A solid but unremarkable series opener. Hopefully Red Queen has laid sturdy foundations for future installments to be even better. 3/5 stars.
I understand why so many readers rave about this book. The main character, Mare, is a well-developed, principled, brave young woman. The story moves along at a good pace. The magical elements of Aveyard’s world are integrated skillfully with more familiar technological and mundane features from our world. Overall this is an enjoyable read and I will read the next book – Glass Sword – when it comes out next year.
While the book is well-written, I felt it suffered from several issues which often befall series openers. One of these is an awful lot of jargon as we are introduced to the world. At times it was too much and unnecessary. Leave some for the later books. Another is the almost inevitable “back-weighting” of plot. The first three quarter of the book are basically set-up so when we hit the final quarter EVERYTHING can happen with a generous sprinkling of mayhem. I understand many big things have to occur near the end of the book to form a springboard for the next installment, but this left the narrative as a whole feeling a little unbalanced.
However, my biggest issue was with the “twist”.
— Skip ahead now if you want to avoid spoilers –. I saw the twist coming at 100 paces. The very first time we were introduced to the crucial twist character, I thought, “Oh, look, the wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Then I spent the rest of the book infuriated with Mare’s naivety. (Side thought: has the girl not seen Thor?! Cal = Thor, Maven = Loki [but not as cool as Loki]). So many times there are giant flashing warning signs in her face screaming DO NOT TRUST THIS GUY, but instead she just gets closer and closer to him. This affected how much I liked her and, as she was the first-person narrator, it did put a dampener on my enjoyment of the book.
Hopefully, now our heroine is older and wiser, the next book in the series will improve on the first. I also hope it gives Cal more to do and a real personality rather than just leaving us with a cardboard cut-out of a handsome, dutiful soldier and “impossible” love-interest (yawn).
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.
But then Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre 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?