Hello beautiful! I have heard quite a bit about this book, especially since I started this blog. Most people seem to either love it or hate it with a passion, so I was a bit apprehensive to start it. Since I’m reaching peak summer boredom-driven creative frenzy, though, I decided to give it a shot.
I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this book, but here we are. For me to fully give my thoughts on this, there are going to be some spoilers, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read the book but want to.
Without further ado, here’s my review!
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Okay, this is one of the areas that I both enjoyed and disliked while reading this book. Let’s start with our MC, Mare.
Mare is painfully average for a YA protagonist. She’s a “chosen one” sort with a super-special superpower that no one else has because she’s different for no apparent reason. She’s very self-centered and has all the boys (three in particular) in love with her. That being said, I still found reading from her perspective more entertaining (and less mind-numbing) than reading, say, The Grisha Trilogy. Let’s just say she’s no Alina Starkov when it comes to brain-killing stupidity and whininess. Sorry if you’re an Alina fan, but her character made me want to jump off a cliff. In comparison, Mare isn’t so bad. Her self-centered-ness is understandable given that she’s been ripped from her home and family, and the boys-fawning-over-her thing is countered by the fact that pretty much everyone else in the palace hates her. She doesn’t do much, rather, she spends all her time picking one group over the other because she believes they have the moral high ground and then agonizing over whether that was the right decision. Everyone else just kinda tells her what to do and she goes along with it.
Spoilers Okay so half of my problems with Mare were also solved by the end of the book. Her “chosen-one” trope-y self is actually not so special, because there are more people like her (+1 point for this twist). The guys obsessed with her? One’s a villain and she doesn’t like the other one (-1 point for the amount of time she spends still thinking about how attracted she is to the one she supposedly doesn’t like). The third is decidedly friend-zoned (for now). Also, when the defining moment came that she was asked which of the first two guys she chose, she said neither, and I was pleasantly surprised and happy that she actually made a practical decision. Lots of times MCs don’t have a single good love interest option and yet decide to get together with someone anyway. I like that she stuck to her decisions about not liking either and wasn’t with anyone at the end of the book. She also eventually starts to take some initiative and fights for herself and her people in the last 10% of the book once she’s realized she can’t trust anyone. She has lots of time to get better since there are three (I think) books left. End of Spoilers
Cal is kinda boring. Sure, he’s conflicted over wanting to help people and the lies he’s been raised to believe, but honestly, I just found him kinda blah. His romantic moments felt a little forced. Hopefully he improves over the next book. There’s nothing especially spoiler-y to say about his character. He doesn’t seem to have much of a backbone, despite this “fire inside” that we’re constantly told about.
Maven is my favorite character by far. He seemed to have a much better arc than the rest.
Spoilers Wow what a villain he made. I liked that he is both under his mom’s control and his own villain. He has a conscience, but he chooses to ignore it, rather than being forced to by someone else (which is how I feel like a lot of YA “bad boys” are). I saw his villainous twist coming at times, but at others I really believed he was good. I think you should always have at least a hint that twists are coming, because that means they’re believable. A lot of Maven’s motivations for supposedly helping Mare are really what motivates him to help his mother (like his daddy issues or living in his brother’s shadow). I also liked that he and his mother are on a (so far) equal standing in their villainous plan. They are partners in crime, rather than her controlling him and him being a ToRTurEd SoUL. He had almost every quality I like to see in a villain (cunning, ruthless, thoughtful). It didn’t feel like he wasn’t evil enough or just a morally grey character; he was decidedly a villain. The only thing he was missing was a little more dramatic flair. Anyway, moving on. End of Spoilers
This is where a lot of people struggled with this book, saying it was too predictable and trope-y. While it did play around with a lot of tropes, I think it did most of them fairly well. Some things were easily predictable, but I believe you should always be able to see a plot twist coming (to a degree) because that’s what makes it believable. The lower class against high class dynamic is kinda overdone, in my opinion, but this version still managed to hold my attention. The politics and questionable motives of everyone involved helped me stay invested in the story.
Spoilers The major plot twist of Maven being evil and in league with his mother was probably the least predictable of the bunch. I totally saw Shade being alive coming from a mile away, as well as the other small twists throughout the story. End of Spoilers
Overall, I enjoyed the plot, even though it was not crazy original. Some moments were predictable, but I feel like most of the tropes were overturned at the end of the book, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.
I didn’t find anything particularly unique about the style. It felt typical for YA, but somehow had that addictive quality I’m always looking for. Sometimes there are books that, no matter how cheesy or predictable, somehow capture my attention and keep me invested in the story. This was one of those.
This book was pretty clean. I can’t vouch for the rest of the series (yet), but this one had very little language and no sexual content. The only word I remember occasionally seeing was b*tch.
So. This story, while predictable, was a fun read, and exciting enough to keep me invested. The main character is not my favorite so far, but she has plenty of room to grow over the course of the series. For now, I give Red Queen 4/5 stars.
Have you read Red Queen? What did you think? Who was your favorite character? Let me know in the comments!
Have an adventurous day 🙂