Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

With its mix of fantasy and dystopian elements, Red Queen was a fun and thrilling read, full of moments that left me in shock. Though parts of it were a bit predictable, the plot twists were executed nicely, and still surprised me even though I knew what was coming. The main character, Mare, made this book that much better. She was such an amazing, strong character that I fully loved reading about, and I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.

The premise of this book seemed simple at first, but it grew into a great weaving of conflicts and lies. It was exciting to see the plot grow, and to find out each little twist to the story. Certain elements of it kept reminding me of other books, which didn’t take away from the plot, but did lack originality in places. For example, right from the beginning I was reminded of the Hunger Games, with Mare’s village and her best friend Kilorn, not to mention the arena. Also the training, and the way the book ended reminded me of Divergent. However, they were relatively subtle similarities that didn’t hurt the story.

I loved the feeling of the setting throughout the book, but especially in Mare’s village. I could really feel the grime and mud, as well as the fragility of the whole village, which is called the Stilts for obvious reasons. That feeling clung on throughout the book, because the whole time, Mare never loses who she is or where she’s come from. She’s a thief, but she’s true and honest, and makes all of her decisions out of the love she has for her people. Through her character, you’re able to truly experience the corrupt system she lives in. You really feel for her, as she makes so many sacrifices in her life.

Cal confused me a bit, but I think that’s only because we couldn’t see directly into his head. He is a strong, complex character, who is faced with so many decisions and challenges. Though he makes mistakes, he always does what he thinks is right, like Mare. Maven continuously seemed younger than his true age. Although he is clearly clever, he definitely has an immaturity to him.
While parts of this book hinted a being a dystopian, the fantasy kingdom element of it came out stronger. As Mare is forced into this new world, we watch as she goes through the processes of getting used to it. Toward the beginning of this transition, there were parts that got boring, even though they were necessary. The Houses and the government system, as well as several characters, were very similar to A Game of Thrones, but in a more YA version. Again, while that lacked originality, it was still a welcomed aspect that I enjoyed reading.

The way Mare discovered her power was very unexpected, unlike anything I’ve read before. The romance aspect was subtle, as the book focused more on Mare’s growth and the world’s power struggles. The sudden twist at the very end was so good, as were the small ones toward the beginning of the book.

I highly enjoyed Red Queen. Although it wasn’t perfect, and I wish it didn’t remind me so much of other books, there were a lot of unique, unexpected aspects to it that made it so much fun and exciting to read. Mare was an amazing main character. I understand the all the hype this book has, and I can’t wait for the next book in this series to come out.

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