Review 213. Victoria Aveyard – Red Queen.

17878931Title: Red Queen.
Author: Victoria Aveyard.
Pages: 320.
Published: February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen
Sort: Red Queen trilogy #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher. I also received an ARC for the blog tour.
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?
Rating:

This book is pitched as “a thrilling new fantasy trilogy for fans of DIVERGENT and THE HUNGER GAMES.” I don’t see the connection with those two books, because this story is something else entirely; and it was amazing as it is. I’m not sure if it was my mood, but things that normally bug me really worked. (I see that the new blurb has another pitch, Graceling meets The Selection, which seems to come closer to this book) Thanks to Harpercollins International for inviting me for their blog tour!


Mare Barrow has no job, which means she needs to join the army once she turns eighteen. She is helping her family in the meantime by stealing, something her working sister doesn’t approve of. Mare feels she is always in the shadow of her younger sister, a girl with a promising future. That’s until she gets a job in the Silver Palace, where she ends up in a deadly game.

The world-building was good. The population is divided between two people. We have the Reds, people like you and me, and the Silvers, people with all kinds of powers. Reds live in poverty and they are inferior in the eyes of the Silvers. Their high status is maintained by the tyrant King and Queen, who rule their country with an iron fist. They sacrifice the ‘useless’ Red to keep a big army for their endless war. It was interesting to see how Mare tries to adapt to her new status when she is thrown into their midst.

Normally I would be a little bored by the middle of the book. Most of it is about Mare and how she learns to live like a Silver. We get to see her daily life filled with lessons and forced interactions with Silvers at social events. There are some nice turns, but there isn’t a lot going on. Victoria still manages to hook me to her tale; I was sucked into the story she spun and I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages. This is one of the books where the plot shines because of the simplicity, interesting turns and the compelling writing-style.

I also really liked Mare. She is stuck between two personalities; Mare and the girl she pretends to be. This struggle was well-written and it made me admire her even more. Just the fact that she adapts doesn’t mean she is ready to give up the real Mare. They can’t break her spirit. She is strong, brave and loyal. It first seemed to turn into a ‘main character who is more powerful and special than others’ but Victoria steers away from that cliché in a believable way. There is only thing that make me question the story about how they were able to keep up this charade. Select next line: How is it that NOBODY discovers that her blood is red? You can't tell me that Mare never bleeds..

I also liked the other characters. There is a big cast, but most of the emphasis is on the two princes, her best friend and family members. It was good that these played a role in the story; they don’t disappear. Mare is always worried about them and that felt realistic. Some of them are more than what they seem, Victoria caught me with surprise every now and then. The funny thing is that I started to ship Mare with different characters and that doesn’t happen very often to me. Romances annoy me most of the times, but I was delighted how Victoria deals with it. It’s on the background and is subtly interwoven into the plot. You could say it has a touch of a love-triangle, but it was not bothersome to me (but I want Kilorn dead). Best of it: no insta-love!

And the last thing I can’t forget; I loved the different powers Victoria came up with, some of them are quite original. I think some of them would come in handy! I can’t wait to see more of these powers in the sequel, a book I’m highly anticipating now.

Also an exclusive Q&A:


43 comments

  1. Lijkt me echt ene erg leuk boek! Mijn zusje heet Mare, dus het is wel grappig.

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    1. Het is altijd leuk om een naam van een bekende tegen te komen in een boek! :D

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  2. I wasn't sold on the first half of the book, it felt really cliched and reminiscent of several books I've read before. BUT, it got a lot better in the second half and I found that the author pulled cliched tropes from those other books and made them BETTER. It's like she fixed everything that was wrong in those other books. Aww you didn't like Kilorn? He was annoying but I don't mind me. I did NOT except that twist, was completely blindsided even though I shouldn't have been. Wonderful review lovely, glad you loved it! xx

    Joy @ Thoughts By J

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  3. I have heard great things about this book Mel, so I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it too, I'm not normally one to pick up fantasy reads, but I think this would be my sort of read. Also the romance sound exactly like something that I would enjoy! Fab review!

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  4. Ooh I so badly want to read this - it looks so good! I love the whole concept of it and I'd like to read more fantasy novels. Great review, Mel! :)

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  5. Ooh, sounds good! I had this on my radar, but have been hearing mixed things about it, glad you liked it! And yay no insta-love! That always bugs me...

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    1. I would say: ust go for it. Don't think about any review and discover for yourself if you like it or not!

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  6. OOoh nice! I can't wait to read this one myself! Been seeing mixed reviews, but lately they have been positive, so I'm excited for it!

    Here's my Follow Friday

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

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  7. I really want to read this book!I really love books about queens,there's something so great in reading a book about a girl with so much power and strength.
    And 2015 looks like a year for queens.The Orphan Queen,Queen of Shadows and now Red Queen.There's so much to look forward to!
    Great review,Mel!

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  8. Great review, Meg! I've been seeing this book a lot recently so I might pick it up when I'm in the mood for fantasy :) The comparison to Graceling definitely caught my attention because I enjoyed that book so much.

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  9. I'm glad you liked reading Red Queen! That's really cool how you ended up liking the parts where you usually have issues with. I gave this one 3.5 stars because I didn't like how this book was so similar to other dystopian / fantasy books. I'm really loyal to the 'first' books so while reading this, it kinda bugged me that it resembled other books so much. I thought the characters were okay. Some of them lacked character development for me. Overall it was a good read!

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    1. I thought she took some of those overused things and managed to make it her own. I think it's a great set up for more!

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  10. I've seen different reviews for this book; some liked it, some hated it, but if it's being pitched as Graceling meets The Selection, then it doesn't sound so bad! Thanks for motivating me to read this one! :)

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms.

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  11. I've seen this cover and blurb, but hadn't run into any reviews yet. Sounds interesting but possibly a little derivative? I'm glad you enjoyed it, though, especially the main character. And huzzah for no insta-love! That's one of my pet peeves in books, especially teen books.

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  12. I DO NOT APPROVE. It is nothing like Graceling. Hmph. Not at all, lol :D But I did still enjoy this book ;p It was a three star for me. <3 Amazing review Mel. I'm glad you managed to enjoy it a bit more :D Beautiful post too. <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book :)

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  13. I am still mulling as to whether I should even put this on my TBR. i've read good reviews x bad but the romance aspect keeps me going meh. Though the cover looks amazing.

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    1. Follow your heart! Are you interested? Go for it!

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  14. I've read so many reviews of Red Queen over the past week or so, and I am so excited to read it when it comes out. I absolutely love complex story worlds that suck me in and won't let go. They make for the best reading experiences. Romances usually annoy me, too, so I'm glad to hear that the romance was dealt with nicely in this book.

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  15. I like my own pitch much better: X-men meets Gladiator in a fantasy-infused dystopia :) I loved the world-building and the idea of Reds and Silvers. I love court life and politics and the gossip and the functions so I totally loved the middle parts which people thought were boring. It was so fascinating!! I loved the powers she added into the book, such epicness!! Especially that "pageant." Now THAT was cool. I loved the two princes, and I kept going back and forth. I like how it was subtlety woven into the plot as well. Very well-orchestrated. Lovely review, Mel <33

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    1. Ohh, that does come close to the book, nice pitch!

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  16. I've been seeing this book around, and it seems like a great, exciting read! I'm glad you enjoyed it overall - I am intrigued by your mention of the powers! :)

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  17. Opinions are very very divided for this book. I'm a little scared it'll be too similar to Red Rising. The premise seems very similar to that book.YESSSS! I am so happy you said she sidelines that special snowflake cliche. I'm so damn happy I won't have to insert that special snowflake gif in a future review. I hope this book is as squeeful as you've mentioned.

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  18. THIS LOOKS SO GOOD. It's on my stack and I can't wait to get to it. I don't always LOVE dystopians but fingers crossed I'll like this one...

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  19. Can't wait for this one to be released! I preordered it so hopefully I'll have time to read it soon. I've seen mixed reviews for this book so far, but I definitely still have high hopes!

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  20. I just powered through this book last night and absolutely loved it. EVERYTHING worked for me - the world-building, the characters and the abilities - it was all brilliant. Although the ending crushed me a little but fortunately still ended on a happy note. I CAN'T WAIT FOR BOOK TWO. So so good. Great review Mel!!

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  21. I have this sitting on my kindle and I'm a little bit scared to read it. On one hand, I'm pretty sure I'll love it because the world sounds so interesting and powers! On the other hand, I've been hearing some mixed things so I'm just not sure.... but there's a lot more positive reviews coming out now which is helping convince me like yours has :D

    Thanks for the great review!

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  22. Oooh yeah so happy you liked this one, Mel! I knew it was the book for me as soon as I heard of it and yet I've been left disappointed by most of the fantasies I've read lately so I had my doubts about this one, as well... But you've definitely reassured me in your review that this one is a winner, albeit not absolutely perfect.

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  23. Mmm, I see a few of the Divergent/Hunger Games elements in the paranormal arena like battles. Def. Hunger Games, esp. with people watching and rooting like "they want bread and circuses." Or whatever the gladiator quote is. "I see that the new blurb has another pitch, Graceling meets The Selection" -- Hmm, I look forward to your explanation :P. Ha, the Selection I see but less of Graceling...

    Eee! HC International. First your blog featured on their page, now this blog tour. Mel, you are going BIG and I LOVE IT <3. Congrats, girl!

    "Mare Barrow has no job, which means she needs to join the army once she turns eighteen." -- You know, it's interesting. This seems to be a common element of fantasies recently, and I wonder why. An article about YA dystopia seemed to suggest that authors were commenting on the poor economy. But why the army?

    "The world-building was good. The population is divided between two people. We have the Reds, people like you and me, and the Silvers, people with all kinds of powers." -- I agree. I think getting to see the landscape of the world was really fun. I think the book had a pretty good balance between world / plot / characters.

    "It was interesting to see how Mare tries to adapt to her new status when she is thrown into their midst." -- Might have been my favorite part. Loved seeing her strength & vulnerability!

    "Victoria still manages to hook me to her tale; I was sucked into the story she spun and I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages. This is one of the books where the plot shines because of the simplicity, interesting turns and the compelling writing-style." -- I agree that there was definitely something that kept me turning the pages. The middle parts are usually the eh, let's get to the big action elements but hey, cool beans that you and I both continued on :).

    "I also really liked Mare. She is stuck between two personalities; Mare and the girl she pretends to be...They can’t break her spirit. She is strong, brave and loyal." -- yes. I think Victoria manages well with the strong heroine type, especially as Mare encounters so many obstacles!

    "Select next line: How is it that NOBODY discovers that her blood is red? You can't tell me that Mare never bleeds.." -- Yeah... what about her period? And the maids talking?

    "Romances annoy me most of the times, but I was delighted how Victoria deals with it. It’s on the background and is subtly interwoven into the plot." -- agreed. I'm also a fan of how the romance was handled, especially how the characters acted with relation to the romance (aside from Kilorn, who I also kinda want to die sssshhhh).

    :) I hope you enjoy the sequel!

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    1. I guess it's pitched with Graceling, because they are both a bit unique in their power? I know right? I'm so happy that my work is paying off and it feels amazing to be part of bigger things <3 The blood part could have been handled much better yes, but at the same time, I loved everything else :D And ha, let's hope Kilorn meets his fate in the sequel.

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  24. Brilliant review. I am really excited to read this one, not sure why it's taking me so long to get to it. I've seen brilliant review after brilliant review, so I should definitely set some time aside to start it this week. I'd heard some people say it reminded them too much of other books, but I'm glad that didn't seem to be the case for you.

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  25. Lovely review, Mel! I've heard such mixed things about this book, but glad to see another positive review. The worldbuilding sounds really intriguing, but I have to admit I'm nervous about that tiny love triangle. That's something else that people have told me different things about. :P

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  26. Eeeep, I'm over the moon with the fact that you enjoyed this one so much Mel!! Like Aylee mentioned^^ I knew this book was for me the moment I read the blurb for it. I've seen some middling reviews for it but I trust you and your tastes a lot more so I feel reassured that I'll enjoy this one too - I just have to find the time to read it >.<

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  27. I really liked this book too! Like you, I found it to be really gripping- it was honestly SO hard to put it down! When I did it wasn't because I wanted to.... Also- THE ENDING? Were you expecting that, because I wasn't!!? Love this review!

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    1. Nope, the ending was definitely a nice surprise :D!

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  28. I think the ending is the best part of this novel, I did not expect that! I'm glad you enjoyed this novel though, loved reading your review :)

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  29. Lovely review Mel, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Mare was definitely a strong character, and I was glad there wasn't any insta-love. I found it rather slow and boring at times though, I wanted more world building and more about the powers.

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  30. I agree that the world building was great and yes those powers were so cool!

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  31. Totally agree Mel! The romance was something that I was particularly impressed by, especially by the way Aveyard dealt her cards. Very interested in how it's going to pan out over the series!

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