Thursday 9 April 2015

Co Review - Red Queen

Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 10th February 2015
Publishers: Orion
No. Pages: 320
Source: Review Copy - Orion
Rating:  | 
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood - those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion - even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Initial Feelings

Amanda: Oooooo, I hate to start off this chat in a wild and laid back manner, but I seriously have a lot of feelings about Red Queen, lots of them positive, and simply have no idea how you were not just a smidgen more impressed with it all? I feel like a leper. Very few people seem to like this book like I do..
Stacie: I know you enjoyed it, and I'm really happy you did, but my biggest problem with the story was that it lacked originality and I didn't find much that was unique about it. It reminded me of so many books, better books, that I just felt like I had read the story before. Does that make sense?
Amanda: I think it makes sense.. I've heard a lot of people say that it reminded them of Red Rising, or The Hunger Games, or Throne of Glass, or, some other dystopian or fantasy read, and if I'm honest, I think I can understand and see why people would think that, originality is a tough cookie to bake. I personally couldn't see or feel anything that felt hugely like other books, or like anything I'd read and enjoyed previously, but then again, I didn't particularly enjoy Red Rising, The Hunger Games was good rather than great for me, and it didn't feel all that similar to Throne of Glass.
Stacie: I noticed a lot of similarities, but then again I read the 50 Shades of Gray books an all I could think about was Twilight.
Amanda: Oh.. I've not read either, guess that makes me safe right? I don't know though, Red Queen just felt so much like a 'me' book and I've got to say, I'm beating myself up for ever thinking of not reading this. It's true what they've say, you either love this book, or feel cheated by it. I get the impression you feel cheated?
Stacie: Honestly? Yes, but not the way you think. This should have been a 'me' book, you know my taste, tell me you don't think this book should have been anything less than perfect for me?
Amanda: This should have TOTALLY been a 'you' book, hence it surprised me so much that it wasn't..
Stacie: I felt cheated because no matter how much I tried, I just couldn't stop thinking about the other books. I felt cheated because of the plot holes and some characters not coming across how Aveyard intended. Most of all, I feel cheated because I was so looking forward to this book, only for it to not reach my expectations (Aveyard isn't fully to blame with that..)
Amanda: Ouch.. I guess we best go into more detail pronto.

You're on the 'Go Slow'..

Stacie: One thing I didn't like about this book was the pace; it couldn't make its mind up, first it was slow, then it sped up too quickly. At times it seemed like everything was happening at once but it took so much time to get to anything of any great importance that it felt rushed when it eventually started to get good.
Amanda: I don't think I've ever felt more differently towards a book than you.
Amanda: Red Queen felt like it was meant to be a slower story, one of intrigue and mystery, of hidden agendas and political moves. It felt messy and twisted and I quite liked the slow pacing; it gave me time to fall in love with everything else I came to enjoy about it. It felt like a game of chess, with battles of wit, of knowledge, and of unexpected moves, and I don't know if you can rush a game of chess like that.
Stacie: I agree with you on one thing, it did feel messy. The pacing was just all over the place and its why I think I found myself disconnected to everything else. I think you're right though, it was meant to be a slow moving story, but the pace should have been consistent and not constantly changing.
Amanda: Yeah, there were moments where the story just seemed to go from chilled politics to bridge burning, people dying, lots of people, all the conversations and then poof - chilled again. I wasn't too bothered though, although I'm starting to get the feeling I was too laid back about this book.
Stacie: Funny you say that, because I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe I was too hard on it haha

Stacie: Even with the amazing plot twist at the end that completely shocked me, I had issues with the pacing of it all. There was nothing really leading up to it so when everything came out it felt so rushed.
Amanda: I agree with you on the plot twist, maaaan, I was counting down the pages and wondering when the 'big ending' was going to come and just - I think my heart broke? I've never seen a character do a 180 like that before, I audibly squeaked, seriously.
Stacie: Me either, but because there was no hints about it, I ended up feeling like it was silly rather than marvel in it. That's hard for me because they were my favourite character too, so I really did like them and feel engrossed in their story and it shocked me to no end. Though I can't say I felt the same about it as you did, it was a bloody brilliant twist.
Amanda: Brilliant twist? It was damn right awful, not fair!
Amanda: Buuuuuuuut, I definitely felt as though there was a lot of rich, detailed plot before that ending came along. The ending was a shocker, and it definitely changed the direction of Red Queen, but having now finished it, I can see how and where the ending came from and how it was slowly formed and crafted. I think I was too immersed in the story to find much fault..
Stacie: You could be right, I just never saw it coming haha, although I guess looking back it was always there, very subtlety.

Anyone Can Betray Anyone..

Amanda: Having mentioned the plot briefly already, I get the feeling you weren't all that impressed with it?
Stacie: Actually, you're wrong. Despite it reminding me of other books, or the confused pace, I did really enjoy the plot and the story line. It had its faults but I couldn't help being sucked in by what was happening. Sadly the reason I gave it a 3 was because no matter how much I enjoyed, it did feel like a mash up of other stories (plus the other hick-ups along the way.)
Amanda: Well, I'm glad that you did enjoy the plot as a separate feature after all, because it's definitely one of my favourite parts of the whole read. I love political intrigue and overbearing ruling parties, uprisings and wars and battles and armies, it's everything a fantasy screams for, and when you throw the Silver's abilities, this plot and premise was something I could really sink my teeth into.

Amanda: Something I really did love about Red Queen was the general feel and atmosphere, thanks to the plot. I thought the reveals that came along throughout were well thought out and didn't feel unnecessary, OH, and the action, in those final scenes, pleeeeeeease tell me you liked that scene? It was one of my ultimate favourite battle scenes!
Stacie: Are you kidding me? Of course I liked them! The last few chapters had everything I felt was missing from the start, it's pacing was consistent so when action rolled into action followed by imprisonment, I was ready for it. It had some very very strong character development going on for the main 3 and it was then that I decided to read the next book because I had hope, sadly I had already felt let done before getting to that point or my rating would have been higher haha.

Amanda: I can breathe happy now, phew! Oh, the brilliantness of this book, I sigh of joy..

Stacie: One thing I felt let the story down in my eyes was that there really wasn't an awful lot explained as to why the Silver rained over the Reds; I know that they had powers and by definition it makes them more powerful than everyone else, but it couldn't have always been like that, and I would have just like to know how it all happened, (although because it's a series I have hope that it will be explained sooner or later..)
Amanda: I totally agree, I do think the explanation was a little.. unimpressive, but I'm definitely banking on getting more information later in the series, and considering exactly what was revealed about Mare's and her brother and that they've got a specific character with a lot of information under his belt in tow, I think the exploration of the world, it's past and it's deeper nooks and crannies could be fabulous.
Stacie: I'm hoping so, because it has the potential to be a great series.

Knowing Me, Knowing You:

Stacie: I felt like we had the great foundations for memorable characters, but I just feel that the development is something that really needs tightening up.
Amanda: Oh gosh, really? I thought the characters were really rather fabulous, all of them for different reasons.
Stacie: I liked them, but many of them felt flat and like the were the same character from start to finish.
Amanda: Ah, that is a bad feeling to have, no wonder you felt a little let down..
Amanda: Aside from Mare's slightly prejudiced assumptions, her clumsy 'telling strangers your backstory and that you're a thief' and her on-off feelings, I think even she was a great leading character though; her spark (get it?!) and her general attitude and drive was something I really loved and could connect to with her. She just had this personality that made me go 'yes, I'll be your friend' and I just fell into her perspective so easily and so willingly.
Stacie: But she was also very reckless and at times it felt like she was willing to do anything, or hurt anyone, to reach her end goal . It wasn't until seeing and hearing what she had helped do, did she realise she had got herself into something deeper than she could imagine. I felt like her character was rather selfish at times.
Amanda: Reckless and selfish are words that do describe Mare perfectly, but I guess I'd probably be a little daring and bitchy if I knew I could get away with it, and she definitely could. Sassy girl.
Amanda: What about you, I know you need to love your characters more than anything..
Stacie: Well a great character can save an otherwise poor plot/story, so yeah I do have to love them and for me, I just didn't like the majority of the ones in this book.
Stacie: However Maven would be my favourite, his character development was pretty near perfect!
Amanda: Maven is definitely one heck of a character isn't he? His development, his whole persona and - just everything about him was so so good right?! So many of my favourite quotes were from him or about him..

"That's something you should know about us silvers. We're always alone. In here, and here. he says, pointing betweens his head and his heart. "It keeps you strong." - Maven

Amanda: I really did fall for that little sod. *starts to cry*
Stacie: He was one that I really couldn't find much fault with, and you're right, some of the best lines and my favourite moments in the book are thanks to him.
Amanda: WHY AVEYARD?! WHY?! *sobs*

Amanda: I did like that Aveyard created some great family elements between all of the characters though, Mare and her family and her relationship with her Father was something I really liked and thought was greatly positive, as was Cal and Maven's relationship with their Mother. There felt like there was just SO MUCH RICHNESS AND REALISTIC FEELINGS about their relationships with one another, such hatred and such love, such loyalty and despising. It's like, everything I love in families..
Stacie: As much as I disliked elements of the book, the relationships within the families were spot on. I would however love to know more about the other Silver families and their abilities.
Amanda: Oh yes, more detail on the Silver's and their backgrounds could be great couldn't it? I'm secretly hoping for some multi-POV's in the sequel, so we know a little of what's happening since some characters have become split from others.. It could be so so good.
Amanda: I am without a doubt, excited!

My Red Blood brings all the boys to the yard..

Stacie: I'm going to be completely honest here and say that the love triangle, (or square? 3 possible love interests?) just was not for me. I know other people didn't find much wrong with it, but I just didn't see the point in having more than two people interested in her.
Amanda: Yeah.. I mean, I with you on the aspect of there being three love interests, there definitely wasn't a huge need for that, but in other ways, I can see were Aveyard was trying to take the aspects of romance. Mare's emotions were pretty much everywhere and I can sympathise a little with the feelings she felt, and who she felt them for.
Stacie: I understand her attraction to Cal, he pretty much saved her after all..
Amanda: That he did, Prince Charming that he is.
Stacie: ..and I know why she started trusting and falling for her betrothed Maven..
Amanda: As did I..
Stacie: ..but why couldn't Aveyard continue to leave Kilorn as just a friend?
Amanda: Hm. I may have a theory about that, but it contradicts my earlier talks of how Red Queen felt different to other books.. One of the few problems I did have with Red Queen was how Kilorn felt like, to me, Red Queen's version of Gale from The Hunger Games, or Mal from the Grisha, or Aspen from The Selection or, essentially, every other best friend who's from the main character's previous life, and that, I think, is why Kilorn was, every so often, pitted as a love interest. What do you think, reckon I'm on the right track?
Stacie: I think you're on track, since you mentioned her having feelings for them for different reason, I can fully understand why she had to keep him in there as one. Kilorn reminded her of home, Cal saved her from a life of poverty and Maven was someone to confide in.
Amanda: They each gave her something that made her feel comfortable too, Kilorn was her past, something she understood and knew, Cal was a new beginning, the person that brought her into this new world and who did what he could to ease the transition, and Maven was somebody Mare could be herself around, could share her beliefs with, and let down her guard around.
Stacie: I will say that having Kilorn remind me of Gale was another reason I couldn't shake the other books from my mind.. ;)

Amanda: When it comes to the other love interests though, I do think Cal and Maven were quite interesting characters, and they did make quite good love interests, yet, while I didn't particularly mind Cal and thought he was a good character, I'm not even the slightest bit ashamed to say, Maven stole my goddamn heart, that goddamn little - *takes deep breath* Why would Aveyard do such a thing to my heart?
Stacie: Maven didn't steal my heart, because I didn't feel swoony towards any male, but I was rooting for him.. however Cal was a good character, and he obviously had feelings for Mare, but they were two different people and I don't think it would have worked at all.. (similar to Celaena and Dorian)
Amanda: Ah yes, I can see that aspect there, they really had quite a positive relationship with one another, and in my eyes, they could definitely prove to be great allies, great friends, and positive people to confide in, but as a couple, not quite as much.
Amanda: In fact, I'm not entirely sure if any of the love interests would be a great match for Mare at this current moment, and I'm slightly hoping that the romance doesn't play a huge part in the sequel and has minimal moping. It would give the plot it's time to shine and could prove a brilliant move.
Stacie: None of them is a great match because she has no idea who she wants.
Amanda: I still confess to very much wanting Maven, no matter what happens. Oops?
Stacie: Ditto, I would still be very happy if she ended up with him, I preferred him over the rest.
Amanda: We should start a Maven fan-club, he's all we've talked about!

Final Thoughts

Stacie: Overall I did enjoy the book, it was an easy read and even though it all felt familiar, it was storyline I could sink my teeth into.  I think the biggest issue about the story for me though was how the Queen and King managed to convince everyone Mare was someone she wasn't, meaning no one would have ever seen her bleed. I think more could have gone into explaining how the convinced everyone, instead of it just being 'this is how it is and it's true because I'm telling you it is'. You know?
Amanda: I absolutely loved this this, everything from it's writing and it's detailed and magical, powerful world, to it's characters and their relationships and connections with one another. The political and powerful intrigue, and twisted and backstabbing characters, the abilities and the rebels, the action and the swoons, everything about this book was something I loved, and even with mine and Stacie's conflicting feelings, I like Red Queen is a book you need to read, if only to see where on the looooove meter you sit on. Personally? I'm parking myself firmly on the 'where is my beautiful beautiful sequel, I need it now.'


  1. Love this discussion review - it's really interesting to read about both your thoughts and perspectives. Despite the similarities with some other dystopias, I actually found this to be a book that stood out in other ways and it definitely surpassed my expectations. Reading about all the politics and having that big twist in the end definitely kept me captivated, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

  2. I agree with your on this one, I loved the fantasy aspect of the book and the ending was pretty great but the pace of the novel overall was quite slow you know? I couldn't enjoy it as much and I found myself skimming a lot. Although, I do want to read the next book. Great post <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  3. Absolutely loved your co review, ladies! Very entertaining for a Sunday afternoon read :D (oh goodness, I'm so behind though hahaha)

    I absolutely adored that plot twist and I'm with you Amanda, my heart cracked in two. BUT I still adore the character haha The characterisation was on point for me as well. I loved how beautifully tragic all the relationships were. It felt rather natural, if you get what I mean?


    Fabulous review, you two! I loved it!


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