Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Summary from Goodreads:
“The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule 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.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center 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.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?”
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was not exactly what I expected as far as the YA genre is concerned. Instead of just being an amusing read, it turned into something much, much more that I’m still not sure I’m ready for. I didn’t have too many prior ideas or expectations, but I knew that I needed to get my hands on this novel. It just seemed so original and different than the other books I’ve been reading in the YA fantasy genre and my instincts proved to be true. Though many authors are branching out and coming up with individual ideas, plot lines that have never been heard of and that no one but the brilliant minds of these authors could even dream of, Red Queen has seemed to stand out among them and I will explain why…
Miss Aveyard uses the fool-proof strong heroine vibe that is prominent in this genre to her advantage. Why would she use the vibe? BECAUSE IT WORKS, PEOPLE! Though I’m sure that, like me, Aveyard and many other YA authors are female and dream about strong heroines constantly, she is smart enough to know the audience she is writing to. Though I did not see as much character development in her main character as I am used to and would have liked, I know from the ending of this novel that her sequel will probably include strong character development and plot building. I look forward to learning more about her main characters, especially her heroine, Mare, and the direction in which she will grow. With that said, if you’re anything like me and constantly crave that strong female character who saves everyone’s butts through the novel, isn’t as love crazed, and has a pretty decent moral compass, you may enjoy Aveyard’s style as much as I did.
Not only does she bring the powerful heroine, but she also brings a well thought out blend of drama, love, and action, all placed into a completely original idea that gives a whole new perspective to the phrase “Blood is thicker than water.” Many authors write about separations between classes and people, with the poverty stricken classes suffering immensely, but never had I heard the idea that it was because of your actual blood. It’s original and, in my opinion, makes for a pretty decent story and a very stubborn woman.The way that she describes the class system and their separation leaves room for her to explore her “moral grey area” which I will explain in a bit…
Aveyard kept me on the edge of my seat, not because of my love for her novel, but because I just HAD TO KNOW what was coming next and whether the main characters would realize what I already knew. Granted, there are many other readers who did not see the plot twist coming. However, even when I saw it coming, I could not stop reading because her characters had somehow sneakily stolen my heart and I had to make sure that they turned out okay in the end! I won’t spoil the story for you, but I will tell you that I was ready to THROW THIS BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM IN FRUSTRATION and that is one of the reasons that I’m giving this novel the review I am. Though I saw the plot twist coming, I had no idea how they were getting out of it. When I came to the solution faster than the characters, I was sitting there SCREAMING at the book and seething with fury at an antagonist who wasn’t even “real” so to speak. I haven’t been so angry with a book in a long time, but the fact that Miss Aveyard’s writing got such a rise out of me, I had to appreciate it and love her novel for exactly what it was: the truth about reality.
We are all raised to know black from white. Right from wrong. We grow up learning about princes and princesses and fairy tales where you know who the evil witch is. You watch TV and find shows and movies such as Power Rangers, Indiana Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mulan where both you and the characters know who the evil person is behind all of the problems and monstrosities. But Aveyard refuses to even acknowledge that there is a black and white within this novel and I will be the first to admit that IT IS SO FRUSTRATING… but it’s the truth. We all seek this instant gratification of knowing who is good, who is bad, and who will be our hero in everything we read and watch. We want that childhood back so that we can feel safe and secure knowing that good always triumphs over all evil. None of us want to acknowledge the fact that in real life, there really isn’t anything that’s purely black and white, right and wrong. There is the “grey moral area” that we all do not even acknowledge. This grey is why we fight. It’s why we always believe that we are right and others are wrong. It’s why many people believe that they are better than others. It’s also the reason that most of us get hurt. We don’t want to see it. We don’t want to acknowledge that there may be some good or some reasoning behind people who have hurt us badly… but there is. There almost always is. I am by no means backing any type of violent crime, but this needs to be said to understand why I appreciate this novel so much. Aveyard takes her words and shoves your face in the fact that people are not always good or bad. People are people. We are humans. We make mistakes. We are forced to do things we don’t like. We hurt others. And, most importantly, we all have our own moral compasses that point in opposite directions. IT IS HARD to acknowledge this evidence, but once you do, you appreciate Victoria all the more for her ability to bring a harsh reality to the surface while still allowing you to love her characters for everything that they are, faults and all.
5 Stars for Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Don’t be fooled by my words fellow readers, Victoria Aveyard is a new name on the block to watch and she is now on the top of my list for authors that I am slowly, but surely, falling in love with. Between her ever twisting plots, strong characters, and torturous truths, she will leave you angry, stunned, and seeing the world in a completely new light.
Miss Aveyard, I look forward to your next installment of Red Queen, and I sincerely hope that you continue writing what is in your heart. I am sure that you will not disappoint. Best of luck to you and know that I will be keeping my eyes open for more of your work…