Book | Red Queen
Genre(s)| Young Adult / Fantasy
Date of Publication| February 10th, 2015
My Rating | 1 STAR [Only because Goodreads won’t let me give it zero stars.]
Book(s) – Red Queen
Feels– Murderous Ones.
Tears – Of Annoyance and Rage.
I don’t know how to start this review. I’m just so very pissed about this book, and it’s been a month. I think a little bit of context will help:
I won some money from a contest and decided to buy Red Queen as one of the books I wanted to get with that money. I paid around seven dollars for this book – which isn’t much if you live in the US and are used to spending dollars but when it comes to dollar to rupee conversion (68 bucks, give or take), I’d ended up spending around 475 bucks on this book. AND my friend told me she bought a copy of it two days after my book had shipped. Which means I could’ve just borrowed it from her, now couldn’t I?
The book had me interested in it since March last year, having just gotten started with tweeting and book blogging and what not. And the HYPE, dear god, everywhere I saw people were praising this book to the high heavens and demanding for a sequel and RQ was winning awards left, right and centre at pretty much anything.
Here’s the blurb if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read it yet:
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 . . .
So, let’s begin.
First of all, this book is a rip-off. Of every YA Fantasy book that ever used divisions in society ever. I got some very strong Grisha Trilogy and Hunger Games vibes from this one.
A girl, suddenly discovers she has X powers and is taken to the palace to learn stuff and then quietly rebels and joins an underground rebel group. Sounds familiar? – The Grisha Trilogy in a nutshell. And already this doesn’t bode well because I found those books just average. And Mare – protagonist of Red Queen and the biggest complain box I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading about. She is so vapid, so lifeless and so whiny she puts Paris Hilton, Kanye West and Donald Trump to shame. I did not connect with her whatsoever, in fact many times I wanted to give her a nice whack and shut her up.
And let’s talk about the love quadrilateral. One girl, three boys: a prince, a villain, and a best friend. Again, a rip-off of the Grisha Trilogy. I’m not saying that’s the original, but the entire book is pretty damn similar. Amazingly, even with so many characters, not one of them could redeem the novel.
SPOILERS beyond this point:
So we have Maven – the nice prince turned villain – except I could see that twist coming from a mile away. Seriously, the way Mare kept saying “Trust no-one, blah blah blah…” you’d have to be pretty damn stupid to not realize what was happening. Quite possibly, Maven might be the only one who has any semblance of character in this entire novel.
END of SPOILERS:
There is an obnoxiously large amount of info-dump in the first few pages of the novel itself. And then it continues, in the worst way possible. Also, literally every character in the novel is from TGT. Even Baghra, the ‘stern old woman’ has a place here with another stern old woman instructor, who doesn’t have any of her good sense or likeability.
The book hasn’t only ripped off TGT, but also The Hunger Games and I think, though I can’t be sure, The Selection (I’ve not read this series, but going by blurb, it does sound similar). There are arenas for matches of power display which are a way for the government (King) to maintain control over the Red Population. Aside from the very offensive allusion to the White-Black Slavery, this book also picks up the very Cinderella trope of showing off before the Prince to be his bride (except the prince wants the poor, commoner). Even the final scene, the fight in the area is reminiscent of the Hunger Games with elemental powers.
In other aspects the book bombed – the writing. I found it choppy and very annoying. It seemed as though the writer thought all of her readers were supremely dumb and needed to be told multiple times throughout the book about things so they’d understand and remember. Talk about condescending. And there’s also the wonderful way the book was written – drab and boring until the last few chapters where literally everything turns into a shitstorm.
So, recently Nicola from Queen of The Bookshelves tweeted that there was a mention of a ‘red-purple bruise’ on one of the Silver characters. PURPLE & RED bruise on a Silver character. Has that sunk in yet? And then she also tweeted a picture of a question someone had asked the author on Goodreads:
Yeah. You see?
So when I mentioned this to a friend, she said, yeah, especially since she has to bleed once a month anyway.
Yep. I missed all of these, probably because of the fury I was feeling because of this book. This book is an absolute travesty. I’m officially labelling it as the worst book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read some absolute nonsense in the name of books. Also, the world -building isn’t anything good either. I couldn’t understand half the stuff happening because I couldn’t picture it and it just got real messy, real fast. Apparently it’s supposed to be old Greece? With electricity? I didn’t get that AT ALL. Of course, that might be because the world building and the fantasy aspect is pretty low on my fury radar.
In my humble opinion, the hype lies. This book is a fucking disaster and I don’t know how on earth there are four of this series coming out. Who let the first one out, I don’t know. And it certainly isn’t anything great – heck, it isn’t even average.
Here’s what I said immediately after finishing the book and I still stand by it:
I dunno how and why people like this. This book literally picks up the best bits of popular dystopian & fantasy novels and butchers them. The writing is choppy and coupled with the info-dump at the start of the novel, this really has no saving grace.
I will not recommend this to anyone. Dear god, what a travesty. Pick up something else, there are loads of better written and well plotted books out there that don’t use the same trope and destroy it so callously.
I know I’m definitely not picking up Glass Sword ever. And thankfully, from the reviews I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere that one isn’t good either.
-end of my rage rant-
Until next time,