Finally, I have finished Red Queen. It took ages to motivate myself to finish it, if I am being honest. I bought it at the beginning of the year and I started the first six pages, but then put it down to read Slumber by Christy Sloat a fabulous YA read. I had no drive to go back to it and then I read Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole, which I enjoyed immensely. One day I decided to finish it because I have heard so many positive things about it and I thought that I may not have given it a chance. I started from the beginning again and read it slowly over the last two weeks.
Victoria Aveyard was born in a small town in Massachusetts in the United States. She moved to Los Angeles for college where she earned a BFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. She is currently working on the sequel to Red Queen along with screenwriting projects.
What is Red Queen About?
The world is separated by blood, silver and red. The silvers are the ruling class and possess terrifying powers which they use to intimidate the powerless reds. One day the main character Mare is confronted with a terrible decision to risk her own life to save the ones she loves and the outcome puts her face to face with the silver king. She discovers that despite her blood, she possesses extraordinary powers of her own and she is forced to masquerade as one the people she hates the most.
At the same time, a faction of reds are revolting against the silver monarchy for their right to equality. Both sides want to use her for their own ends.
I remember, I walked into the local bookstore for a browse and I certainly was not expecting to buy anything. From the corner of my eye I spotted the handsome cover of Red Queen and picked it up immediately. I read the blurb and I was sold, the premise was just wonderful and I thought that it would be an action packed adventure. However, I am sad to say that it did not live up to the expectations that I had. It was not bad at all and in fact, it was quite entertaining, however, it fell short of all that it could have been and I was just looking for a little more.
I will begin with the positive aspects. Victoria was very good at characterisation, particularly with the main character Mare whose voice I found was exceedingly clear. I could hear her voice in my as I read her inner monologues. I felt like she was an extremely likable character who was a bit rough around the edges but quite normal, like every teenager full of angst. Every other character had their own clear personalities. Her description overall was great and her similes were extremely accurse and depicted what she was attempting to liken it to. It enhanced her writing skills for me.
I found her world extremely vivid. I could see that there was a lot of work put into it and it was very well thought out. The imagery was done well as I could picture every building, every outfit and particular people faces.
There was a subtly in her writing particularly in her depiction of the politics that surround the silver world and the court of the king. This was good as it alluded to more danger and complexity to the world around them.
There was a good use of foreshadowing at various stages of the book that hinted at the ending, however I found them to be a bit too obvious and I knew how it was going to end from these clues. This kind of ruined it for me because it ended exactly the way I thought it would and there was no surprise.
I know that the beginning of a book can lag as you must set the scene, but I thought that the ball got rolling rather late in the game. Chapter 8 to be precise. I think that is a bit far into the book for it to start with the plot and the setting up of information was too long.
Unfortunately, despite the initial premise which I found unique and compelling, I ended up feeling like it was the Hunger Games all over again. It felt all too familiar, for instance Mare has a best friend called Kilorn who is secretly in love with her and she doesn’t know her feelings towards him. The people of this world fight in arenas, but here it is the silvers with powers fighting each other. Either way it is to intimidate the oppressed class with displays of their superior power. It’s a district 12 versus the capital kind of situation, with the oppressed rising up against the powerful and almost unbeatable foe.
I didn’t feel a connection to any character, not even to Mare and I think it is because I found the characters were two dimensional. Unlike, the Hunger Games I felt nothing towards the characters and their plight didn’t strike a nerve. There are ones that I liked more than others and Mare was probably my favourite because she was the most developed character. Cal was boring had no personality at all, and Maven was just plain predictable. In the end, I liked her dead brother Shade more than anyone else and he didn’t even have much of a part to play in the whole story and I believe my affinity towards him was due to the fact I felt Mare’s sorrow for him as genuine.
I thought that the love story present in all YA’s would be its redeeming quality. However, I didn’t feel it! I was distant from it all and it didn’t drag me in. It didn’t seem real to me as there was no descriptive factors which portrayed Mares feelings. All it seemed to say was that she was confused about everything, which I understand. But could your heart beat a little faster maybe? Make me feel like I am standing there in his arms. Instead, I was very aware that I was reading a book and looking at a page of ink.
In the end, I don’t think that I would get the next book, but somehow I have a feeling I will end up buying it anyway just to see if the second one is better. For die-hard fans, to which there are many, I hope I didn’t offend. Her writing and description was great but it had pitfalls I could not ignore. Victoria has achieved so much at such a young age and I wish her the best and the brightest future (which I am sure is in her stars). Maybe, another book by her will captivate me more and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
Let me know what you think everyone!