Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen
Red Queen Trilogy #1
by Victoria Aveyard

Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: February 10th 2015
by Orion

Format: eARC

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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?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Reading Red Queen was like receiving sour candy when you were expecting some glorious sugary sweets. I just felt so much disappointment after turning the last page, since I was expecting a fresh new story out of this one.

This book had so much potential, but after a few chapters of reading, I got this sense of déjà vu, and yup, you guessed it, this book was a cardboard cut-out of all your favorite YA novels put together.

Exhibit A: There are the Reds, slaves the Silvers, who are amazing beings with odd powers. The Reds don’t do much to escape their current living states and go on being doormats throughout the book, until a certain figure of strength (the heroine) supports them. A very common dystopian trope.

Exhibit B: Mare Barrow is the reckless “Savior of All” who is eventually blinded by her romantic interest. Yes, Mare can be considered badass with her unique ability and sassy attitude, but she felt like your typical Mary Sue for me. And when her two love interests come along, she thinks of them both constantly and rather obsessively.

Exhibit C: Yes, the customary love triangle square is present. Mare is drawn to two brothers (should I mention that they’re princes?) but is more attracted to the older, more mature one (who, by the way, I think is as interesting as a brick). I like the other brother’s character, but there’s definitely zero chemistry between him and Mare. There’s also your resident Queen Bee, Evangeline, who seems to hate Mare the moment they lock eyes.

Another iffy thing about the book was the lack of a backstory. Sure, I enjoyed all the Red vs. Silver propaganda, but I would’ve liked to find out how everything became the way they are now. Maybe the next books will give me that.

Overall, if you’re one of those people who reads and loves all those popular young adult books out in the market today (as well as The Selection-esque type books, I really believe that Red Queen will be a good fit for you.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Impact
Opening
Climax
Ending
Overall: 1.7
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Aimee
Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.
Aimee

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  1. says

    I felt the exact same way for the first half of the book, I couldn’t help but compare it to all the other YA out there. BUT I enjoyed the second half a lot more because I stopped trying to compare it so much. Overall it felt like a BETTER version of all the YA tropes, and improved a lot on points that you wished had been touched upon in the other ‘popular’ stories
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFeversMy Profile

  2. says

    So sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more Aimee, I almost set this one down, but it picked up and the last 1/4 of the book really rocked for me. I too compared it to others, and I haven’t read nearly as many YA as you but in the end I found myself eager for the next book.
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  3. Laila BC says

    seriously a lot of mixed reviews about this one…but i gather that it is nothing original…*sigh* still i hope i will still end up enjoying this one…too bad it wasn’t for you :/

  4. says

    I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this one Aimee, I can see the comparisons to The Selection, but for me the storyline was much more engaging. I think the second in the series will be more epic though, I can smell the revolution brewing and I can’t wait! Do you think you’ll continue with the series despite not really enjoying this one?

    Lovely review poppet <3
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  5. says

    I hated this too, Aimee. REALLY hated it. Hated it so much that it took me (literally) days to break down all that hate and condense it into a review that was a reasonable length. DAYS. But beyond the obvious naming similarities, I didn’t think it was anymore unoriginal than the typical dystopian YA. No idea why. B/c YES, Reds and Silvers and Barrow, but *shrugs* maybe I just wasn’t looking for it. My problem was MARE. Mare fraking Barrow of the completely irrational thought patterns and behaviors. GAWD, I hate her. *takes calming breath* I’m glad someone else did too ;) *commiserates*
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  6. says

    Hehe, my review for this one is going up tomorrow and I have to say that I felt the same way you did… at first. I agree that in terms of originality, Red Queen was sorely lacking. Mare was such a cliche YA heroine, honestly, and even though she was the main character, she didn’t develop at all. I kept looking out for signs that would set her apart from, like, Katniss Everdeen or something, but nope. Her lightning powers basically equaled to Katniss’ awesome bow and arrow skills. Also, is it just me or was how Mare managed to master her powers really quick and convenient? ><

    Speaking of the romance, I actually thought I would be reading of my first ever love square, too. Mare is basically surrounded by guys her age, and I didn't appreciate the way they interacted with her, because it just seemed like romance could burst out from all three guys at any given moment. It left me feeling quit stressed and traumatized, really. But just as I was about to give up on this book ever reaching my expectations (especially after all that hype), Victoria Aveyard threw that huge-ass twist. I don't know about you, but I never saw that coming (I mean, I had guessed about it near the beginning, but as the story progressed, I kind of dismissed the possibility of it). And I could forgive the love triangle/square somewhat. Though… I still don't see why Cal was drawn to Mare in the first place. For a person who has been brought up in an all-hate-Reds atmosphere, it's kind of a miracle that he acts the exact opposite of what he was thought. :/

    But yup, even with the plot holes (I REALLY would have loved some explanations, too), I thought that the twist at the end was brilliant and so clever because it was so unexpected. And the horrible romance sort of made sense to me at that moment, too. Doesn't mean that I still support Cal and Mare, though. xP

    Awesome review, Aimee! Sorry that you weren't able to enjoy this one, but I understand where you're coming from, and without the twist, I probably would have rated the book the same, too.
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  7. says

    AHHH YAY! ANOTHER PERSON WHO DIDN’T LOVE IT TO DEATH!! I feel like such a black sheep but…nope. I didn’t enjoy it that much. I think it was engaging and got a 3-stars from me (I’m a higher rater than you anyway I think ehhe. I’M SOFT) but…it was like The Selection and Red Rising all mashed together and not even as well written. And it so so bugged me that they threw in the arena scenes. like what. It didn’t even fit. Just another rip-off of the Hunger Games. *glares*
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  8. says

    I felt the exact same way for the first half of the book Aimee! The sense of deja vu was strong in this book, it was like a mesh up of all these different books I’ve read. I lowered my expectations after that and then I thoroughly enjoyed the second half a lot more! While it’s like a cliched trope, I think the thing that works for Red Queen in my books is that Aveyard took these tropes and made them better. All the issues I had with the other books were touched upon and fixed in Red Queen. I didn’t even see the twist coming because I’d stopped comparing this book to the others. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it though, I hope your next read is much better! xx
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  9. says

    Ahhh that sucks! Honestly, I’ve been less excited to read this because it reminds me a lot of Red Rising, and like you said, it’s a lot of YA tropes just put together. I’m sorry you didn’t end up liking it though! I might still get to it if I find it at the library, but it’s not something I’ll buy!
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