Book Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publication date: 10/02/2015
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Hey guys!! The other day I finished reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This is the first book of a planned trilogy, which will also contain an additional novella titled Queen Song. The title of the second book in the series was also revealed the other day to be Glass Sword.
A Whole New World (With A Few Familiar Elements)
I am very excited about this series as I really enjoyed the first book. Although I can’t deny several elements of it were quite familiar (the love triangle of Twilight, the revolution of The Hunger Games, the medieval-ness of Game of Thrones etc etc.)
The world is so fabulously Games of Thrones-esque and as someone fresh out of season four and eagerly awaiting the DVD release of season five, I didn’t exactly see that as a bad thing. But (and I may capitalise to get my point across) I still found the story to be ORIGINAL on the whole.
I don’t think the similarities detract from the original elements of the story. Aveyard still introduces us to a whole new world based on a new concept that civilisation is divided by blood. The humans have red blood and are controlled by the silvers (with silver blood) who have Godlike powers. I think this set up an interesting world, full of conflict, that I became eager to explore.
The descriptions of the poverty-stricken stilts are so visually effective and I found that I could easily build up the story world in my head. Mare goes to a few different locations throughout the story and I haven’t quite got to grips with all the names yet. But, towards the end of the book, they travel to the Whitefire Palace in West Archeon which is just spectacular! It is described as the most beautiful building, housing anything and everything you could ever want and need, and it is surrounded by royal security. And this is what Mare and her allies and friends are up against. Gulp. The richer parts of Norta are so encapsulating, enough the rival The Capitol (and both of these provide a residence for the evil characters, basking in their riches and ignorance).
I managed to picture the characters so well in my mind when reading this book, perhaps because it did remind me so much as Game of Thrones, even when it came to the characters.
“…Queen Elara who had the same coldness as Cersei Lannister”
I came across a review of Red Queen from The Guardian which read “It was an amazing book and definitely included aspects from both The Hunger Games with its corrupt ruling ‘government’ and rebellious groups as well as Game of Thrones due to having similar characters such as Queen Elara who had the same coldness as Cersei Lannister.” I totally agree with this. And sometimes I saw Kilorn as The Hunger Games’ Gale.
DON’T get me wrong, they are still unique enough to belong in this new world. They are very engaging characters and I found myself rooting for them. Mare is so strong and determined, she doesn’t always make the right choices, but she is always strong enough to handle the consequences.
The character relationships between Mare and various others are very well developed. Mare is certainly the centrepiece of this story and as a result we know exactly how she feels about each and every other character throughout every single chapter. We are constantly reminded how harshly the reds are treated by the silvers. We are put into Mare’s shoes, between her family and her new alliances with particular silvers, who she finds actually want to help her.
There are so many fantastic characters in this book I could just talk about them forever. I recommend this book just to experience the characters alone. All the main characters are developed so completely from beginning to end: Mare, Maven, Cal, Kilorn etc. And the secondary characters are not just thrown in here and there, I get the sense that Aveyard knew exactly why each of them needed to be where they were and at what time.
They each add something extra to the storyline. There are no pointless characters. Some of my other favourites include: Julian (loved the development of his backstory), Farley (such a wild and determined warrior, willing to die for the cause), Evangeline (I do like the evil characters to, Evangeline is so spiteful and proud and, in the end, no match for Mare) and Queen Elara (because she is like the ice queen and she could read minds!)
I think my favourite character is probably Cal because he is one of those villain-not-villain type characters. He is a silver and he is loyal to the crown for most of the story, but deep down he is not the same person his father believes him to be. He falls for Mare and in the end he feels that the most important thing is to protect her. He is split between two loyalties, arguably in a worse position than even Mare herself. And what happens at the end, what Cal is forced to do, is such a shock (seriously, read it if you still haven’t).
I absolutely love the way Aveyard describes the character super powers, from Mare’s lightening to Cal and Maven’s fire. The division of the high houses, their colours and the names given to people with a certain power are innovative and interesting. I wanted to learn them all and fully understand the world. I guess we are kind of in the same position as Mare at the beginning. All we know is the world of the stilts, until Mare crosses the boundary and must learn to be Lady Mareena Titanos. We go on that journey with her.
*WARNING – spoilers ahead*
I had to mention this spoiler so stop reading now if you haven’t read the book. Of course, it is Maven. We are so tuned into Mare’s trust in Maven that we just don’t see it coming at all. And even after it happens we continue to be struck with shock and he becomes even more evil than we ever could have imagined. I just wanted him to stop but no one could make him. I won’t say any more about this as I’m sure those of you who have read it understand the vast impact it has.
WOW! The ending is just stunning. The battle at the Bowl of Bones with Cal and Mare against their various opponents is so dynamic and action-packed. I almost had to stop and take a breath. There are so many powers going against each other and I was honestly thinking ‘how on earth are they going to survive this?’ I felt assured that Mare would survive as there are more books to come in the series, but for a little while I was afraid for Cal.
“I see it as a movie and I’m just writing down what’s happening in front of me” – Victoria Aveyard
All I can say is this is going to make for a pretty awesome film! Aveyard told The Guardian “I see it as a movie and I’m just writing down what’s happening in front of me.” I think this is so cool because I love seeing a film adaptation of a book that I have read. I find it fascinating to see the world on a screen, a world I have already seen in my head in my own way. And I’ve seen that it might be directed by none other than the wonderful Elizabeth Banks herself, who recently directed the second installment of Pitch Perfect.
From Hogwarts, to Forkes, to The Capitol, to Future Chicago, to Westeros, to Norta…what will happen as Mare’s story continues? Seriously, cannot wait for the film! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Lots of love,