Monday, 25 May 2015

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Description from Goodreads

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?

When I heard that "Red Queen is a #1 New York Times bestseller", of course I had to read it myself. I mean, fantasy YA novel making it to the top surely is something worth reading and people on Goodreads had seemed to love it. So why not give it a try? Well, in principle, it was a good idea. Unfortunately, I just couldn't join in the hype and adoration Red Queen has apparently obtained. I did like some parts of the novel, but mainly I was just power-reading it through because I was afraid that I would miss out on something if I didn't finish it. Well, to be fair, there was this twist in the end which I totally didn't see coming, but let's be honest here, it couldn't resuscitate the novel.

The novel did start off pretty promisingly. I really liked the somber atmosphere Aveyard was setting with the oppression of Reds and how they were shipped off to a war while the Silvers were enjoying their privileges safe and sound in the capital. But I never felt like the novel fully explored this element. While there were demonstrations of the societal inequality, the author never decided to go one step deeper in to the matter. But then, ironically, at times the author simply underestimated the readers. She would describe something very basic, and literally explain it again in simple English - she didn't leave any room for interpretation or giving the readers a chance to think for themselves. There was this strange imbalance within the novel in terms of prioritising what to present to the readers. And that might be the main reason why I didn't like the novel that much - I simply cherished different things than the author had cherished. 

The action also was quite slow to start. If I remember correctly, it was around 50% when things really started rolling and the plot was actually going somewhere. Before that, all the focus where on somewhat trivial things which weren't contributing to anything in the end. If the book was chopped in to two, and I would have to start reading the book from the middle, I probably wouldn't be too bummed out. Even though the novel did start off well by setting the mood, the oppressed mood was definitely a constant. Going back to the original point, when the action started going, I was surprised that I was actually enjoying myself to some extent. There were still quite many things bothering me, but some of the twists and turns kept me entertained and those are the main reasons why I decided to finish the book. 

Maybe it was that there was just too much of everything in the novel, which made me like less the novel? The basic setting was a somewhat fantasy-based as the monarch was a ruling body of the 'kingdom'. However, there also were elements of scifi with the high technology pieces, but furthermore, there were also 'superpowers' (controlling different elements like fire, water, electricity, etc.) which is a sign of supernatural genre! Simply too much! If the supernatural element was completely eradicated, I would probably have liked the book a lot better. Something tells me that the author just wanted to include all the trending elements of YA genre, in the hopes of striking gold. Well, apparently she did with quite many readers, but I was just constantly cringing. I don't think the saying "the best ideas are the simplest ones" is good for nothing, it is a saying for a reason. 

Do you know the feeling, when you aren't that into a novel and then you just start consciously finding faults that you can rant about? Well, it did kind of happen to me with Red Queen, which is basically just self-torture and making the reading experience even more difficult for yourself. For instance, one of the things that I'll probably remember forever about this book, was that Mare had naturally an ombre-coloured hair, and in the world of Red Queen it was perceived as dull and ugly. Gahh! While I suppose this was a clever move from the author as ombre hair is very trendy nowadays and making the main protagonist appear more desirable, but it just infuriated me. How could someone have ombre-coloured hair naturally? That's not how the biology of hair works!! 

I think I might have been a bit harsh with my review, but I just I didn't like this novel as much as I had hoped, and you know I have that right of disliking something. I'm sure that even though Red Queen wasn't for me, it won't stop other people enjoying the novel (because I did enjoy the action in the novel). In fact, I hope that people who haven't still read the book and want to do it, should go ahead and  perhsps will find it enjoyable. But I for sure know that I won't be continuing the series/trilogy. Over and out. Actual rating 2.5.


  1. I'm sorry to see that you didn't enjoy this one, especially because of all the hype that's been surrounding it. I've found that more often than not, hype can ruin a book for me. I will probably still give it a read. Thanks for sharing your honest opinions!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. You're absolutely right - all the hype usually makes your expectations go sky high. You should definitely go for it if you feel like it :) I hope you'll like it better than I did.

  2. I was reading this book and it became an ON HOLD book for me (may or may not finish, not exactly a DNF). I agree with you that the first few chapters are pretty slow. I also did not connect with the main character. I think I read up to the point where she is promised to the younger prince... and what sucks is that I cant even remember their names! LOL

    1. Haha, I think that's usually a pretty good sign that you haven't been enjoying the book that much if you can't really remember the events or the names :) It's good to see that I'm not the only one who hasn't exactly enjoyed it - I felt a bit of an anomaly while writing this review! Thanks for the input :)

  3. I don't actually think I've seen any favourable reviews for this book. Not from reviewers I follow anyway. It's super disappointing becuase I was really excited about this one. I'll definitely still be reading it, but I won't be expecting as much from it.

    I also totally agree with your point about if you're not enjoying a book you just start to find the smallest things ridiculous. I always thought that was me being picky, so I'm kind of glad to hear that at least one other person does it!

    1. I know, I was really excited for Red Queen as well - one of my best friends gave it 4 stars and I usually trust her taste. :( What on Earth went wrong with that..

      Haha, good to know that there others with the similar problem :D I wish I could stop doing that, but it's just impossible!!

  4. I didn't rate this quite as low as you did, but i had similar problems with it. The idea was good and I loved the background of the world, but it wasn't as fleshed out as I would have liked. None of the characters were terrible but they never really go to me either. I had heard about the plot twist but then I promptly forgot about it when I was reading, so it did surprise me. But, up to the twist, I was thinking in my head "Wow...this book sure is silly and naive." The plot twist proved that some what wrong but it didn't turn it around for me.

    The whole mix of genres thing was weird. That didn't stick out to me until you said it, but it would have been better to stick with one or two elements. Throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks isn't a great idea.

    Still, I enjoyed it alright. It was mediocre to good for me.

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe


You can't see me, but I'm totally doing my happy dance as I read your comment!