're not even fighting. The Reds practically have no future, and everything is absolutely hopeless.To distinguish them, Reds bleed red, while Silvers have silver blood.

Then you have Mare Barrow, a Red who discovers that she has the abilities of a Silver. It's a mistake, it's impossible- but can it change the system?

I found Red Queen to be interesting, in that it literally divides people according to their blood, which reminds me so much of the Pure-Blood fascism in the Harry Potter series. But it's not just Harry Potter that comes into mind - as Red Queen takes us into a story that is all too familiar not just in other books but in our history and the present. You can see Red Queen in the way the Africans were taken to America to become slaves. You can see Red Queen in the times when women were not allowed to vote, or drive or have an actual opinion. You can see Red Queen in the poor and the rich in society, the divide getting bigger and bigger, as the rich gets richer, and the poor gets poorer. This story is nothing new, but demands to be told again and again because it is the only way to get it into our heads. 

And the writing is actually gorgeous. I loved getting into Mare's thoughts and her narrative is so well thought out and beautifully written. I felt for her when she had to leave her family. I understood her pain and I empathized with her brokenness. I loved the honestly and rawness and how genuine she is. I admired her for how much she hates the system and wants to fight it, no matter how hopeless it may seem. I loved how big of a fighter she is, and that reminded me as well of Katniss in Hunger Games. 

Mare is the type of protagonist who actually thinks things first before doing anything. She actually uses her brain and comes up with smart choices. But things always don't go the way they should, and Mare trusts the wrong people, gets hurt and makes a lot of mistakes, but what I liked about her is that she rises above them. I loved how the romance part of this story is not shoved into our faces, and instead is inserted subtly into the story in a way that it is still a part of it and not an extra. 

There is power play involved in this story, a game of thrones you may say (HA) and it all was done excellently. However, if there were some things I did not like about this book is that there were some predictable parts (I guessed the ending lol) and I found it to be a bit slow and draggy at times. Don't get me wrong, the world building is fantastic, but some descriptions I found too long and a bit repetitive.

Overall, Red Queen is a solid debut, though not excellent or exceptional, but pretty good and worth a read. I'm anticipating the 2nd book, and I'll be making a better verdict one I get to read the whole series. 

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2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kimi has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.