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Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Red Queen: Red Queen 1" by Victoria Aveyard (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Victoria Aveyard's Official Website Here

OVERVIEW: Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

FORMAT: Red Queen is the first in a trilogy. It is a YA novel with dystopian, government politics, superpowers, and romance.

Red Queen stands at 388 pages and was published February 10, 2015 by HarperTeen.

ANALYSIS: Imagine a mixing bowl in which you throw in X-Men mutants, a Game of Thrones cut-throat political scene, and a Hunger Games dystopian setting. What would you get? The answer to that would be the fast paced, addictive YA novel, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Red Queen tells the tale of a Mare, a 17-year-old Red girl who lives in the poor section of the country. She has resigned herself to the fact that her future isn't that bright and in just a few months she will be shipped off to serve her required time in the army. After all, she is just a red and not a silver – which is an elite warrior with god-like powers. All was going as planned, until a chance encounter with an individual winds up changing her life.

One morning, she is unexpectedly summoned to start a new job in the Silver Palace where she serves the elite members of society – and those individuals whom she has hated her entire life. It is while working in the Silver Palace that she discovers a secret that may change everything. She appears to have the powers of a silver, but still bleeds like a red. This could be what is needed to change society, but the silvers will do everything in their power to keep this secret hidden.

If you are thinking to yourself, 'wow all of this sounds familiar', that is because in many ways it has been done. And this pains me to say – but Red Queen is just one of the many novels of this genre.

Red Queen is pretty much your run-of-the-mill YA supernatural/dystopian romance fantasy. It has the oppressive society, the downtrodden young woman who finds herself a pivotal member of society, and of course romance – lots and lots of romance. It is well-written, fast paced, but sadly it is predictable in many aspects. It just didn't have a lot to set it apart from the dozens of other books in the genre.

I do want to note that if you are looking for a lot of magic/supernatural aspect to the novel, it really is more of an undertone and foreshadowing for future books. This first novel is mainly focused on Mare working her way through the political courts, discovering what she can do, and establishing the world/situation.

There is also a lot of time spent on the romance – love triangle of sorts. While it is necessary, it can give some readers a sense of false hope as it feels like a romance novel disguised as a supernatural/fantasy book.

I'm conflicted because it is very clear Victoria Aveyard is a strong, passionate writer with major talent, but the cardboard cutout feel of the book just made it difficult to really love, love the book. It is the first book of a trilogy, so there is plenty of room left for Aveyard to spread her wings show her talent and really shine. I will say for a debut author, she was amazing I just wish there was a bit more to the novel.

Now, if you are a fan of this genre (liked books like The Selection and Throne of Glass), I think you will ultimately love this novel. If this is your first introduction to this genre, you'll love it. However, if you are looking for something new and different, this first book just doesn't have that.

Overall, Red Queen was a well-written, fast paced novel, but it just didn't have enough of a twist to set it apart from the other novels of this genre. I will certainly be reading the second book of the series to see where it goes. I, ultimately, hope some of the predictable nature disappears and the series turns out to be amazing.


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