Friday, April 1, 2016

Red Queen

One of my favorite shows is West Wing. I started watching in a couple years ago, and now I'm on my third viewing of it (at least). What I love about the show is the details. The minutiae that is always flowing under the surface and serves to fill out the world of the show. In the real world there is paperwork and bureaucracy and people get colds randomly and sometimes you tip over a glass of water and it ruins that paper you've spent hours writing. Little things like this really make fiction seem realistic. And, despite my enjoyment of Red Queen, this is what was missing.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Mare Barrow is a Red, born to work in service to and die for the elite Silvers. But after a freak accident reveals there's more to Mare that meets the eye, she is thrust into the world of the Silvers, forced to pretend to be one. But she is not swayed by the beautiful, powerful people who have enslaved the Reds for centuries.

The premise of this book is very simple, and very much like a lot of dystopian books. Oppressed girl is undercover in the oppressor's world. She must not be discovered as she tries to take them down. I don't mind that this is a retrodden theme. Books follow patterns. I care instead that they are done well. The journey matters more than the destination when it comes to books. And in a lot of ways, Red Queen hits the right notes. There's some political intrigue and cornering that couldn't be talked out of in one conversation. Bad things happen to good people and bad. Action scenes are well-written, and there's some heat to the love V. But Red Queen failed to me in a few ways as well. The world feels part fantasy, part sci-fi, which was hard to wrap my head around. Mare doesn't feel as fleshed out as I wish she would be, instead saying a lot of things about how she's going to save her people. She's too easy to like because she doesn't do anything wrong, which strays alarmingly close to Mary Sue-like behavior. There's some mean girl tactics on the part of the other female characters for seemingly no reason, but I'd be okay with it if it were explained more. All in all, this was a pleasant read. It didn't knock my socks off like it did to others, but it was enjoyable and I'll be reading the next book. And you know why? Because the ending was amazing and I totally didn't expect it. It played off my expectations with books like these and then laughed in my face for assuming I knew what was happening.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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