Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian Fiction
Series: Red Queen, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I’ll be honest: I’ve been very curious about Red Queen since it came out three years ago. I read the first five chapters through an email from the publisher and hadn’t been able to get it out of my head. So when I saw it on a shelf of one of the libraries I go to, I didn’t even let myself think about it; I just grabbed it and hoped for the best. I pushed it to the top of my library stack, nervous and excited all at once, due to the mixed reviews. And I can see why Red Queen got all kinds of mixed reviews, but for my part, I really enjoyed it! There were definitely some issues: a love triangle, various dystopian tropes that seemed to take from several popular, other young adult series. But whatever its flaws, I really, really liked Red Queen, and I’m excited to dig into this series! It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to voraciously binge a series, and so I’m going to use his opportunity to jump right in! Victoria Aveyard has created a dangerous, frightening world rife with political intrigue, romance, power struggles, and dark secrets that could mean the most damning punishment of all: death.
Mare Barrow is a lowly Red, hailing from the slum known as The Stilts. The divide between Reds and Silvers, whose powers are godlike and rule is absolute, is so wide as to be insurmountable, and at sixteen, almost to her seventeenth birthday, she is expecting nothing but conscription into the war. The fact that her best friend, Kilorn, ends up being drafted only adds to her stress. Desperate for help, she turns to a rebel organization called The Red Guard to try and flee the country. Instead, somehow, she ends up in one of the country’s biggest Silver strongholds, and she discovers that she has a terrifying, out of place power: She can harness the power of lightning through her fingertips, something unheard of in a Red. Suddenly, Mare is dubbed a lost Silver princess, brought into the fold of the royal family and its court. Torn between two brothers, her own heart, and the rebellion she so fiercely believes in, Mare must decide where her loyalties lie, or else risk the ultimate punishment…
I know, I know, I can hear all of the naysayers saying that Red Queen ripped off some popular dystopian elements that made other series successful. But nonetheless, I really enjoyed it! Despite some flaws, a love triangle, so many names that it was hard to keep up with on the political level, and some confusing worldbuilding, I really liked this book: It flowed nicely, the prose was dark, tense, and snappy, I was constantly flipping pages to see what was going to happen next, and I loved Mare! Honestly, she was what saved the book for me, despite the rest of the issues. I was cheering, cringing, and crying over her, her family, and the all-too-sticky predicament that she finds herself in. I was glued to the pages, especially when things really started rolling. I didn’t much like the whole love triangle thing, though I suppose that it served its purpose. And that ending! Oh my gosh, I’m still mentally screaming over it! Someone get me Glass Sword, stat, or I’m gonna lose it! A beautifully written, dark and thoughtful series opener, I really enjoyed Red Queen! The bottom line: Despite some anxiety over mixed reviews, I really liked Red Queen—it’s like a cross between The Hunger Games, Divergent, and X-Men, and I am so here for it! Next on deck: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera!