Yelling War Cries in Red Queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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5/5 STARS

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: July 2015 (1st pub. February 2015)
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 383 {paperback}

 Original review on Goodreads

*To see any spoilers, click on the provided link where you’ll be redirected to my review on Goodreads where the spoiler will be ‘hidden’ at the same point in the review.**


Initial Thoughts

Ouch, right in the feels. This book was incredible!! I absolutely loved the different and many powers that the Silvers had and the revolutionary feel to the book made the action and side choosing so real and heart stopping. I loved the world of this book and the two plot twists at the end were HUGE wows. And not expected, for the most part. What a spiky love triangle!! I don’t even know what side I’m supposed to be going with right now. I really need the sequel to know what happens next!! Such. A. Cool. Book.


Red Queen

I found this book to be really entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I was somewhat anxious going into this book because because there’s been a huge amount of hype surrounding, but I LOVED IT. Oh my goodness, the events that go down in this book were so much fun and I just want to go around and throw this book at everyone so that they’ll read it. There are so many mixed reviews for this with two main complaints:

Mare is annoying.
The book is unoriginal.

But this was not the case for me. Sure, the themes of this book hark back to other dystopian novels but it was a fantastic combination of ideas that had me frantically flipping the pages. I genuinely don’t have much, if anything, to flaw this book by. Reading this entertained me and met all my expectations. I just loved it.


Dystopia Galore

This has bee described as The Hunger Games meets The Selection and I could not put it better myself. In fact, this is only the second book I’ve ever read where I’ve found this sort of mashup description to be accurate – with the other being Magonia (The Fault in Our Stars + Stardust). Maybe there should be a new literary sport where you pull out a whole huge selection of books and then pick two and add them together to see what story you’d come up with. Wouldn’t that be fun? I think that’s a fantastic idea. Anyway, I’m completely off track. Ahem.

The story follows a girl named Mare who is a ‘red’. Now, in this society people are strictly divided by their blood type; there are reds – the lower, serving class, and the silvers – the wealthy, ruling class. Mare’s family is incredibly poor and thanks to a war that’s going on her brothers have all be conscripted to fight and Mare is next, as she’s shortly to come of age. Life is darn hard, and it’s about to get a whole lot trickier for Mare.

She manages to find herself in a position wherein she’s posing as a silver noble, betrothed to the second in line to the throne. As you can see things escalated pretty quickly for her. There’s so much that happens, with reds facing their own problems of oppression and exploitation whilst the silvers are locked up in their own world of power games with the overhanging threat of this war with the other kingdoms. So basically, if at any point in this book you think things are going okay, then I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE, because there are far too many problems for that to ever happen. The plot is just so much fun.

The greatest thing for me, though, was the setting. I fell in love with this crazy world of divisions and magic. I loved how Aveyard constructed the world in my mind through her words. I feel like the series is only going to get better as we explore new places and see what wonders each of them have to offer us. Whilst reading this I was wanted to sit down and draw what the palace would have looked like, the slums, the other kingdoms – I even started contemplating how cool it would be to put together an atlas of fantasy worlds’ maps. Don’t tell me that would’t be awesome.

The magic ‘system’ was seriously cool. The idea being that only the silvers were in possession of magical ‘talent’ (obviously with the anomaly of Mare) and magic is hereditary. So on top of the seriously cool things they could do, magic was also like a gene – passed down from father to child, which in turn meant that as each family was known for a particular talent (e.g. controlling water, or, turning into stone) . WHICH ALSO MEANT that families would bolster their own power and influence by marrying their children to off to even more powerful and influential families and so on. This made the whole dystopian business feel less forced and more like a retelling of history but with fantasy. Like, this would 100% have happened if people were genetically ‘different’ in this way during the middle ages. Who would be solving the problems of the poor when you could be making special clothing to show off your skill over tea to a potential suitor, right?


Why Mare is Awesome

Maybe if I reread this now I might pick up on what was so ‘annoying’ about her – but I really liked Mare. And I think you’ve all just been reading too many dystopians back to back, so sit down and eat a biscuit and everything will be okay. The most awesome thing about Mare was that she wasn’t driven by a love interest to do great things like so many other YA heroines and on top of that she is the most logical character to be a bit of a tomboy (I will explain why in a second). I loved her family, I loved how wonderfully realistic they were. Mare has three older brothers and one younger sister. Both her parents are still living (*gasp*) but her dad is crippled from his days fighting in this war. All her brothers have had a huge influence on shaping Mare’s character. The boys are very down to earth and you can easily see how Mare turns out somewhat less ladylike with those types of role models to live up to. I mean if I had no rights and was destined to serve in a war from birth then I probably wouldn’t give two hoots about school either.

Then there’s her sister who’s more serious than her and has a knack for textiles and thus has landed a job which excludes her from having to go to war – it’s pretty darn hard to get a job. Mare was often jealous of her which caused a slight rift in their relationship sometimes but you know deep down they’re pally. Their relationship reminded me of the Katniss/Primrose complex, but if Prim had been more robust and Katniss less . . . rude?

Anyway, aside from making perfect sense in a familial setting I thought Mare did an excellent job of handling things. She’s angry at all the right people and develops trust with others in an appropriately slow manner – none of this ridiculous OH HE HAS BLUE EYES LET’S MARRY NOW rubbish. Which links back to what I said earlier, there is romantic interest in this book but for the most part Mare is sticking to her guns to survive and keep her family safe. She’s not interesting in falling for the pretty boy, she’s interested in fixing things. I really feel like she’s going to carry the story of the second book really well. I seriously can’t wait to find out what happens next!


Cal & Maven

Okay, so these two were AWESOME. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fiction brother relationship that took the main stage before, aside from Ren and Kishan (Tiger’s Curse), and it’s the most wonderful thing ever. This was really unique and I loved how well they seemed to get along. I gradually began to like Maven more and more as the story progressed but I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Cal. I thought their ability with controlling fire was very cool and the scenes where we get to watch the aristocrats’ children practicing their skills was causing my brain to short circuit in excitement.

And let’s not mention how much of a bitch their mum, the queen, was. She was like the Cersei of the YA world. Sheesh.


A Discussion of Spoilers

CLICK TO SEE SPOILER


Summary

I loved this book. I will definitely read EVERYTHING else that Aveyard puts out and I’m jumping with excitement to continue this story. I highly recommend giving this a shot if you’re thinking about it. yet another wonderfully exiting YA fantasy book to go into the hall of fame. It’s books like these that remind what’s so very exciting about reading books.

// GOODREADS // BUY //

View all my reviews


 Have you read Red Queen?

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What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!


End Note

~~ Kirstie ~~

 

11 thoughts on “Yelling War Cries in Red Queen

  1. I really enjoyed this book too. I remember finishing it with a day. It was one of those stay up all night to finish reads because it was super exciting and fast paced. I can understand why people wouldn’t like Mare, but there are definitely more annoying female characters than her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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