Book review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Alright, so it’s time for me to work out my feelings about this book.

I had been looking forward to this book for a good year and a half when I finally found it at my library. This is one of those books that elicits pretty strong reactions from people, and I’m not gonna lie, those are the kind of books that I have to read.

But I was a little skeptical. Because… come on.

The similarities to Red Rising are just uncanny. And I adored Red Rising. It was one of my top reads of 2014. There’s the fact that this is about a girl named Mare Barrow when RR is about a boy named Darrow. Then there’s the fact that Mare and Darrow are both Reds, low social classes who live to serve Silvers/Golds. Don’t forget that Darrow disguises himself as a Gold to bring about revolution while Mare is disguised as a Silver to prevent revolution. It’s just a little too much for me.

So, my expectations weren’t high. I thought, hey, at best it’s going to be a different version of a book I loved. Worse case scenario, I lose a few hours of my life reading what’s sure to be at least okay.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but compare it with other books. The similarities to RR don’t end with the names and the colors. But, I mean, the Queenstrial? Basically just the entirety of The Selection condensed into a few pages with some special effects thrown in. The prince’s sudden attachment to a random common girl? Flashbacks to Cinder. The bit where they’re riding around some supposedly desolate land? All I could think was District 13 from The Hunger Games. And don’t get me started on how Mare being a Red with Silver characteristics is just another version of Divergent.

Then there’s the typical YA trope of literally every male within Mare’s age group falling for her. She has not just one, not even two, but THREE love interests over the course of 383 pages. The boys fall over themselves to gain her favor, which normally would be enough to put me off, but the fact that two of them are brothers just freaks me out. Just… don’t mess with brothers, ok? In no universe will that end well.

So, to say that I was disappointed by the first 80% of this book would be an understatement. I was expecting it to surpass my very low expectations, and it didn’t. But then we got to the climax. And it takes a lot to surprise me these days, but I was surprised. I mean, maybe I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t, and holy cow. How quickly can I get my hands on Glass Sword?!

Final rating: ★★★☆☆