It’s been a while since I’ve read The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and I’ve been meaning to write a review about it, but it just never happened. Until now, because I’ve finally stopped slacking off (kinda) and am going to tell you what I thought of it. Hey ho let’s go.
I had heard about this book and had wanted to read it for a while but I never got around to buying it. During my last London trip, I noticed it on display in a book store and I finally bought it. I started reading it right when I got home and finished it a few days later, which for me is always a good sign.
I am quite awful at giving summaries, but here goes. The story is about Mare, who is a thief living in a world where those with silver blood, people with special powers, are in charge. Mare is a red, which is the colour of her blood, and thus she is destined to live in poverty. When Reds turn 18 and have no job, they are sent to the frontlines to fight for the silvers in a war that has been going on for ages with no winner. Mare desperately tries to escape this fate and also tried to prevent her friend Kilorn from being sent to the frontlines.
A chance encounter has her working for the silvers as a servant, when the Queen’s trial take place, in which girls from different houses show their skills in the hopes of becoming the new queen. During these trials, an accident happens which should have been Mare’s death, but instead she discovers special powers of her own, powers which turn the entire world upside down.
It is quite obvious that this story drew inspiration from X-men. Instead of the mutants being the underdogs here, they rule the whole party and are desperate that their society will collapse. There is a rebellion going on, and Mare has to do the royals’ bidding, if she wishes to stay alive. There is the well-known love triangle and endless betrayals. At times, especially near the end, the story was quite predictable.
Nevertheless, some parts of the story had me on the edge of my seat and I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. The writing was good and easy to get through, which is one of the main things that attract me in a book. While I appreciate poetic lines and difficult words, I prefer an easy read to get my mind off things if I can.
Red Queen has all the ingredients to become another major YA franchise like Twilight or the Hunger Games. There is the suspense, there is romance and there is betrayal which are such important factors in successful YA fiction. However, I think it is a shame that the story is not unique enough, in the sense that it has many influences of popular fiction. I think for me, despite the fact that I really liked the story, it ws too much of a mix between X-men and the Hunger Games. I think the YA fantasy genre could do with some more original stories.
All in all, it was an entertaining book to read and it is nice if you are looking for a (developing) series that just lets you take your mind off things for a while.
I am currently reading the sequel Glass Sword and I will write about that when I finish it to let you know what I think.