Publishing Info: February 10, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: ALAMW15, Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 14, 2015
Related Posts: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 - #0.2
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 center 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 was a hard book for me to start. At first I was wary of the dystopian feel, then I was afraid of the hype, and then I was afraid of all of the comparisons that popped up as people were reading. The reviews were mixed and my expectations were sort of all over the place… But when I saw that my library had a copy of the audiobook, I thought it would be a great time to start the book and find out for myself!
I can’t sugar coat it… the comparison thing was sort of an issue for me too. RED QUEEN sort of felt like a cookie-cutter dystopian with some fantasy elements and I could not stop the comparisons from popping into my head as I was reading. The Hunger Games feel was very prevalent along with Throne of Glass with a little Divergent and Shadow and Bone. I do read so much and have read so many dystopians that it’s not uncommon to be reminded of another book but RED QUEEN felt too similar at times to the point where I could pick out specific settings, scenes, and characters from other books. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off. I think RED QUEEN really fit into that dystopian mold and sometimes that mold is hard to break. For me, RED QUEEN just didn’t quite break out of that formula.
I wonder if the fact that is was so similar to these other popular series may have boosted its success with the general population. It’s easily pitchable as that true comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent and Throne of Glass and readers who are looking for books just like their favorite series will find that comfort within the pages of RED QUEEN. I know when I first finished The Hunger Games, I really was looking for a book very similar to it and I enjoyed so many other dystopians that I picked up afterwards. I appreciated the differences but I kept on hunting for that one book or series just like it so seeing a similarity in RED QUEEN, I think, makes it easy for fans of big blockbuster series really able to identify with this new series while still enjoying a new world and concept and then they’re also able to pass it along to their friends with the same idea in mind.
That being said, I actually really did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that’s why I felt like I could know them more intimately — I had met someone just like them before — but really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I always felt curious, involved, and excited. I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it’s gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.
I didn’t have issues with the romance but it was kind of all over the place for me. Not always in a bad way… but it’s sort of triangle-y… but not really, but it is, but it’s not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven’t read the book yet. If you have, you may understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was “supposed” to be on and actually now that I’m finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I understand that the situation changed and she was seeing someone in a different light but her feelings were strong and I think it’s hard to switch to the opposite spectrum after that. Even if it is a realistic reaction, it was hard for me as a reader to forget.
Because of the constant reminders of other series, I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the book wrapped up! The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there’s a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, “HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book.” Of course by that time I was ready to for a different ending so it did boost my feelings towards the book but it was almost too little too late to really hook me or wow me.
Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren’t anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling! I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I’m also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I’m definitely interested in more of this story but I’m not sure it’ll be an urgent read for me.
I actually really enjoyed this audiobook! The book was narrated by Amanda Dolan and this is the first book I’ve listened to of hers but I hope it’s not the last! I really enjoyed her narration and thought she did a great job of portraying each character not only in different voices but also different personalities. I had no issues with the phrasing of things as I sometimes do and I really enjoyed her overall performance. I think she was an excellent choice for this book with Mare as the main character! She really did a great job with her especially.
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Mare // Character Obsessions: Family, stealing, self-preservation.
I really liked Mare! She reminded me of some of my favorite strong heroines (Katniss, Celaena, Alina) and she had that same sort of attitude that all of those girls did too. Sometimes it’s too much for me to watch a scared or weak heroine so I’m always drawn to the strong, sassy ones!
Cal // Character Obsessions: Duty, strength, family.
I was really all over the place about Cal… but I guess so was Mare! It was so hard to pin him down and figure out what he was really all about… But I ended up liking him a lot throughout the book! There were some pieces of him that ended up being a little rougher and Mare was very turned off by some things but I kind of liked that the book didn’t shy away from the fact that not everyone is all good.
Kept Me Hooked On: Dystopian. I started my YA reading habits with almost all dystopian and I sort of burned myself out on the genre so I’m really glad that RED QUEEN made it exciting again!
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I just can’t get over how much of other books I saw in RED QUEEN. That did instantly give it a defined feel and I felt like I knew the characters well already but I couldn’t shake it and sometimes it got on my nerves. I don’t think it was intentional on Aveyard’s part but I think it just fit really well with what I expect from a dystopian novel. I am excited to see where the second book goes though.
I actually really enjoyed RED QUEEN. I didn’t fall in love with it like some did but I was wholly entertained from start to finish.
BOOKS LIKE RED QUEEN
(Click the cover to see my review!)