I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy Book 1
Publication Date: Some conjecture, I am a bit confused. I know that it came out in America on February 10, but Hachette reckons April 2015 for the rest. Thus, posting this review at a kind of random time! (Sorry!)
Synopsis: "This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst 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."
My thoughts: This was one of those books that turned up with one of those tag-lines written on it, in this case - 'A thrilling new fantasy trilogy for fans of DIVERGENT and THE HUNGER GAMES' (publisher's emphasis). These sorts of tag-lines serve a purpose - getting people interested in the book if they've read the listed titles - but I tend to find them more annoying than anything. I want a chance to read the story before I start making comparisons between it and other things I've read - a chance to understand what is going on before I start having my opinion swayed.
Unfortunately, the presence of these tag-lines has begun to make me feel a little biased already - against the book. I recognise that this is a strange and kind of silly reaction, but I can't seem to help it. Sometimes books with tag-lines turn out to be some strange amalgamation of books already written, and a not very good specimen at that.
And some, like Red Queen, are actually pretty awesome once you give them a chance.
It took me a few chapters to get into this story - I am not exactly silent on my dislike of most dystopian fiction, and I find it difficult to read about people like the Reds who deal with so much on a day-to-day basis. But I started to warm to the characters and figured this would be a good romp if nothing else. And then things began to get serious.
The way some of the Silver characters have been created is intriguing - they seem to have quite a few layers to them and I found myself equally suspecting them of wrongdoing whilst also wanting to trust them, right along with Mare. At times I found Mare to be a little irritating, but those times were few and far between, and more often than not I was analysing her reactions along with the reactions of the people around her.
The romance is present, I must add, as I know some people find romance destroys a good dystopian (for me, I find it one of the only things that I cling to during all the doom-and-gloom), but, having said that, I didn't find it overwhelming. I occasionally found myself wondering how I would feel if I had been placed in Mare's situation, and I guess I am a romantic at heart as I wanted the romance to succeed (plenty of opportunity here for different 'teams' according to which male character you prefer), but Mare often tries to ignore romantic feelings and turn back to her tasks (tasks that I will not discuss).
One of the main things that I think authors need to get right is the structure of the world in which they place their characters. Aveyard managed to create a world which was alarmingly reminiscent of our own, which I think helped me to connect with what was happening that much more easily. Certain parts of the world made me think of ongoing situations that we have in our own world, and it makes you wonder just how far off we are from the sort of division that Silvers and Reds experience.
Analysis aside, this is an intriguing book that I ended up loving, and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.
I received an unsolicited copy of this book from Hachette for review.
You would like this book if: you enjoy dystopian YA; you feel like something that reflects our own world a little, but with awesome powers thrown in.
If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!