I need to qualify this blog post before chucking it out there.
First, SPOILERS. This review has wicked spoilers. I can’t not say the things.
Second, as an author and a decent human being, I never want to trash another writer’s work. I never want to say that their hard work and determination to get published, to get their words out to the public was in vain because their work sucks. Every piece of writing has merit. All of them. I just don’t love them all the same.
And now The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
The Red Queen qualified for the “A Book about Someone with a Super Power” category of the Pop Sugar challenge. The society in the book is divided into those who have magic and those who do not. The silver bloods, actual silver blood in their veins, have basically enslaved the red-blooded, non-magical people. The world was rich, the story was ripe, and then it all fell apart by a few simple author choices.
Our heroine, Mare Barrow—a red-blooded thief—discovers she has magic too. The silvers decide to hid her ability in plain sight, betrothing her (is betrothing a word?) to the king’s second son. Okay, so this fact plays out later and really works for the twist ending. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The court explains to everyone that Mare is the long, lost daughter of a silver and they have just found her again and will reengage her into Silver society.
I call bullshit. I was able to suspend my disbelief that humans have evolved enough to have both magic and different blood. (Who needs red blood cells full of iron to bring oxygen to cells anyway?) But I couldn’t wrap my head around all the royals being like “Sure. That girl never saw her own blood before. That seventeen-year-old woman has never noticed her blood was silver. (I mean, maybe they don’t have menstruation in that universe. Who knows.)
I did love the Cinderella/Snow White trope and the twist ending, that demonstrated on the naivety of a Red thrown into a Silver world. Most “you’re a princess” books forget the lower-class girl has no clue about court and high society. But the blood thing broke me. I could not enjoy the book knowing it dangled on such a precarious premise.
Okay, and there was the almost love triangle thing that reminded me of The Selection. I didn’t care for that either. Mare’s affections were scattered and unsure, going from one boy to the next, depending on her mood. Yes, like a real teen girl but not a book teen girl. I want my book girls to be strong, sure, and able to choose the right man. Not waggle between two or three. That’s not a pretty angst. It’s not Twilight, for sure.
With all that rant said, the world building was beautiful, the characters, each different and intriguing—more than cardboard cutouts. But man, I still didn’t care for this book.
Three of Five Silver Blood Drops