Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.
Category: A YA bestseller
Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard (383 pages)
Favorite Line: The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.
I was torn between giving this book three and four stars, but I settled on three for a couple reasons:
- I had little desire to continue reading the book until I was over half way through it.
- I was unable to empathize with the main character or even begin to understand why she is the way that she is…. which is mostly annoying, in my opinion.
The book follows the story of Mare Barrow, a Red girl living in the Stilts, a poor village which sits just outside the of the Royal summer castle. In this world, the Reds are ruled by the Silvers (the 1 percent billionaires), who have superpowers and rule with absolute authority.
In this society there is virtually no room to move up in the social ladder because the sects are determined by the color of a person’s blood, red or silver. Some Reds are better off than others because they have been fortunate enough to find a job, but the rest are forced to join the military and fight in the never-ending wars with bordering countries.
The story opens on Mare, a daredevil pickpocket, who steals to keep her family afloat and maintains a high level of sass while doing it. Like all Reds, Mare has a strong hatred for the Silvers, especially the royalty, who, from the Reds point of view, do nothing but send their people off to die in the wars. Mare is determined this will not be her fate, although she is scheduled to join the army upon her next birthday…as it turns out, it was not her fate after all.
After a series of unusual events (I don’t want to give too much away because after all this is a popular Young Adult series and I don’t want to ruin anything), Mare finds herself a servant girl in the castle and accidentally reveals that she is no ordinary Red girl, but has some form of power like a Silver (which shocks everyone involved, including herself). Mare is then taken into the inner circle of the royal family, in order to be “figured out” by the Silvers.
Mare finds herself in the middle of enemy territory while a revolution stirs outside the palace walls, and she is scared to death.
In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.
Mare finds she has to be careful with every step, every word, and even every thought, and determine who can be trusted and who wants her dead.
The plot is fun, but again, I have a hard time enjoying a book with a main character whom I find exhausting. It’s a YA book, so the character has to make stupid decisions, it’s an unofficial YA rule, but this girl seems to make more than necessary.
The plot was a little slow for a while, there were a few different sub-plots going on to occupy the time, but I felt I was just waiting and waiting for it to pick up and get to the “can’t put it down” stage. Once it did (60-70 percent through), it was a fun read I just wish I could’ve gotten into it sooner.
If you are not a YA fan, I don’t think I would suggest you add this book to your list, it would only make you like the genre less.
If you are a YA reader, however, check it out and decide for yourself. The plot has similar aspects to all the fairy tales you know and love, with new twists to keep you interested, and the ending does make you want to go to the library to get the sequel just to see what happens next.
Red Queen was Victoria Aveyard’s first novel and was published in 2014. The sequel Glass Sword was recently released and the third novel of the series Queen Song is currently in the works.