Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I can’t lie – the first reason I picked up this book was the cover. Ermahgerd. It’s gorgeous and reminds me of the opening sequence for Netflix’s Daredevil.

I read the book because it’s a superpowers story, and I’m a sucker for them*. You can read the longer blurb on Goodreads, but for now all you need to know is there’s a teen, chick protagonist who discovers superpowers she isn’t supposed to have. Evil government. Militant rebels. The concept isn’t terribly new, but the book was definitely a fun read.

So, a couple of minor cons first: In the beginning few chapters, I had no idea when we were. Medieval times? Modern world? It feels medieval, but all of a sudden we have electricity and vehicles and women in tight trousers? Huh?  It was not my favorite way to enter a world. The latter half of the book gives you hints, but by then it was too late for me.

It took me a while to warm to Mare. She’s capable, snarky, strong  all those things we want our heroines to be – but also really violent and hateful at times. Mare makes a ton of big decisions without really thinking them through. And yet, she lives in and is a product of an incredibly violent world, so it’s difficult to see her reacting in any other way.  

One of the things Aveyard does best – like, wow-level best – is keep the reader in suspense. Mare has no idea who to trust. Are the princes good? Are the rebels good? IS ANYONE GOOD?? I went back and forth so many times that I probably assigned each and every character the mantle of “Most Evil Person” at least once. 

The characters in this book are terrifying. If I had to pick my favorite elements of this book, it’s the way Aveyard played with suspense and character development. Maven and Cal were brilliantly played. The Queen was amazing. The Barrow family dynamics were believable.

This book was a pretty solid 4/5 stars for me. If you love superpowers, rebels, courtly intrigue, and vaguely-medieval-but-not settings, this is right up your alley. 

Michelle is addicted to audiobooks and writing reviews for everything she reads. You can find her on Goodreads and on Twitter, @redactionaire. 

*That and the whole “reading the competition” thing, you know.

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