Popsugar Reading Challenge 2020 – Book 28

Prompt – A book with an upside down image on the cover

This was an easy choice for me. I’ve had a copy of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard since it was published and never read it. The cover features an upside crown dripping with blood which such an eye-catching image. I don’t normally read fantasy sagas but I’ve heard a lot of people say good things about this book and one of the best things about the Popsugar Challenge is it makes you read books that are a bit out of your comfort zone.

What it’s about?

This is a world divided by blood—red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers.

And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace.

Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince.

Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance—Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

What I think:

This is an interesting idea for a story that reminded me a bit of the Hunger Games series. Poor, outlying regions whose sile purpose is to provide resources for the rich elite and a forestry female protagonist who can unbalance the status quo.

Mare is strong, willful and takes risks to survive. She is determined to support her family despite the fact that she will soon be conscripted into the army. But she is also quite selfish and makes some terrible decisions that put both her and people she cares about in danger.

While the Silvers have been waging a longterm war against other regions to make sure they stay in power, there’s a rebellious uprising of reds against Silvers. There’s a lot of war with no real explanation – as everything is told through Mare’s eyes we learn it through her protocol schools lessons which just give basic over views of what must surely be more complex.

There’s a lot of Silvers with special powers that they don’t seem to use when they need to – surely if their whole race is so powerful there would be less need for war?

My problem with this book was that Mare was just so unlikeable and whingy I didn’t really care what happened to her. She is made into a princess and moans about that. She is taken out of squalor and moans about that. Every female in the book dislikes her instantly and every young man falls for her – insert eye rolls here!

And there’s a love triangle between her, the heir to the throne Cal and his half-brother Maven. Both of which, for various reasons are quite unpleasant. And I never really bought into Mare having feelings for either of them.

The twist at the end of the book was pretty decent – but not interesting enough to make me want to read the rest of the series.

I’m afraid this one wasn’t for me – a bit waffly, lack of development and annoying characters. If anyone who loves the series can convince me to stick with it, feel free to try.

You can give Red Queen a go and order from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

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