Monday, February 9, 2015

Review - Red Queen


Red Queen
Victoria Aveyard
2015
Hachette Australia

3 stars

I was pretty excited about reading this book. The cover is GORGEOUS and the blurb sounds pretty damned amazing. I mean, it's basically a mix between dystopia and high fantasy, which YES PLEASE. 

Red Queen is the story of Mare Barrow, who grows up as a Red - a commoner - but is found to have the powers of a Silver, one of the elite. The Reds are basically powerless servants and farmers, supporting the Silver way of life, and acting as cannon fodder for the Silver wars. Meanwhile, the Silvers have all kinds of nifty powers, like controlling fire, water, or metal, telepathy, and healing. Mare can produce and control lightning. When her powers are revealed, the King forces her into an engagement with his younger son and tells the world that she's the child of a long-dead Silver family, hiding her red blood and its implications. But Mare doesn't want to live a lie, and she'll do anything it takes to help her people, even if it means supporting a rebellion.

So basically? It sounds like a totally fascinating story. And in a lot of ways, it was. I loved the writing, the characters were fun, and the world building was great - there was enough of a sense of "this used to be America" in the regions and place names to make it identifiable despite the mysterious powers and castles and royalty and whatnot.

But.

This felt really familiar the whole way through. It felt like I was reading a book I'd read before. To me, it felt a little bit like a cross between The Hunger Games and X-Men. The blurb on Goodreads - which I didn't read until after I finished the book - bills it as a cross between Graceling and The Selection. (I'm really glad I didn't read that until after I finished it, because I really didn't like either of those books...)

There were a number of different elements used throughout the story that gave off a niggling sense of "I've read this before". It wasn't necessarily a bad thing - I particularly liked that I could compare the powers of the various Silver characters to the X-Men - but it did pull me out of the story at times and I felt like I wanted to skim over parts of it because I'd been there and done that. 

If I hadn't guessed the big plot twist well before it happened, this might have been a four star book for me. But I guessed it quite early on, and spent the rest of the time waiting for a certain character to do a certain thing, and so by the time it eventually happened, I was more or less over it. Add in a love triangle (or possibly square??), and I was rolling my eyes at times. 

In short, I loved the world that Aveyard created. The characters were fun, and the story was compelling if a little too familiar. And maybe if you don't see the big twist coming, it'll be a four or more star book for you!

Does this sound like something you'd read?

K xx

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Red Queen will be available on 10 February 2015.

3 comments:

  1. I absolutely love the cover art on Red Queen, but it's not the sort of book I'd choose to read... I was hoping for more of an Alice in Wonderland with a vampiric twist, not the Hunger Games meets the X-Men! I've read a lot of quite average reviews for Red Queen - I think it tries to be too many things, and doesn't quite manage.
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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  2. We rated it the exact same :) I mean, it was interesting but it didn't live up to my high expectations. Did you not like Mare or was it just me?

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  3. Red Queen is one of those books that keeps popping up around the blogosphere that I'm completely uninterested in. xD Most reviews are either meh or good, so Idk.

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