*** Possible Spoilers Ahead! ***
Book Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Main Theme: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Thesis: Mare is a Red, and not really your average Red. She’s a thief, a runner, someone who is just trying to get through life one day at a time. Her family is Reds too, with three brothers in the war and a sister who’s the star of the family. They are surrounded by Silvers, the elite of society with special abilities that somehow make them better than the rest. By a crazy turn of events, Mare finds herself in the royal palace serving the very people who look down at her in disgust. Just as Mare tries to live with her head lying low, something magical happens that turns the public eye on her. Is Mare really a Red? Is she something else? Who can she trust, can she trust anyone? Mare knows that a wild, bumpy ride awaits her, but is she strong enough to ride it alone in this world?
What Drew Me In: I’ve been enjoying reading more series this past year, and after the Hunger Games, I wanted more! I know this is a popular YA series, and even though it is a bit older (the first book came out in 2015, yikes. I was 19!) I wanted to give it a shot. Plus, they aren’t huge books, perfect to blast through reading them as the winter chill sets in and I’m forced indoors in my fuzzy socks and blankets.
Can you tell I hate the cold? (Brownie points if you know where this gif is from! You will be dating yourself like me!)
My Thoughts: So this series has pretty mixed reviews. Some love it, others can live without it. Me personally? I don’t love it or hate it really. Aveyard has the imagination and story-telling skills to set up a series. We all love a classic “good versus evil” story, where the Reds are the good guys and the Silvers are painted to be the bad guys.
However, character development I think could be implicated more in this story. I have a love/hate relationship with the main character Mare. Here’s a list of what I like, and I don’t like.
- She struggles with herself. Some main characters are kind of made out to be some sort of superhuman who can have no flaws. Mare’s biggest flaw is that she doubts herself. She only sees herself as a thief, or that she can never be as good as her sister, the prize of the family with her sewing skills that earn her a good job with the Silvers. But she never prizes herself for the good, redeeming qualities she has. She is brave beyond belief, for herself to escape danger and protective of her family. She’s loyal too, especially to Kilorn, her best friend.
- This is a slight tangent to the previous point, but man is she brave. She’s yanked from her home and surrounded by her enemies. Towards the end of the first book, she has to declare herself in front of thousands of people and make a speech she doesn’t want to, all while the Royal family is staring daggers at her. I can’t imagine being put under that kind of pressure.
- Obviously, Mare is different. I’m not going to spoil it for future readers, but it opens the doors for this series. Why is she different? Where does it come from? Are there others? NEED TO KNOW!!
- OH. My. God. She was so whiny. To go with point one of the like list, she obviously struggles, but the whole “I’m nothing, I’m worth nothing” thing gets old quick! I guess I understand when people have harder days than others, but she basically lives it, and I just want to shake that mentality out of her head. Buck up girl! You got sh** to do! Let’s do it!
- It’s not just to do with her I guess, but this whole love triangle thing going on. Lord. Can I please just get one YA book that doesn’t have a love triangle? I guess it makes for a better ending of book #1, but still. Why must all YA have a love triangle? (Hopefully, it won’t turn into a love rectangle… read the book to get that reference!)
I’m hoping to see more character development from other characters in the next book. It’s so hard to say anything, because I don’t want to spoil anything! But to list a few, I’m hoping to see more from the Prince, Cal, her sister Gisa, and a few others close to Mare.
One thing that I LOVED about the book was all the variety of superpowers that the Silver born seem to have. I would like to know more why these people have these powers, as it seems like Reds are just like normal humans. But there are so many powers, it provides a fun twist to the series; to name a few: Fire controllers, water controllers, people who can bend light, people who can grow plants, people who can control your mind, or mind-readers. This alone gives the “fantasy” aspect of the book.
Would I recommend this book?: Look, I’ll be honest here. It’s not the best book series. But if you love to read YA, or dystopian is your thing, or fantasy keeps you up at night, it’s worth at least a trip to your local library. I’m excited to read the rest of the series, I do think that Aveyard has opened some doors to make a good series out of it. We’ll see. I’ve already started Glass Sword, book #2, so keep an eye out for a review of that one, hopefully coming in a week-ish? Maybe two.
Can you believe 2019 is almost over?? I totally can’t… I’m almost to my 50 books read this year’s goal. Did anyone else set themselves a goal? Fingers crossed I make it!!
The Library Lady ♡