Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 320
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Stars: 5
Goodreads Link

I will always love a strong female protagonist who refuses to be defined by her love affairs. One of my favorite responses to the Team Peeta/Team Gale question is by Willow Shields, who declared herself "Team Katniss." In Red Queen, Team Mare always wins. Yes, there's Kilorn. Yes, there's Cal. Yes, there's Maven. But in the end, there's Mare. Mare proves time and time again that she isn't a silly, lovesick little girl. She isn't just everyone's little lightning girl.

Basic premise: Mare lives in a world divided by blood. You're either a Red or a Silver. The Reds keep the empire running--they're the servants, the laborers, the workers, the soldiers. However, the Silvers have the real power. The Silvers are the new gods--they have powers reminiscent of X-Men. Each Silver has an ability, varying for super strength to controlling metal to controlling minds. The empire fights a longstanding war that leaves thousands threatened by conscription. Mare is no different in that case. When she turns eighteen, she will have to leave her family. But a run in with a strange boy named Cal plops her into the royal family's summer home. She is no longer a thief, but rather a servant. But she soon finds out that she's more than just a Red. Rife with politics, fantasy, betrayal, and sprinkles of romance, Red Queen will blow you away.

I loved everything about this book. From the characters to the setting to the world Aveyard created to the fierce politics. I loved Mare. No matter her flaws, I was rooting for her. And I still am. The characters reached a new level of complexity. Maven and Cal were far more than they appeared. The second I thought I knew them, surprise, they shocked me. They kept me guessing, just like real people do. Ms. Aveyard did a fantastic job creating her characters--creating everything. The setting was exquisite. The world she put together was simultaneously awe-inspiring and fear-inducing. Everything fit together so perfectly and was so well structured. It was all so captivating. It will take me a while to realize that, no, I do not live in a world where people have cool powers. She just sucked you in.

I'd also just like to give a huge round of applause for Ms. Aveyard's plot twist. I never would have guessed that would happen. So wow. I'm not sure that I've ever been so caught of guard. Well done!

Anyone who compared Red Queen to The Selection needs a rude awakening. Red Queen is so much more. In The Selection, the love triangle is the main attraction. In Red Queen the love square (?) is just an afterthought. It's just a small detail in the grand scheme of things. It's just an added layer to the neverending web of lies, betrayal, and politics in the novel. Red Queen blew The Selection out of the water.

Ms. Aveyard's debut left me speechless. Congratulations on the release and I can't wait to see what's in store for the world you created.

For anyone who likes Game of Thrones, X-Men, The Hunger Games, Merlin, or all of the above, this is definitely the book for you.