Book review: Red Queen

Red Queen is the first book in the series about Mare Barrow by Victoria Aveyard. 

I happened to come across this book on one of my daily trips to the library.  I had just picked up The Fate of Tearling by Erika Johansen and I saw the title: Red Queen, just behind it. They looked to be in same genre so I picked it up and took it with me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining, exciting and kept me wanting to know what was going to happen to the main character Mare Barrow. It is not a new original story, as you read it you will see clear similarities to The Hunger Games and Red Rising, just to mention two. However, I enjoyed the story, the characters and the fact that the author, Victoria Aveyard, kept surprising me with plot twists.

Mare Barrow is a Red, a normal human being, who lives in a society where they (the Reds) are inferior to the Silver Elite. The Silver Elite are humans, who bleed a silver looking blood, and who have special abilities which makes them godlike figures. Some control fire, others water, wind and so on (it reminds you of mutants, but it is not the same thing). Mare provides for her family by stealing what she can from the village she lives in. Everything changes when she discovers that she, a Red, has powers that only the Silver Elite is supposed to have. She is thrown into a world where no one can be trusted, maybe not even herself.

What I really enjoyed with this book is that it captured me quickly, I got curious and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It was also a different kind of fantasy for me at this point, I had been reading fantasy where the plot was taking place in medieval societies, so this plot was a nice change. Also, the fact that the main characters are not perfect made me like the book even more. In some ways, Mare Barrow reminded me about myself, she is not very good a letting go. She will annoy you, when she keeps debating the same thing over and over again, and you know this is not good for her. But that is also what made her more human for me. All the characters have their own personal demons, but since the entire book is written from Mare’s perspective you will not know what their motives are until she knows. A fact that can be both frustrating and exciting at the same time.

All the twist made the story better as well. Aveyard kept surprising me with all the different choices she has made for the plot. I know I am horrible at guessing how stories end ( I never guess who the murderer is at the end of a crime story), but nevertheless the plot twist she comes up with are really interesting. I do not always agree with them, but they do make the story so much more intense and interesting to follow.

However, I did have one thing that bothered me a little throughout the book. First of all, I read the book in Norwegian, so that definitely has something to say in my review of the language. I am going to read the book again in English later and see if that makes a difference. Also, the level of the conversations are sometimes just too, naive. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the main characters are all young, and that is portrayed in the way they speak to each other. But looking at other books with young main characters they still have better ways of communicating.

But this is something that can easily be forgiven, the truth is that I could not put the book down, I read it really fast and could not wait to get my hands on the second book in the series; Glass Sword.


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