Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Stars: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5)
I’ve finally finished Red Queen, and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I did enjoy the book, but it didn’t “wow” me and wasn’t my favourite book ever. I will read the sequel as I want to find out how the story continues. I cared about the characters, but not overly so that I was desperate to know what happened to them. Some seemed boring and irrelevant, especially Cal at first. When he was mentioned again I was like “who is he?” and that is definitely not a good thing.
Writing: Victoria Aveyard’s writing wasn’t anything too exciting; it was good, but it didn’t give me this overwhelming sense of ‘wow she’s an amazing writer’. It was pretty average stuff, and maybe that’s what killed it for me. I found myself noticing clichés and rolling my eyes at them over and over. It wasn’t always very descriptive which I found frustrating, and sometimes there was a lot of telling, rather than showing. I think Aveyard executed the premise well, but I think the style of writing just threw it a bit off for me.
Plot: I loved the premise of this story. I think it was really creative, and I had high expectations for the plot unfolding. In the beginning, the plot seemed to move too quickly – the night after meeting Cal, he gets Mare a job? (Also why the fuck would he do that, I never really understood it other than he thought she was pretty or something but why would you get someone a job because they’re pretty? She pick-pocketed him for crying out loud!) And then Mare becomes a princess in under 24 hours and it all seemed too fishy to me. I understand Aveyard not wanting it to drag along with world building, but it was just too fast. Aveyard also incorporated one of the things I am beginning to be irritated by most of all: a prince with daddy issues.
The past three books I’ve read ALL had a prince with daddy issues. It’s making me put down fantasy for a bit because I can’t take it anymore. I need a break from the stereotype. I did like the twist that involved it at the end, but I wasn’t overly surprised by it. Overall I think the plot was done well, but there wasn’t any mind boggling twist that I never would have seen coming.
Characters: In all honesty, I cared about the characters but not overly so. I felt for Kilorn; I thought his character was well done even though he was a minor one. I also hated Evangeline but I think that was expected; as the reader we are supposed to hate her due to her personality as an evil, selfish, cruel person. I didn’t like Farley all that much – she felt very cold and almost unrealistic to me. Now onto the protagonists.
Mare: I liked Mare. I liked how Aveyard kept her true to herself in supporting Reds. She did begin to drive me insane with all her wishy washy feelings about Cal. I just wanted to yell at her to shut up and choose how she felt about him because I was sick of her going back and forth. I did think she was a little naive about certain Silvers and wasn’t careful enough, but I guess those are her flaws. She wasn’t my favourite heroine in the world or anything, but I didn’t hate her. Overall I think she suited the story well apart form being wishy washy.
Cal: I liked Cal, and then I hated him, and then I liked him again, and now that I’ve finished the book I don’t really know how to feel about him. It was a bit stereotypical that as the older son he was the “golden boy” who has a rebellious side, and his feelings for Mare also wasn’t surprising. I did enjoy how he was a pawn in the game as well, and was blind to all of the secrets right in front of him, showing that he wasn’t perfect. I don’t hate him, and I do want to see how his role plays out in the sequel.
Maven: I loved Maven so much in the beginning. SPOILER ALERT: it didn’t shock me when he turned out the be the antagonist. I knew he was too perfect and too helpful. Him also being the prince with daddy issues made me mad, but c’est la vie. I was more mad at Mare for being idiotic enough to fully trust him. I think his character was well written, and I feel a lot of people would be shocked by the twist involving him.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it definitely was not my favourite ever. I do want to find out what happens, but I’m not in a huge rush. So 3.5 stars it is.