Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lightning Magic! But... High Expectations | Red Queen Review

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10, 2015
Pages: 383

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

I was really excited about this novel when I saw the excerpt on Scribd and I wanted to be part of the first wave of readers to get the experience of this novel once it hit the shelves. Alas, with life and money I wasn't really able to do that and I finally got the paperback from TBD a few months ago. I finally got around to reading it and while I did enjoy the story, I found it to be kind of a disappointment--a definite case of overhype expectations.

The world of the novel was really interesting. I think if we got more involved with the world and the court systems, I might've enjoyed this book a little more. I feel like the world was kind of there to create a certain amount of tension, but I never got a real feel or knowledge about how the world really worked other than the segregation of the Reds and the Silvers. It was kind of like everything got explained away by the segregation, but we didn't delve a lot into either culture. It was really disappointing. 

The pretense of the novel is really interesting, a Red girl (Mare) suddenly has powers that she shouldn't have and she's not a long lost Silver? I thought that was an interesting spin to the story. I think this gimmick was used pretty well in terms of creating the kind of tension with the story and the conniving mind of the Queen. But again we kind of see a lot of... telling and not showing in terms of this.

The romance is... ??? Cal is alright I guess? There's no real interaction between Cal and Mare, but suddenly Cal is totally in love with her and willing to defend her in a lot of situations? It's a case of insta-love and I don't know if I can get behind that, really. 

I think I'll read Glass Sword to see where the story progresses, but I'm not entirely impressed by how this series starts. It's pretty surface level with the story and it suffers from tell and not show. There's a lot of times where I'm supposed to care about stuff, but I don't really feel anything. While the action scenes were pretty cool, the more intimate and character oriented scenes lacked a lot of heart. The plot twist in the end is something I saw like a mile away. I kind of wished Aveyard spent more time building the relationships so that it came more as a surprise than a "well saw that coming". 

Overall I really like the idea of this story, but the execution isn't all that great. I wish there was more detail in a lot of the character interactions and the society. I feel like a foreigner rather than someone who should be part of the world (if that makes sense). I think I'll give Glass Sword a shot, but I'm not as excited about this series as I was in the beginning.