Author: Victoria Aveyard
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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?Red Queen had been one of my most anticipated reads of 2015, which I think might be the reason why I put off reading it for so long. I was almost certain that this was going to be a book that I would absolutely love, but there was still that tiny part of me that worried that maybe it would end up disappointing me. But then I started to see all of these glowing reviews and I felt much better about starting this book. So it was finally time to pick up this book and see what all the fuss was about. So did Red Queen turn out to be the amazing, mind-blowing read I was hoping for?
There's absolutely no point beating around the bush, so lets just get straight to it - I was depressingly disappointed by Red Queen. I feel horrible for having to write that but it's true. I was really expecting something incredible from this book and instead I just got a story I've read a million times before, only they did it first and they did it better. It felt like it borrowed from so many other well known YA books that it made the book feel far too predictable and I found myself bored whilst reading it. I wanted to be unable to put this book down, and instead I found myself barely able to keep going.
Mare Barrow is a Red, in a world ruled by Silvers, and she either needs to have a job by eighteen or she must join the army. That right there just makes me think of Red Rising, a book where Reds are the lowest of the low and ruled by higher colours. Then I think of The Winner's Curse where people have to be married by eighteen or so, or they have to join the army. And the comparisons to other novels just kept coming. Now I know this is to be expected, I mean is there really even a 'unique' idea any more? But I feel like books can be similar to other books, whilst still providing that little something extra or new that sets it apart. That never happened for me with Red Queen, I found myself seeing far too similarities to other books and finding nothing special about this one that excited me or made me eager to continue the series.
I'm actually struggling to really explain why I'm so disappointed by this book. It's not only that it reminded me of other books, it's also that it felt rather boring. There was really only one part of this book that actually excited me, and that was the end, but by then it felt like too little too late. I didn't connect to any of the characters. Mare wasn't the strong heroine I was looking for, she was more the girl who gets sidetracked by thinking about guys. Then we have a love triangle between Mare and two princes, neither of which are very interesting and she lacks chemistry with both of them.
If there was one part of the book that did impress me then it was definitely the end. Some parts of it were a little predictable, but I really enjoyed the end. It contained all the action that I had been hoping to see throughout the rest of the book. If the rest of the book had read like the last few chapters then I would definitely have been continuing this series. As it stands, I'm just not invested in the story or the characters, and you can kind of already predict where the story is going.
There were definitely parts of the book that I enjoyed and the ending was really good and probably will keep a lot of people desperate to read book two. I really liked the different powers that the Silvers had, that did keep me interested in this book. But I felt the characters were lacking, I didn't connect to or care about any of them and that meant that I was never really invested in their story. It's not a terribly awful book by any stretch of the imagination, but I've just read far too many similar stories and they're ones I have enjoyed more. I'd recommend this more to people who haven't read a lot of the genre.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.