Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

YA Book Club – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

16 Comments

Book Club ButtonRed Queen cover

(cover and description from Goodreads)

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.

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?

NOTE

When I add an asterisk next to something, it means scroll to the end of post for additional, somewhat-spoilery comments.

COVER

It sums up the story perfectly with the colors and starkness.

STORY

The concept isn’t new – rich/powerful (Silvers) vs the working class (Reds) – but the book has an interesting spin on things by giving the Silvers “abilities.” And what fascinating (and deadly) abilities they were, although I didn’t entirely understand how the blood divide began. There wasn’t really a place where all that could be explained, but I’m hoping the next book dives more into the history of things*.

CHARACTERS

The main character (Mare) is likeable most of the time – loved her close-knit relationship with her family (esp her dad and sister) and the fact she had bite to her personality (at least initially). But I did question how quick she was to trust people – she grew up under the boot of the Silvers and stole to help keep her family afloat, so it seems like she should be naturally suspicious of EVERYONE, no matter what.

As for other people, I was strangely pulled toward Evangeline and The Panther and I hope they pop up again**.

PLOT

I made predictions over what would happen (who to trust/who would live***) and I was right, but there were enough twists and turns that I doubted myself a few times. And I didn’t predict the actual fallout**** which was cruelly clever.

The ending set up the next book and I’m looking forward to reading about the search, but I’m wary about a potential love triangle/square between Mare, Kilorn and whoever else. Kilorn, in general, felt sorta forced***** into the story and I wish he’d been written as Mare’s brother instead because there’s too much else going on without shoving a rich man/poor man storyline into things.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Other than the Kilorn bits, the only real issue I had was all the sneering/smirking/muttering/murmuring. Those words were used so much it was actually a little distracting.

I wasn’t blown away by the book, but I liked it and I’ll probably pick up the next one in the hope it gets more into backstory and that there’s plenty of action/fight scenes because those were my favorite parts. 

Scroll down for spoilers…

WARNING

There be spoilers below!

SPOILERS!!!

!!!

*I want Julian to explain all this because he (and Sara) better still be alive!

**Yes, I know, Evangeline was borderline psycho, but I’m hoping she eventually becomes an ally, because she’s the kind of fierce crazy you’d want on your side. The same with The Panther – there’s definitely more than meets the eye with her.

***Shade. I knew it!

****King/sword

*****I wasn’t entirely sold on any of the “love” stuff – it all felt a bit forced and Mare came across as wishy-washy. More than a few times I wanted to yell at her, “Come on girl, you don’t have time for this BS, get back to The Scarlet Guard business!”

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Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

16 thoughts on “YA Book Club – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

  1. This one was so tough for me. I wanted to love it, but I just… did not. While Mare was mostly cool, the story felt like too much. You’re right — Kilorn would have been much more impactful as a brotherly figure. I didn’t think about that while I was reading, but you’re spot on. Glad I’m not alone in some of my feelings. Great write-up, Jennifer!

  2. Smart thinking with the asterisk/spoiler thing! Loved the cover of this book (!), but I wish the book’s guts better reflected the awesomeness of its exterior. You’ve listed a good many of my own issues with this book. Mare pretty much abandoned everything about herself when she went to the palace. It’s only logical that she would trust no one, but nope. And you are so right about the repetitive use of certain words. “Chuckle” is another one you can add to that list. It was basically a chucklefest…along with being a sneerfest and a smirkfest. 😉 Whenever Gale…I mean Kilorn was on the page, it was just a reminder how similar this was to THE HUNGER GAMES and other books that came before it. I’m a bit curious about what happens next, but not enough to read Book 2. Will probably just seek out spoilers online.

    Thanks for the great review, Jennifer! 😀

  3. I’m really glad you participated. I was…not a fan. So it’s interesting to read what you liked about it. I mostly felt like Kilorn could have been deleted and not taken anything from the story, though I assume, like you, he’s being set up as a love interest. I love your idea of making him her brother, though. I would have really liked that!

    • I wondered if he could have been eliminated entirely, too, but I guess something had to spark the whole first meeting with the Scarlet Guard people. Although I would have been just as satisfied if she’d been trying to save herself – I wouldn’t have blamed her.

  4. You bring up a lot of good points here. I wanted to know more about how the blood divide began as well. I think that would’ve strengthened the story quite a bit. You’re so right about Mare being too quick to trust people considering how and where she was raised, especially since many of the people she put her trust in were technically her enemies. I also agreed with your thoughts on Kilorn being kind of forced into the story. The overused words/gestures really drove me bonkers too. Sounds like you probably enjoyed the book a little more than I did, but I see your points on the good stuff too. 🙂

  5. You made some really good points. I think there’s a lot of information that was missing which made it really difficult for me on the whole suspension of disbelief thing. And your thoughts on Kilorn were spot on. I probably won’t be picking up the next one, personally.

  6. Haven’t read this one, but it’s interesting that you and most of the other book club readers didn’t love it. I’ll keep that in mind!

    And it’s so funny how writing teaches you to pick out all these smirks and mutters, etc, and then it all becomes crazy distracting and kind of frustrating when an author overuses them. Makes it hard to read like a normal person, sometimes!

  7. I was so entranced by this cover. It’s so gorgeous! But now I’m kinda side-eyeing it because of the reviews. 😦

  8. Just now reading this. In general I am enjoying it. I haven’t finished it but have predictions. I’ll be curious to find out of I’m right. I have to agree, all the smirking was distracting.

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