February 12, 2015

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen book cover
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #3
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

Oh, Red Queen. While there truly is potential here in terms of story and writing, this book and I just didn’t quite hit it off. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that caused my personal reservations. Perhaps, in part, it’s because it is all too easy to spot the similarities in characters and plot between this novel and many others in its genre. While many fantasy novels have similar tropes or twists, to have a novel that’s easily compared to others as I read bothered me. Maybe, in part, it has to do with the amount of information readers have to sift through from the start. It is a bit of a challenge to remember everything and everyone. But mostly, I think, my reservations lie in one simple truth: I don’t know enough about main character Mare. At least, I don’t know enough to care or be invested in her.

However, Red Queen demonstrates its merits in a couple of other ways. There is the world-building, which is a mishmash of simple concepts (like Reds and Silvers and their history) and more complex nuances (sub-types of Silvers, various motives and goal from different characters). And there is that magical latter third! It contains some intense moments and unexpected twists, which hooked me more than anything in the first 2/3. While it still wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with this story, it definitely made me curious about the sequel. Though it won’t be a priority read, I’m still willing to give it a shot – and having it definitively define my opinion on the series overall.

So, you might ask: what’s your official recommendation for Red Queen? Well, it’s quite simple: if the premise intrigues you, give it a shot! There are plenty of readers I know who really liked it, so the misgivings I have might be simply an individual case. And the fact is, in spite of my misgivings, something about Red Queen has caught my attention enough to make me consider giving the sequel a shot – and that’s no small thing.

How do you feel when a main character has more than one choice romantically?

Ah, the dreaded love shape. Whether it's a triangle, square or some other shape, it's always interesting to read a book where there happens to be more than one potential/actual love interest for the main character. Now, I'm not necessarily against love shapes, but I do tend to dislike when I feel like they're not well done or too contrived. If it makes sense to me that the main character is torn between her feelings (feelings that exist for logical reasons, mind you), then I'm inclined to let her attraction to more than one person slide. But if I feel like one member of the shape is just tossed in unnecessarily or there's no good reason to like or love that person, well, then I'm not a fan.


  1. Oh man! I was really anticipating this book because there was a lot of hype, but I'm reading more and more reviews that are just "meh". I had never even heard of a love square until I started reading reviews for this book haha! The premise definitely interests me, but I'm starting to think I won't enjoy it. I'll probably still give it a shot, but maybe not as soon as I had planned.

  2. Christina @ Between BookendsFebruary 12, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    You're not the only person that's had problems with the Red Queen, I read a similar review just the other day. I think most of the reason I was looking forward to it was because the cover is awesome, but I didn't get that excited about the summary (I don't really trust summaries anymore). I'll probably put this one off for a while and see what people say about the later books.

  3. This book and I did not get along very well. I think it had potential, but there were so many problems with it that I just could never get into it. I didn't really connect to any of the characters, I didn't think the world-building was great and I thought that things came to Mare too easily. Also I saw the big twist coming from page one which was disappointing. But like you said, lots of people have loved this one so I definitely agree that if the synopsis piques your interest, you should give it a try. Great review, Alexa!

  4. I had similarly mixed feelings about this one. It never occurred to me that the problem was not knowing Mare well enough but now that you mention it I wonder if that was the main problem (more so than the lack of urgency and weak pacing that initially bothered me).

  5. Great review Alexa. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book despite some issues :) I liked it too, but didn't love it :p Hmph. The romance bothered me a little. Sigh. But thinking it might be more awesome in book two :) Maybe.

  6. I enjoyed with one too - but had many issues with it as well. I didn't read the other books that this one seems to be similar to, so that's a good thing.

    I didn't feel like this one was a love triangle for some reason. It was set up that way.. Weird, right?

    Like you - I am curious to red the sequel but it wont be high on my list. :D

  7. I enjoyed this one, but it wasn't a book that totally blew me away. However, it was fun enough to keep me interested for a 2nd book.

  8. I still haven't gone out and bought my own copy of this one but I keep hearing some pretty amazing things about it, so believe me I will be buying my copy soon! I'm glad you were able to enjoy this on despite some of your minor issues with it. Lovely review :)

  9. Leah @ The Pretty Good GatsbyFebruary 13, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    People are losing. their. minds. over this book! I'm not really into dystopian settings, though I'm all about the fantasy elements. I can be a bit lenient when it comes to the world-building/information overload in first novels - it's all there for a reason! But when you can compare it to so many other novels? ..nope. :( What a bummer!

    Sometimes I'll go through sappy moods when I WANT to read a love story with multiple love interests. For the most part though, I'm super anti-love triangles.

  10. I really enjoyed Red Queen but I totally agree with you on not being as invested in Mare. The twisty, fast-paced plot and world-building swept me away though!

  11. I preordered this book (probably due to all the hype) but I have yet to see anyone give it a truly positive review... which makes me want to move it to the bottom of my TBR pile.


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