|(Jump in on the discussion on Tracey's blog. For a full synopsis of RED QUEEN, head to its Goodreads page.)|
There is nothing new under the sun.
There are only x amount of plots.
It’s all been done before.
This might all be true, but if it is, then the challenge of spinning those plots in new and different ways becomes greater. I wish I could say that RED QUEEN does that deftly…but it kind of doesn’t. Which really bummed me out. We can’t escape our influences—nor should we—and it is always fun to spot those things that inspire an author. The problem, for me, is when those bits of influence and inspiration become distractions from the story I’m currently reading. I was able to pick out strong similarities to a handful of other stories while reading this book (THE HUNGER GAMES, THE SELECTION, GAME OF THRONES, X-MEN…) and it kept pulling me out of the story. It's like a patchwork quilt made up of "been done before".
This was a story that I really wanted to love. The hype was real and my hopes were high, folks.
I wanted to immerse myself in this book’s world, but I found myself craving more information about it than was provided. How did this caste system arise? Is this our own world, and if it is, what brought about all of these big changes? Was it just the natural result of uneven evolution? Because despite the cover’s appearance and the jacket description of this book as a “lush fantasy”—which is what I was expecting—it totally read as dystopian to me. (Which feels like a bait and switch, now that I think about it. Trying to pass off dystopian as fantasy to hook dystopian weary readers… Badly done, marketing team.) We were given info about Mare’s world up front, but what there was of it came at us so fast that it’s entirely possible I missed something that sheds light on all of this. I suspect more will be revealed as the series moves forward, but I’m not sure I will be going along for the ride. (All signs point to no.) Which is too bad because there is just so much potential here.
Then there was the love triangle, which I confess I don't normally mind. In this case, there wasn’t enough time spent on either brother to convince me that there was anything of substance between Mare and Cal or Mare and Maven. But then it stumbles into love rhombus (?) territory with yet another fine fellow who quite clearly has feels for our heroine. With not nearly enough page time allotted to any of these potential romances, it was too much and too little all at the same time. It all becomes more than a little problematic when key plot points hinge on the believability of the romance in the story.
Because I know that many people loved this story—subjectivity FTW!!!—I feel like I would be doing a disservice to it and to anyone reading this review by not mentioning what I liked about RED QUEEN. Despite how it seems, I dislike slamming on books. It’s that whole “walking in someone else’s shoes” thing, you know? So, here’s what I thought was cool about the book:
- Superpowers. Who wouldn’t want awesome superpowers? As a Marvel (and the odd DC) fan, I can honestly say that this aspect really appealed to me as a reader. And the powers the Silvers (and Mare) possessed? Pretty cool.
- That Harry Potter and/or Cinderella thing where the hero/ine is plucked from obscurity into a life that he/she never even dreamed is something I’ll never tire of. (Putting aside, of course, the fact that she really did not want this life and had it thrust upon her.) To wake up one day and discover you are sorta special would be AMAZING.
- I really liked Cal and Maven and many of the supporting characters. I would have liked more depth and development where Mare was concerned, but the interesting cast of characters was enough to keep me reading.
- I felt like the author played fair when certain plot reveals took place. There were enough hints along the way to make the twists and turns feel like they weren't coming out of nowhere. I was able to figure some of them out.
So, the takeaway here: This book was not for me, but the 4.13 rating on Goodreads suggests that it was THE book for many. If you like YA dystopian/fantasy with heavy X-MEN and THE HUNGER GAMES vibes, you should totally check this one out!
Have you read RED QUEEN yet?
If so, what did you think of it?
Jump in on the conversation!