It’s Monday and we’re officially over halfway through October. How crazy is that?! I can’t even believe it.
I’m really excited about today’s post because, well, I wasn’t expecting to be excited about this book. One of my goals for October was to tackle a number of boxes on my 2016 reading list and I’ve been trying really hard to not count the same book twice. I know I know, I’m a little late to the game, but it’s a great way to diversify my bookshelf and end the year (OMG, I can’t believe I’m saying that!) on a high note.
I’ve already conquered the book by a comedian and the futuristic love story and the next one that I took a chance on was the YA Bestseller. While I usually read the heck out of YA fiction, I haven’t been as excited about the selection in the past year or so. It seems that with with the success of The Hunger Games and Divergent every author and their mother has decided that dystopian societies and class wars are the theme of choice. I don’t blame them; these would be societies make for an interesting backdrop and give you TONS of creative freedom when it comes to world building and plot development. However, these books are only good when done correctly and more importantly, done well. I’ve read a number of them that have just fallen flat, so I didn’t have high expectations going into Red Queen. Technically the second book in the series, Glass Sword is the YA best seller, but I refuse to read the second book in a series without reading the first.
Well, fellow book lovers, it didn’t fall flat.
Similar to most YA novels on the market right now, Red Queen looks at a dystopian society in which there is a clash between an upper and a lower class. In this case the divide is between the Silver-blooded elite and the Red-blooded working class. All Silvers have some sort of superpower that is a integral part of their success within the society while the Reds are powerless and unless they have a marketable labor talent (sewing, craftsmanship, etc.) they are sent to the front lines once they turn 17.
The story’s heroine Mare Barrow, is a Red who finds herself in a precarious position once she is saved from conscription by the oldest Silver prince, Cal. She is a Red, but has powers like a silver – she can control lightening. The Silvers have no idea what to do with the “little lightening girl” so they hide her in plain sight as the supposed long lost Silver Princess now engaged to the younger prince, Maven.
The story follows Mare as she learns to control her powers, wrestles with her double life, and begins to fight with the Red Guard to take down the group of people she hates the most.
Now I’m not going to give anything away, because frankly, I hate reviews with spoilers.
What I will tell you though is that I was very impressed with the way Aveyard developed the story and made the dystopian society her own. Granted there were many elements that were similar to other series on the market, but Aveyard added a layer of complexity and negativity that made the story more real. The story was more complex that I would have originally predicted and just when I thought I had figured the entire thing, she dropped a bomb and exploded everything I would have predicted. So that happened.
I also really didn’t mind Mare. There are plenty of reviews that claim she’s spoiled, bratty, and only looking out for herself. Hello, she’s 16. If someone were to write about my life at 16, there would be plenty of selfishness, eye rolls and dramatic sighs. In reality I think Aveyard did a much better job than the genre as a whole portraying what a teenager would actually think if she found herself in this situation. I found myself loving and hating her alternatively throughout the book, which, in my opinion, is the sign of a well written heroine.
As a fun, quick, read I was very impressed with Red Queen. While I don’t think I’m going to run out and pick up the next one today (okay, it might be this weekend), I would highly recommend for someone who is looking for a unique take on the current YA genre.
Rating: 4 stars.
What did you think? Have you read the series? Did you love it or hate it?