Saturday 20 February 2016

Book Review: Red Queen; Victoria Aveyard.

I definitely had to get my thoughts in order before reading this book, so it's going to be a roller-coaster of a review. I was a bit nervous about reading it actually because while some people raved about and loved it, others accused it of being a bit of a 'Red Rising' rip-off. There are similarities of course but I don't think that's a fair statement as there are so many differences too! I liked both books a lot, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Red Queen

AUTHOR: Victoria Aveyard
SERIES: Red Queen (#1)
PAGES: 383
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow 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.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst 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.

What I Liked:
  • The world-building was pretty unique and I liked the way Aveyard mixed a medieval feeling hierarchy with a futuristic dose of electricity and technology. Sometimes it felt like I was reading about sorcery of the fantastical kind, while at others it was more like the next step of evolution. I've seen others attempt to write a civilisation that is set in the future but feels like the past and fail. Miserably. Aveyard didn't fail because she was very clear in the information that she gives the reader. The places that Aveyard described sounded beautiful and there were some really small but great details that made the whole world a lot more believable, such as the silver blood's effect on blushing.
  • The characterisation was by far the most impressive part of the book. I don't normally like love triangles but here, it actually sort of worked and I can tell that Aveyard is going to keep building despite the last plot twist really seeming to scupper a certain boy's chances. The inclusion of another male character for Mare, the heroine, to interact with was greatly appreciated also because he was just her friend. Male + Female friendships are hard to find so I really hope it stays that way! Personally I'm hoping for some real redemption as I can already tell there is no black and white when it comes to where a character falls on the evil scale in this book. I'm looking forward to seeing the grey areas and I want so badly for this all to be...a misunderstanding?
What I Disliked:
  • This book, despite it's good points, was a slow starter. It took a long time for any real action to get going, because Aveyard chose to stick a lot of her world-building into the early chapters. While I like to learn about my book's setting, it would have been nice to have more action in those early chapters. The things that happened seemed to bear little consequence to the book's plot so they were really just distractions. Halfway through the plot picked up a lot and I loved the fast pace of the second part of the book.
Overall Conclusion:
I really did like this book a lot despite my initial reservations. It was slow-paced to begin with but the world was well-constructed and Aveyard had clearly put a lot of thought into the world she was trying to build. The writing was decent enough too though at times character conversations didn't quite convince me as much as they should. The development of those characters remained amazing throughout however, and Mare at least was consistent in her thoughts. I liked that Aveyard write every one of her characters as possessing a terrifying and a vulnerable side. It made things much more believable. I look forward to 'Glass Sword' though I'm hoping that Aveyard hops straight into the action this time!

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