Red Queen - the first in a YA fantasy series
Red Queen #1 by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Awards: several YA awards
Published 2015, 383 pages
I picked this novel up at my local used book store because the premise sounded interesting and it's got a great cover. After reading it, I still think it has a great cover!
This is a hard review to write - I think because the plot for Red Queen is so predictable, therefore unremarkable. It certainly wasn't terrible; it just didn't live up to its potential I think. I read reviews that compared it to Game of Thrones (not even close) or Hunger Games (closer, but less interesting). For me, I was reminded a bit of the Red Rising series, but not as complex.
The planet's inhabitants are divided by the color of their blood with the Silvers being the ruling class and the Red bloods being the servant and working class. One unexpected twist is that the Silvers all have some sort of 'super power' such as strength or controlling fire or metal or manipulating water, etc. Reds have no powers and are relegated to poverty and servitude.
Enter our heroine, Mare. A Red blood almost 18 years old at which point she will be conscripted into the army to fight a never-ending war, as all Reds are. Her 'power' is that she's an excellent pick pocket and thief and that helps her family survive. However, ultimately that doesn't save her.
"Anyone can betray anyone." (betrayal or potential betrayal is a big theme)
Circumstances bring her to the notice of a Silver prince. You can guess what happens next.......he arranges for her to serve in the palace and - shocker - she discovers she too has a special 'super power' like the Silvers but had no idea and doesn't know how to control it (but she does learn). Of course, there's an underground movement to overthrow the Silvers and Mare and her special power are recruited. There's also a little love triangle between Mare and two princely brothers that adds a bit of an interesting layer. See what I mean? Predictable.
“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
While I never felt like not finishing the book, I did find myself skimming along, looking for something compelling or different to grab my attention. The introduction of the Silver powers was one of those moments. Mostly I was kinda bored and kept realizing that I was reading a YA book. I've read and enjoyed many YA books that had complex characters and gripping action scenes and I was so engrossed that I never felt like they were for younger readers. I found this book lacked those elements for me.
A quick read, a moderately interesting premise, characters that I barely remember a week after finishing the book, and a lackluster beginning romance didn't keep me fully engaged through the book. A very average book in all ways; I won't be continuing the series.
Reading Challenge: #PopSugar20 #8: upside down image on cover; #BooklistQueen #40: a color is used in the title Follow my progress in the Challenges tab at the top of the page. I'm half way through the year, but I don't think I'm half way through my books.....the libraries being closed has inhibited my challenge reading!