Ok, I’ve had this book on my pre-order list pretty much since it was available. And I have to tell you, I thought this was a high fantasy. But it’s not, I’m pretty sure it’s a dystopian. Think, less Game of Thrones, or Graceling as the description says, and more Legend, or The Selection, as above.
This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, overall I LIKED Red Queen.
I thought the world-building was pretty good, Aveyard does a great job of explaining the High Houses, their abilities, and historical facts without it feeling like an info dump. I think the premise is pretty solid, even if that’s because it’s not a super original one—there is a group of people (Silvers) who have powers and abilities that have allowed them to enslave and abuse a ‘lesser’ group (Reds), and there is a girl who can bridge the two. I really enjoyed the variety of abilities, and also that they were all pretty equal in terms of danger and flaws.
I loved Mare as a character, she is funny, honest, and fits in well with the world she’s been written into. I think my favorite thing about her as character was that there were consequences to her actions—and realistic reactions to those consequences. She also read as pretty self-centered, which I think it a fair personality trait for a sixteen year old. I felt the same way about many of the side characters—the King and Queen, Farley, Kilorn, etc. were all well-written and solid characters.
I think my favorite characters in this book were Julian, Cal, and Maven. I felt they were the most dynamic. I don’t feel like their entire character revolved around Mare and what she needed to further her story. They often refused her or argued with her, and that was important for me to feel connected to the realism.
Overall, I gave this book 3 ½ STARS, it was a really entertaining read, and I cannot wait for the future books in this series, however, I felt it lacked originality on even the most basic levels. However, the borrowed pieces were all well-put together and enjoyable.