Hey Fledglings, Kate here!
Now this novel really did leave me in two minds. I wanted to like it, I really did, but something was just off for me that left me feeling rather ambivalent towards it. Actually, a little more on the side of dislike. I’ll start by describing the basic ideas of the world in which The Red Queen is set in.
Firstly you have the population split into two types of people; The Reds and The Silvers. Then from this you learn that Reds are essentially normal humans, but Silvers have superhuman abilities, like telekinesis, hydrokinesis, super strength, control nature and more. Aveyard calls them Telkies, Nymphs, Strongarms, Greenys etc. Because of the obvious power imbalance, the Reds are treated as sub-human. They are merely slaves for the Silver ruling class. At the age of 18, if they have not secured themselves an apprenticeship they are sent off to fight in a war The Silvers are involved in.
Within this world we find Mare Barrow, living with her parents and three brothers (who are at war).
I liked the beginning, where you had Mare Barrow try and help Kilorn avoid war. It was touching, developed and brave. Then all of a sudden we are flung into some unrealistic love triangle/square whatever you want to call it. I could have been persuaded between Kilorn or Maven (maybe) but Cal was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
The Queenstrial is a sort of hybrid of The Selection by Keira Cass and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. At the Queenstrial, you have eligible Silver females competing to marry the prince, Cal. What really frustrated me is how Aveyard pit females against each other, without making them complex characters that have genuine reasons for it. It’s so stereotypical having a pretty girl who thinks she deserves to be queen, and will take anyone down just because of their own apparent entitlement. This was the one thing I liked about Maven’s character; you can understand where his problems and issues have come from!
The thing I most detested about this book was Mare’s character and why Aveyard felt it necessary to write her with three love interests! I’m not a fan of love triangles but really, a bloody SQUARE?! First there was Kilorn. God forbid she have a friend who’s a boy. I mean clearly anyone of a different gender can’t be friends without banging each other! But Kilorn on his own was understandable. But then there was Cal. And then Maven. Then Cal again. And Kilorn again (maybe). Who knows? Someone from the Scarlet Guard might take Mare’s fancy? I don’t understand why authors can’t just have a female character who understands the concept that you don’t fancy or fall in love with every decent looking guy around. Most of all, it presents the character as someone who is easily led, or unable to make her own decisions based on logical reason, instead of because she wants to fuck someone… Can you tell this annoyed me?
I think that if you’re writing for young adults, yes you give them what they want, but don’t do it at their own expense. PLEASE!
I would have found Mare and Maven’s relationship much more interesting. If Aveyard focused on that, she could have created an original and interesting idea about two flawed people trying to find out right and wrong. I don’t think you needed Cal to be that ‘good guy’ and the male equivalent of Mare. Maven could have been developed more and had a similar journey. But who knows, this could happen in the next books!
I liked the underlying themes: love, responsibility, knowledge, power, corruption, democracy, slavery, etc. But I thought these ideas were put on too much of a back burner compared to Mare’s various fancies.
I haven’t personally read Peirce Brown’s The Red Rising but from what I’ve heard from various people is that it’s a better version (and original) than Aveyards attempt. Nevertheless I haven’t read it myself so I can’t say that’s my own opinion.
Overall, the ideas for it could have been made really meaningful if they were fully developed. To me if felt a bit forced. However, I will give it the benefit of the doubt and at some point I will give the next book a go. The ending did leave the plot in a place that has the potential to do something meaningful with the series ideas.
So that’s it from me.
Cheers Fledglings, see you in a couple weeks! x
P.S or next week if Sarah and Nae Nae are too lazy again!!!
P.P.S I’m predicting Mare and Cal end up together!