Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015. The cover is amazing; the blurb rocked my socks off and I was so, so ready to have my mind blown. Strangely, this book turned into an explosion of a different sort, leaving me intrigued yet confused.
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 want to start with what I didn’t like. It took me many, many pages of this…this thing that was like a subtle itch that was noticeable but unable to be scratched. What was it? I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I decided it had to be the main character. Her personality was almost dull, lacking the ups and downs of emotions. I didn’t feel her anger, her pain, her fear. I watched her on the pages as an indifferent spectator, and I like to be in the driver seat, being assaulted with obstacles speeding across the plot’s course. I felt so detached. The relationships that Mare has with the two princes (and the friend from home) were strangely clinical but I think I attributed it to the general feel of Mare’s world, where everything is carefully calculated. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel her emotions and therefore, I didn’t believe the “love” between her and certain male characters.
This detachment may have been a factor in the betrayal that I did. Not. See. Coming. After reading other reviews and looking back, it’s almost obvious but at the time of reading, I was smacked across the face with the stinging hand of treachery. After reviving myself from my shock, I was back in the game because before this my interest was waning. I wasn’t feeling it.
The last few chapters saved this book for me. The battle at the end and the descriptive and tense fight scenes made up for the monotonous everyday observations of the first two-thirds of the book. The truth being finally revealed (after not expecting there to be a ‘truth’) sent my mind on a whirlwind of analysis, examining character’s motives and fully understanding past actions.
Red Queen has a rich dystopian world, but lacks believable characters. It has awesome magical powers and pushes boundaries, but it leaves the reader without any feels. I didn’t swoon or sigh, but I did feel the heart-wrenching terror of the final betrayal. Because of this, Red Queen wasn’t the book I thought it would be, but I’m willing to give this series another chance to see where it goes.
STARS: 3.5 out of 5