by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Published: Feburary 10, 2015
When I saw Red Queen displayed in Powell’s for months, I thought it was some kind of new story about the red queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I was excited to see what someone would write about her backstory. It was the book pick in one of the books clubs I am in, so I grabbed it and then learned it had nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. *tiny tear*
Red Queen is a young adult dystopian novel set in a world where Silvers rule and Reds do all the grunt work. The Silvers have silver blood and some kind of superpower like X-Men. They are royalty living in the Capital and doing rich people things like throwing fancy parties and eating lots of food while making snarky comments about each other and the Reds. The Reds are like normal humans with red blood and no special powers. Sad. They are laborers, servants, and soldiers. Growing up, all Reds strive to get themselves an apprenticeship by the time they are 18 or they are going to be sent to the frontlines of a war. Mare is on the verge of doing that herself when a chance encounter with the Crown Prince gets her a job as a servant in the Capital, which gives her the possibility of providing more for her family than she would have before fighting in the war like all her older brothers. While there, Mare discovers things about herself, learns more about a rebellion going on where Reds want to overthrow the Silvers rule, and since this is a YA dystopian novel, there is also a love triangle.
The start of this was very similar to other teen dystopian novels that I have read like The Hunger Games (much better) and Divergent (that trilogy started off fairly strong and petered out quickly). I thought I would be able to guess how the entire storyline was going to turn out, but there were some surprises for me. While the romances in the story were like I expected, the plot with the rebellion and Mare’s journey kept me intrigued and wanting to keep reading the series. There was also a twist at the end that I should have seen coming, but totally didn’t. That made me want to see what happens in the next novel that is already out.
I did have some issues with the book. I felt it was an easy read, but I wished there was more character development. I felt like some of the male characters were better developed than the female ones. There were some evil characters that seemed so one-dimensional. They could still be developed later on in the series, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. I also wished that Mare would have bonded with more female characters in the story. Her best friend back home was a boy she grew up with. When she arrived at the Capital , she bonded with many male characters from some father figures in the way of a guard and a teacher, but she mostly hung out with her love triangle guys. The closest female relationship she had was a maid, but they barely talked to each other. The maid was there as a plot device to move the story along. I did like her relationships she did have, but wanted her to have some good female friendships too.
Finally, I think my biggest issue was Mare herself. I did not get a good sense of her character. She was written so vaguely that I almost wondered if it was intentional so that the reader could put their own personality onto her character. I didn’t like that. I wanted to learn about her and then guess what decisions she would make as the story moved along, but she seemed so boring! There were these two guys that fell in love with her almost immediately and I didn’t get why. What made her so charming and special? No idea. I really wanted to know, but it wasn’t there in the writing. I hope it improves in the next book.