Sunday, 4 September 2016

Red Queen

I'm currently super excited about the new Throne of Glass book that is coming out in a few weeks, so excited that I had to find a book with similar dynamic to distract me from my excitement. Which is when I found this novel, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I was warned about the similarities with The Hunger Games, Divergent and so on. I remained hopeful though, because according to A Court of Thorns and Roses, it was a lot like Beauty and the Beast but that did not spoil my enjoyment either. However, I soon realised what they truly meant. This book is almost exactly like The Hunger Games, with a few additional elements and a few changes here and there. Or at least that´s how I experienced it. 

Mare Barrow´s world is divided by blood, those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but hen her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own - an ability she didn't know she had. Except her blood is red. To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard - the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince and Mare against her own heart. From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
The synopsis of the novel is more or less a summary of the whole plot. Mare is supposed to be a pawn in a dangerous game. The king and queen want to use her against her own people. She has to lie and try to convince them to stop fighting the rebellion, while also being part of the rebellion. She is like Katniss and Peeta in one. She also has a younger sister and a family she is trying to protect, and a male friend at home who she's secretly very much in love with but will never be able to be with due to her predicament. He then goes on to join the rebellion too. It's all a big blur of things I feel like I've read before and I could not get passed that feeling ,which is probably why I did not enjoy it as much as I could have (or like other have).

But let me tell you why it works. It works because it is exactly what people like and want. If you go to Goodreads you will see that this books gets 4 out of 5 stars and has a lot of lovely reviews, because this combination (the characters, the world divided in two, etc) is what people like to read about. And with people I also mean myself. I'm not in love with this book, though I admit I really liked Maven. I took me only two days to go through the whole thing and that usually means that I like it. And due to lack of having another book with me I decided to read the sequel too. I have to admit though, more than anything, I purchased this book for it's cover (and the rating it has on Goodreads) and once again I have learned from that mistake.

Mare is a very weird character. I don't feel like I know her or like she even knows herself. She is very confused and stupid most of the time. She confuses a lot of things for love (and the other way around), she trusts the wrong people and does not seem to think an awful lot about those she does love/like. She does not think twice about sacrificing them, even if she judges and hates most of the Silvers for how they treat other people (or Reds). She almost accuses every single silver of having blood on their hands but fails to realise that she is no different. She does whatever 'needs' to be done for the greater good, but I don't even think she knows what that is.

Glass Sword (the sequel) is no better. It's a lot longer than it needs to be. Things are either way to easy or way to hard. Mare not fighting for equality, she's fighting for the opposite. Red power. I can't like her, because even though other characters are more evil, at least they don't try to pretend they are not. Don't even get me started on her feelings towards Maven or Cal or anyone because honestly, I don't even think the writer really knows what's up with that. As the image above states, she may be betraying her own heart or the other way around but all my insides scream is: SHE HAS NO HEART! All in all, I understand why people like this story, what appeals to them. I feel it too, because I used to like stories like this one. But this one just did not grasp me. I just really do not like Mare and that's ruining the whole thing for me. If you enjoyed reading the Hunger Games (even Mockingjay), this is definitely a book you would like to read. I'll just enjoy the pretty covers and leave it at that. 

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