Thursday, April 18, 2019

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Narrated by Amanda Dolan
Synopsis (via Goodreads): This is a world divided by blood - red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. 

Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. 

Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

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First of all, the title is a little misleading. It should be RED PRINCESS instead of RED QUEEN, because of reasons. The title makes you think one thing going into the story, but it's not really an accurate description of what happens. I can see how it might work after reading the entire book, but for some reason it bothered me. It's a very small detail that didn't really impact my feelings about the book as a whole, but I thought it was worth mentioning. If you've read this, what do you think?

Moving on! I really enjoyed Red Queen overall. I thought Mare was an interesting character that's morally complex. She steals for her family to survive, yet makes questionable decisions that could endanger their lives. She lies to protect herself and others, but I think she lies to herself the most. If she had been more honest with how she was feeling, and for whom, I think some of her problems could have been avoided. Mare was swept up in the Silver's world and almost lost herself in the process.

I wish we had seen more of Mare's family, because I thought they had an interesting dynamic. We spend a little of the book in the Stilts, but not enough to really get a feel for her relationships and what her life was like there. Yes, we see the bare bones of it all, but I would have enjoyed seeing her interacting with friends and family more, and gotten a better sense of their personalities. Kilorn particularly. He's a very complex and fascinating character, but he pops up randomly and exchanges very few words with Mare.

It's your typical class division, except this one is based on blood and powers, not just wealth and connections. Reds have been taken advantage of for decades simply because they cannot do what the Silver's are capable of. They're being forced to do the world's dirty work, with no benefit, and no way out. They live in horrible conditions, and are abused into submission. I wish their plight had been more of a focal point, and Mare had been more concerned with helping them than furthering the politics of a rebellion. Yes, I can see how a rebellion was necessary for the people to free themselves, but I wish Mare had been less focused on the Red Guard's plans, and worked more with Julian and other people like him. She had an opportunity to really help people, but she started following the ideas of others instead of being her own person.

I guess I had more issues with this one than I thought! Overall, it was great. There's a lot of action and fighting, and I thought the Silver's powers were interesting. They can do fantastic things, but they can also use their abilities to be really cruel. Imagine what they could have done in the world, if they had simply wanted to help others...

Cal was an equally conflicted character, but he was loyal to a fault. He'd never experienced betrayal before Mare (that he was aware of), and her manipulation of him was hard to watch. She claims to have feelings for the prince, despite being engaged to his brother, but she flip-flops constantly. I don't think even she knew what she really felt, and I wish she had taken a second to figure it out. Maybe then she could have avoided some of her mistakes.

I do think this is a series I will continue, but I'm not desperately searching for the next book. The ending left me feeling hopeful, but also wary of what's to come. I'm also not sure why Farley lied about someone super specific and integral to the story, and I'm curious if that will be addressed later on. Did she think not saying anything would keep Mare motivated? Regardless, it wasn't right for her to keep that secret.

I'm on the fence with this one, and Glass Sword will be the deciding factor. I hope there is more character growth, and a significant change in the overall story. There's an opportunity to do a lot with the ending of Red Queen, and I'm curious where the author will go from here.

42 comments:

  1. AH still some questions. I heard a lot about this one and if I'm not mistaken it was translated into French too but I haven't tried it yet

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    1. If you have a chance to read it, let me know what you think! The first book was fun, but I felt like it could have been a little more than it was. <3

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    1. I feel like the meh kitty does a lot to sum up my feelings. ;)

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  3. It seems to have worked better for you than for me ;) It was good in a cheesy way but sigh me and Ya is troublesome

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    1. The older I get, the less YA I read. It used to be my bread and butter, but I've started enjoying more Adult Romance/Fantasy. I wish New Adult was a larger genre, because I think that's where I'm at right now.:)

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  4. I haven't read this one but it sounds interesting.

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    1. It was fun to read! Mare is a very determined character, even if she doesn't always think things through. She acts very impulsively, and she's quick to follow someone else's lead.

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  5. I actually liked the third book the best, King's Cage. You're right about Mare needing to take a second and think of which guy she actually liked! Not pretend like, but actually cared about.

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    1. I'll keep that in mind! I also didn't like how willing Mare was to use other people to reach her goals. Poor Lucas! He had no knowledge of what happened to him, yet he paid a heavy price. Then there's Maven and Cal... she was so infuriatingly torn between the two. :(

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  6. I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about this one. It felt kind of like generic YA fantasy? I stopped reading after Glass Sword.

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    1. Bummer! I liked that Cal and Mare switched roles at the end. I was curious what parts they'd play in the next book. Also, the addition of her brother, and Julian's list. I was hoping they'd find the others before Maven, but he's determined and they're on the run. Hmm... I still plan on giving the second book a shot eventually, so we'll see. I'm sorry it didn't work for you. I did have some issues with it myself.

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  7. I have a signed copy of this one sitting on my bookshelf and I still haven't read it. It sounds like it could be worth a try even if it has some issues.

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    1. Most books are worth trying at least once! I'm happy I read this one, but I don't think it will be one that I read again. I'm curious enough to continue the series, but the second book needs to wow me. :) I hope you like it if yo decide to give it a shot!

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  8. Hmm...I don't think I'd like Mare based on your descriptions. Hope you enjoy the second book! :)

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    1. She was okay until she stopped thinking for herself. It quickly became what Maven or the Red Guard wanted. She even willingly went along with the Silvers (even though it was to protect her family), and didn't resist too much. I feel like there were small ways in which she could have rebelled, but she stopped trusting the people she should. Julian had no reason to lie to her, yet she failed to hear his warnings.

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  9. I liked this one as well but for some reason, I never continued the series. I don't know if I had more issues the more I thought about it or what it was. Either way it was a good book though and maybe some day I will pick it back up.

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    1. It took me writing this review to realize how many issues I actually had with the story. I guess I overlooked them while I was reading, more curious about the story than the problems. However, reviewing caused me to reflect on the details. I'm sure I'll read the second book this year, but I'm not in a hurry. :)

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  10. I enjoyed this book, but if I remember correctly, the second book wasn't quite as captivating to me, and I never did finish the series. I didn't purposely quit it, but I just never got back to it. I'll have to find the audiobooks at the library one of these days.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. That's happened to me before! I'll start a series, get sidetracked, and then forget to continue it later on! It also happens when I have to wait a year or so between books, because there's always something else to read. It has to be a series I'm REALLY invested in for me to remember (like the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews).

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  11. I love Amanda Dolan as a narrator. I had a few issues with this as well but had a good time reading it.

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    1. It was a fun read despite my issues, which is why I want to continue the series. Hopefully Mare starts thinking for herself and making better choices! What else have you read that Amanda Dolan has narrated?

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  12. YESSSSSS THE RED QUEEN SERIES. I agree with you on the title of the book. As you read on in the series it becomes less fitting in my opinion. You get a little bit more about Mare's family later on in the books, but not a whole lot. I also love Cal <3 As for the rest of the series, it has a lot of ups and downs. I wouldn't say the entire series is a perfect 10, but it isn't a bad series either. Some books will make you want to pick up the next one and others will make you want to DNF it.

    Elle Inked @ Keep on Reading

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    1. I enjoyed the first book enough to continue the series, and I'll probably stick with the audio. Cal is complicated, haha. He's devoted to his family, and he has a misguided sense of duty, but you can tell it bothers him when people get hurt (even Reds). He doesn't like the darker side of being in charge, and I think he'll have a chance to grow as a person now that his situation is a little different. I can't wait to see how he reacts to Mare's world!

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  13. Great review, Lindsi. I stopped reading after the first two books because they were kind of a mixed bag for me. I thought the story itself was entertaining, but Mare was my least favorite character, which made it hard for me to fully enjoy what I was reading. Every once in a while I think about picking up the third book but so far I haven't. Curious to see what you think of Glass Sword.

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    1. I totally understand! I have a hard time reading books when I dislike the main character. Especially when I'm in their head! Like you, I thought the story was entertaining. People had powers which isn't new, but the Red/Silver twist was interesting. I think I'll stick with the audiobooks and just listen to them whenever I have time.

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  14. I felt pretty much the same as you. i read book one like a year ago and will read the sequel someday; although not rushing for it! I adore Cal <3 But this book definitely had it's issues!

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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    1. I don't know how I feel about Cal. He was sweet and flirty one minute, but then distant and calculating the next. I know he felt torn between what he wanted and what was expected of him, but dude should have been able to choose his own wife. Also, it bothers me that he didn't question his mother's death more, because the queen obviously had motive and the ability. Poor Julian! Even Mare disregarded his advice. She would have saved herself a lot of trouble by trusting him.

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  15. First, yes, this book should have been titled Red Princess instead of Red Queen. I read this novel not to long after it came out, but I never felt like picking up the rest of the series because of Mare. You mentioned in your reviews many of the reasons that made me dislike her. I did enjoy that she was morally complex, but every decision she made was not her own. If only once she had listened to herself, she would have realized who the people she should have trusted since the beginning were.

    Happy readings! ;)
    TΓ’nia @MyLovelySecret

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    1. Red Queen never really fits. Yes, someone questions what the world would be like with a Red Queen, but that was never Mare's role in the first book, nor was it a real possibility. She would verbalize why she should trust someone, or not trust someone, and then disregard her feelings based on what someone else said. I understand that she felt torn, but she made very big decisions (that had sever consequences) without really thinking things through on her own.

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  16. I agree there are interesting aspects to this book, but I wasn't in a hurry to read book 2 afterwards. I hope you enjoy it if/when you get around to it.

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    1. Have you read the second book? If you have, what did you think? I'm sure I'll stick with the audiobooks, so I'll get to it eventually. :)

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  17. See, this book sounds SO interesting and I was going to pick it up from my library. But then I had too many friends who were very upset about the ending. So then I took it off of my tbr. Now I'm reconsidering lol. I'll definetely be looking forward to your review of book #2, whenever you get to it. :)

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    1. I'm actually really okay with how it ended, although I wish Mare had been a more observant character. She was easily mislead and too willing to trust people (especially since she was surrounded by people that wanted her dead). I think the ending will offer a unique perspective in the second book, although I can see why it would be upsetting to some people. The author leads you to believe one thing throughout the book, and then changes something at the very last minute. I'm still not sure how it was relevant.

      I did enjoy this one for the most part, but it's not one I'll be buying for my shelves.

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    2. Oh I meant the ending of book #3. That's what they were upset about, not the first book. Mommy brain over here, sorry I didn't clarify that better πŸ™ˆ.

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    3. Haha! No worries! That happens to me more often than I'd like to admit. Children are exhausting. We use all of our brain power on them, so other things tend to slip through the cracks. ;)

      Hmm -- now you have me worried about the third book. :(

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    4. YES exactly lol!

      So Cassie on our blog LOVED the final book, she is obsessed with this series lol. Chelsea felt meh and my friends back home wanted so much more in that final book than what was delivered. So keeping my fingers crossed you'll have a Cassie take on it. 🀞🏼

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    5. Haha, well I have to get through the second one first. ;)

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  18. I've been meaning to read this one for ages - so many the books, so little the time! XD

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    1. It was good, but I'm not desperate to read the second one. I'm sure I'll get to it eventually! :)

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  19. Bummer you did not get more of her family especially since they had an interesting dynamic or a good sense of their personalities. Hate when that happens.

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    1. Someone said we learn more about her family in the following books, so we'll see! :)

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless