RED QUEEN

“You should know the difference between secrets and lies.”  

Official Summary: (goodreads.com)

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book. I really did. The writing was smooth, the idea of it was so magnificent, the setting was gorgeous and well-defined…so why don’t I remember it? The simple fact is that while everything else twisted and wove through the story like milk and honey, the characters fell flat for me. Mare, our heroine, is too…bland. Something about the way she reacts to every situation seems too little, too late, and she isn’t as striking as she needs to be to make this story work. I thought better of the Scarlet Guard members, but they appeared too infrequently, and when they did, it seemed as though they faded within just a few pages. And the princes. Oh, how I wished them to be more than they were. My hero was dull and never really did anything too heroic, which soured this book for me, because while I love a rip-roarin’ heroine, I like it better when she has a hero to keep her motivated, even if it’s not because he’s her hero. And his brother wasn’t much better, not until the very end, anyway, all pale and quiet and inconsequential in the heat of his brother and Mare’s chemistry.

But the writing aside from that was very good, descriptive without drowning you, giving you enough to imagine but not taking the fun out of it. And I did really like the premise and the execution of the storyline, but for me to be interested in the rest of the trilogy, I need the characters to come to life, and they didn’t do that for me.

What to Watch: (Spoilers!)

Honestly, in terms of what to watch, it’s pretty much nothing or everything depending on your perception. To me, the Silvers had simply mutated, developed abilities and then developed their own elite society, so those traits became stronger. Other people perceive it as magic. If that’s the case, this book is a huge no-no, because that’s the premise and the story revolves around these powers.

Other than that, you may want to be cautious of the violence- though it only appears sporadically, it does include torture and sometimes death, and it can be gruesome to those with a tender stomach. But that, you might be able to discern from the cover- a silver crown dripping blood, representative of the red blood of Mare infiltrating the Silver domain.

Overall, I liked this book, and would have loved it if the characters didn’t feel so forced. So bland. But that, of course, is only my opinion, and I would love to hear yours!

Questions? Comments? Have a book you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and tell me what you think!

 UPDATE: NOW A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Congratulations, Victoria Aveyard!!!

Update 2.0: I don’t know how I liked this book. Looking back, attempting a reread, I think I must have been blinded by hype, swept up in how other people feel. Because I hate this book. It bores me to tears, and the characters still have no flavor. I was going to try Glass Sword, but I get the feeling it’s not much better. Yikes.

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AVALON

“Stealing a spaceship shouldn’t be this easy.”

https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1371481016l/17149396.jpg

My rating: PG-13 for some suggestive wording, a spot of language, and violence throughout.

Official Summary: Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon’s cult hit show Firefly.

My thoughts: While it took a little while for this one to catch my interest, once it did, I was swept away. Holy moly. This book…When it says it’s a match for fans of Firefly, it isn’t kidding. I love that show, and I loved this book. It picked up fast, and no one can trust anyone, leading to all kinds of betrayals and twists just when you think everything is finally going to work out. The writing is gorgeous, descriptive enough to give you a complete picture but not so detailed as to bore you with the never-ending sci-fi talk. While it does take some getting used to, what with the new terms that always come with a science fiction novel, it ultimately is a wild joyride of action and weird happenings in the Bermuda Triangle- of space.

What to watch:

     As far as language goes, there was very little cursing, and that only happened in the most dire of situations.

     As far as romance, one of the ruses they use to sneak by guards is two crew members in ‘passionate embrace’, and there is a touch of romance with the leader and another girl, but it’s nothing too extreme, just kissing, and most of the detail is what they’re thinking (even though it’s slightly cliché- “hearts beating in harmony” and so on). There are some suggestions from the bad guys about putting the girls in a brothel, as a threat to the main character.

     The biggest issue in this book (if the small amount counts as an issue) was some of the violence. The main character works for the cruelest man around, and he is willing to torture anyone to get what he wants. That includes our hero, and there are some mentions of child abuse by someone who is supposed to be good. There’s a lot of fighting, shooting, and some killing, including a few semi-graphic deaths of influential characters in the story.

     Overall, I thought this was a great read, and I recommend it for anyone, not just lovers of science fiction and interstellar pirates. But of course, everyone reads what they want to read, so go for the gold, whatever that gold is to you!

Questions? Comments? Have a book you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and tell me what you think!