Hello everyone! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I will be reviewing The Red Queen from debut author Victoria Aveyard.
Before I get started, I’m excited to announce last week I had the honour of being interviewed by the Vaughan Citizen newspaper! If anyone is interested in reading my article I will leave the link here.
Now onto the review! As a general rule, anytime I review books on this blog I will rank the book out of 10 based on three criteria, writing, plot, and characters. My opinions with book reviews are original and my own and I mean no offense to anyone! The Red Queen takes place in a world where blood divides the people: red and silver. The silver bloods are the elite, the wealthy, and have powers that make them superior. The reds are the commoners, the majority of people, and are forced to suffer in poverty as the elite silvers live in luxury. Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrows world is shattered as her life as a Red becomes unexpectedly tied up in the lives of the Silvers. Betrayal, deceit and love all work together to make this book a real page-turner. Without giving too much away this book is an entertaining read. I pretty much couldn’t put it down until I finished.
On the writing: Aveyard’s style of writing is very simplistic and easy to follow. She is not one of those writers that make you feel like you need a drink of water after you read one page. Her writing flows very well and has a good mix of dialogue and description. Her writing is very well paced and isn’t boring for a second – I pretty much couldn’t put the book down. I appreciate writers that omit needless words and aren’t too wordy, which Aveyard achieved with the RQ quite brilliantly.
On the plot: Too put it honestly, the plot of the Red Queen was pretty good. It wasn’t amazing but it was interesting enough to keep me entertained, which is pretty much all a plot needs to do in the end. I didn’t find anything overly unique about the concept of the RQ. I enjoyed the entire book however, especially the rising rebellion and the royal turmoil. The book just had the right amount of action, fights, and romance. The climax truly was a climax – it was exciting but somewhat predictable. That doesn’t stop the book from having a good ending because it did; I personally just saw it coming. The antagonists in the series are revealed near the end of the book and I’m looking forward to seeing what Aveyard does with them. Overall I award the plot my approval but I am hoping things will turn up a notch in book 2 and 3 of the trilogy. I’m pretty positive that’s a guarantee.
On the characters: In my opinion the character development in the Red Queen is it’s biggest downfall. Not there was anything wrong with the characters per say, but I do believe there was need for further development. Mare, the main character is a great strong female lead. I believe her character is somewhat rushed, especially because she went from being a lowly red to a defiant bold silver elite lady practically overnight. Clearly there was character development here; I just don’t think it was all that realistic for the story, considering Mares past. Mare is still a great character with great dialogue parts, she just changed too quickly you know?
My other issue with the RQ is the romance pieces. Now I love a great romance as much as the next person, but Mares relationships with both Maven and Cal felt rushed to me. There was barely any development in her relationships with either of these guys. Yet she claims she loves Maven and at the same time Cal claims he loves Mare. As soon as I read both of those scenes I had to stop reading and wonder: when exactly did this love thing happen? Did I miss something? I only say this because there was no real buildup to this heavy proclamation of affection in either case. She had like two one on one scenes with Maven and had one of these scenes with Cal. So when did this love flourish? It just felt forced to me, a thing the author really needed to develop further. There has to be some buildup, some sort of chemistry for the L word. It just needed a little more development if you ask me. Though I admit the characters have great potential and I’m excited to see what she does with them in future books.
Cal’s character was pretty developed but I think he needs a little more to give him that wow factor. Maven on the other hand, was less developed, but the author had her own reasons for this, which I feel, are very justified at the end of book one. So while Aveyards characters are good, her development with their relationships needed a little work in my opinion.
As a quick side note the RQ reminded me strongly of the Hunger Games. The same Gale/Peeta dynamic existed in the RQ as it does in the Hunger Games. At the end of the book they are also in an area where it’s a fight to the death – with kids killing kids. Again, much like the Hunger Games. To take things even further Mare is basically the face of a rebellion much like Katniss in the HG. Now, these are probably coincidences, but if you are a fan of the HG give this a read, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
All in all, I award the RQ a 7/10. It was quite a good book and had me in its grip the entire time. It had good characters and a good story, which was very suspenseful at times. Its lack of development in character relationships is mostly the reason I gave the book its score of 7. All in all, Aveyard should be proud of her debut novel. She did a good job with it and it’s worth the read. I am sure things will get even better in the next two installments! Can’t wait!
Thanks for reading and until next time,
About the Author
Alessia Dickson is the author of The Crystal Chronicles series. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she is hard at work on her next book.