& Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Orion.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Orion.

The Book Itself: I love simplistic YA covers! Although this one is a little confusing physics-wise. How is the blood perfectly balancing on the round edge of the circlet? Wouldn’t it be more realistic if the blood were dripping down from above, onto the crown? But I digress…

My Review: 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 will always say two things about dystopians: I love them, and it is difficult to make them new and original because of all that has come before.

Red Queen has a lot of stock dystopian juice: feisty heroine, at odds with the unfair government, and desperate to help her floundering family. She has siblings that depend on her and who are also at the mercy of said Evil Government (she has brothers in the military service), annnnnd she is Special. She’s Different, considered Weird by everyone around her, not fitting into either class.

She doesn’t bleed silver, but she has a power. So the gnarly royal family decides to keep their enemies closer, as it were, and marry her off to one of the sons, depicting her as a Silver raised as a Red, and unaware of her elite lineage until now.

Now…it gets cloying. Mare tries to be a Spunky Heroine, but she doesn’t have quite enough life in her. Don’t get me started on the love triangle. I don’t understand why it’s a “requirement” for YA. I do like a well done one, with a believable timeline. This one wasn’t that. It got pretty unrealistic and frustrating. What dragged me down most were the melodramatic/overdramatic statements sprinkling copiously in the downtime between action scenes. Simplicity gets the stakes across better, in my opinion. It’s more poignant.

So it falls into the pitfall-y areas of It’s Been Done Before. BUT. The abilities are an awesome addition. Court life and the depictions of Silver life vs. Red life is well done. And the ending is awesome, the action ramping up, the main character finally getting a spine and reacting as she should…if the whole book were like those last 50 pages or so, it would have been an EXCELLENT read.

As it is, I can only call it an average dystopian/fantasy/adventure. I’m going to read the reviews for the second installment before I dive into the story again. Hopefully it improves, and Mare becomes fleshed out more, the powers get more air time, and that lovey-triangle-thing ends for good.

My Grade: C


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