Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperCollins on June 7th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Victoria Aveyard’s internationally beloved #1 New York Times bestseller is now in paperback!
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. There, 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.
This sweeping story of palace intrigue, class hierarchy, and deception will keep readers hurtling along, desperate to find out Mare’s fate. Her honesty and determination, quick wit, and no-holds-barred attitude will surely make readers fall in love with her.
And I am revealed for exactly what I am – a particularly stupid fish, moving from hook to hook, never learning my lesson.
^This is a pretty good summary of the whole book.
I know some people will not like that I tried Glass Sword after being really disappointed with Red Queen, but I’ve had a lot of luck with sequels lately. My dislike for first books like Cinder and The Winner’s Curse turned into love for the later books in the series. So I thought I’d give Aveyard a second chance.
No disrespect intended, but I really do struggle to understand the popularity of this series. Nothing about it is particularly good or compelling. YA fantasy is made up of lots of fluff, but even the lightest of romantic fantasies generally offer some excitement, some pull, even if the world-building is scarce and it is heavily diluted by romance.
This sequel offers nothing like that. The prose is bland and the plot contains a lot of meandering between places and constant repetition. Mare’s narrative is tiresome and dull, going over the same thoughts about Cal, Maven and her own specialness. Only the last few chapters contain any real action or story development – the rest of the book shows the characters going from place to place in search of those with special abilities who can help their mission.
The author is too lazy to craft thought-provoking scenes and characters, only ever writing something or someone when it furthers Mare’s mission. Everything feels orchestrated around the super special Mare, none of the characters have their own identity or purpose, which makes it not only boring, but also turns every character into a chess piece, a stereotype, and a trope. Glass Sword introduces many new characters and not a single one of them is memorable.
And Mare alone cannot carry this story. If, perhaps, her character had been so strong and interesting that it didn’t really matter about the one-dimensional other characters, then maybe this book wouldn’t have been terrible. But Mare is neither a likable character, nor an anti-heroine that demands your sympathy anyway. She’s an immature, often stupid, mess.
Mare blends in with a sea of forgettable fantasy heroines. Even her flaws are not portrayed as such; her first-person narrative so self-obsessed. She’s arrogant; always concerned with her own power and mission. She’s selfish; often forgetting her family even exist and rarely expressing emotion befitting the situation. If you enjoy reading about super special heroines, stick with Throne of Glass. If you’d rather read about a fascinating and morally questionable anti-heroine, then check out The Young Elites.
For everything you could possibly be looking for, I can suggest a better book/series than this one. Unless you are actively seeking poor writing and boredom.
The late dose of action couldn’t save the book, nor could the ending that is more cliffhanger than resolution. It is a boring, derivative fantasy that only stands out from the crowded genre when it sits dazzling prettily on a bookshelf.
I'm Emily May - a twenty-something year old book blogger from the North of England. Currently going wherever the wind or the storyline takes me. Find me on Goodreads
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