Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

RedQueenRed Queen
By: Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: E-ARC
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

My Thoughts:
There was a substantial amount of hype surrounding this title and I think that lessoned my enjoyment. I went into this book with high expectations. I expected something epic, blood soaked and ultimately different than what I got. With that tiara dripping blood and the title, Red Queen, I imaged court politics, gruesome violence and an all out battle for power. Yes, that isn’t anything really like the summary. I should have not expected something based on the cover but it happens.

Red Queen played out like so many other dystopian books… heroine fighting for her life in an impoverished society only to realize she’s something more. I was still able to become immersed in the first section of the book because of the strong visuals and strong writing. Sadly, as the story progressed my enjoyment waned. I wasn’t at all impressed with the action sequences and felt that the god-like powers weren’t all that original.

I’ve got to mention the similarity I saw between this novel and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda

I think you can see just from the summaries that there are similarities between the two books. I felt that Red Queen veered off a good amount from this common plot but it did feel a bit like Red Rising light to me. Where Red Rising was brutal and incredibly detailed on its character development I felt that Red Queen sort of felt stunted. I didn’t connect with the characters and though a good amount happened to our lead I wasn’t ever to really gain an interest in her story.

There were hints of a love triangle for those sensitive to those…but it wasn’t too big of a deal. As for the romantic interests I never felt chemistry between either pairs. I think it all comes down to my disconnect with Mare. If I’d been able to have that I think the book would have worked so much better for me. From the early reviews I’ve seen this one is loved by many people so I seem to be in the minority.

Final Thoughts:
Sadly Red Queen was a disappointment to me because I was not able to connect or get invested in the main character’s story. I felt that this book didn’t bring anything all that new to the genre. I think it’ll be a hit for many readers because the writing was well done.

Review of Find Me by Romily Bernard

Find MeFind Me
By: Romily Bernard
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pre-Order:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

An electronic copy was given in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
“Find Me.” These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found…dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target. Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick.
Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.
But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

The Story:
Bernard knows how to write suspense. Her scenes of struggle and escape were intense and vivid yet the description did not bog down the action. I was really impressed with her ability to convey fear and tension.

That being said I did have a few problems with this book. For the first part there was some computer jargon and time spent that I could have done with out personally but was essential to building up Wick’s character and her skills as a hacker. I found many aspects incredibly creepy and creative but I was pretty confident in who the bad guy was really early on. I hoped I was wrong, but I wasn’t. I think I could have enjoyed the experience more if it wasn’t so obvious to me where Bernard was taking the story.

The Characters:
Wicket was a strong character and I appreciated her struggles though I constantly wished she would confide with the authorities. I would not have made the same decisions as she did, but of course she had a very difficult life and I found it nearly impossible to really see things from her point of view.

As I stated above, I knew who the bad and good characters were very early, so I  was frustrated when Wick didn’t see what I saw. But, often times, that adds to the suspense–think horror film where you are screaming for the heroine to run. This was the case in Find Me, even having a pretty clear idea who was to blame I was still captivated in Wick’s search.

Final Thoughts:
Overall Find Me was well written; Bernard excelling at creating a suspenseful atmosphere. My biggest disappointment in the book was the ease in which I could see the outcome (early on) and my inability to connect with the main character or her relationships.