I'm sorry! I just didn't see what everyone else saw. Beautifully written but extremely melodramatic and at times unrealistic, and I just couldn't getI'm sorry! I just didn't see what everyone else saw. Beautifully written but extremely melodramatic and at times unrealistic, and I just couldn't get past that....more
Let's just start with this fact: Victoria Aveyard is a good writer. Okay, I said it. She knows how to put a good sentence together and add enoughNo.
Let's just start with this fact: Victoria Aveyard is a good writer. Okay, I said it. She knows how to put a good sentence together and add enough impact to keep you paying attention for a few hundred pages. I wanted to get that out first, so that the fact that I could not finish this book won't make you think it was the writing that made it so.
No, we have the story to blame for that. The story that I wanted to like SOOO badly after all the hype it's received.
So here's the gist of it, Mare(also known as Katniss, Bella, Dorothy, Jean Grey and Storm of the Xmen, etc.) is a Red. In this world, of which I can't tell whether it's a futuristic version of OUR world, or just a randomly generated Allspace, Reds are the lower class, used as fodder for an ongoing war that no one knows how to get out of. The higher class of their society are the Silvers (also known as the mutants of Xmen, or the Mutants of the video game Infamous), an evolved version of humans who each posses different powers.
Mare's a thief, and an angsty teen, counting down the days until she's sent to the war, like her three older brothers. She lives with her father, a wounded war veteran, her mother, and her sister Prim, I mean Gisa, whose talents for sewing provides an income to the family and ensures that the family has at least one kid of promise. She's content to be this self-described horrible person, until her best friend Gale, I mean Kilorn, loses his apprenticeship and is called up to the war. A myriad of bad choices, leads her to basically volunteer as Tribute on behalf of him and her sister, and then when it all goes to hell, she runs. She calls herself a coward, multiple times. While moping about how awful she is, and how she's "once again" let everyone down, she meets a Red who works in the Palace, and winds up telling him how horrible her life is before finally getting the courage to go home and face the music, but not before he pities her and gives her some money.
The next day, the Palace guard shows up and says they're there to collect her because she's been hired to work in the palace. Shocked, Cinderella, I mean Mare, immediately realizes that it must have been Cal, the boy she met last night, who has made this happen. She arrives at her new job on the first day of "Queenstrial", or basically the Prince's Ball, where Silver girls from around the Capital, yes, it's actually the Capital, come to showcase their powers and hopefully become chosen as the brides of the two princes. Mare is working the skyboxes of the arena when she looks up at the princes and wouldn't you know it, there's Cal, the boy from last night. Gasp! He's a Silver. And Gasp! He's a PRINCE! Future KING of the Silvers.
Because Mare ruins everything, her words, of course she finds a way to ruin the Queenstrial, and in the process she and the entire arena discovers that while she's a Red, she herself possesses powers also! She can harness the power of lightning. To save face, The Evil Queen, Cal's stepmother of course, decides that the best way to keep the crowd from revolting at the thought of a Red with powers, is to create an elaborate backstory where Mare is really Mareena Titanos, the daughter of two fallen Silver war heroes. Fifteen minutes later, literally, she is betrothed to the Queen's son, Peeta, I mean, Maven, and taken into the palace to be trained and honed into a proper princess. And now we're in the Prince and the Pauper, and Dr. Dolittle, and a few other stories. And also, she starts to like Maven. Real or unreal? So now we have three boys to like.
Oh, and did I mention there was a rebellion brewing? And that her new status in the palace makes her the perfect person to help launch it? And that one her tutors Cinna, I mean Julian, tells her just that? But that while all of this is going on, she's concerned with how handsome Cal is, when she's not furious with him for pitying her. And she hates his fiancee Evangeline, winner of the Queenstrial, who is a mean girl, and oh, gets to hold Cal's hand.
If you haven't figured out what's going to happen, then you are like ten years behind in your YA dystopian love triangle, resistance, fairy tale princess books. You need to catch up.
Now, like I said before, Victoria is a good writer, so this story is told well, to be honest. However, good writing does not make a great book, and it can't make up for plot holes and storyline similarities. From the synopsis of Red Rising, it sounds a lot like that one. And also, Queen Elara's power is mind reading and communication through thoughts. Um...how are you going to overthrow the Capital if your future mother-in-law can HEAR you plotting?
I'm sure the fact that Mare is repeatedly self-deprecating, and calling herself names, was probably a conscious decision born of the desire to make sure that she seemed relatable. I mean most of us don't wake up wanting to take over the world, or having the courage to do it. So rather than making Tris, I mean Mare, start out as this tough character, we could see her evolve. The only problem is, she doesn't really. She's this whiny, self-doubting, crybaby, lovesick thing for pages and pages on end. She believes strongly that things should change, but she also kind of wishes someone else would do the changing. Cal's strong and handsome, why doesn't he just fix it!?
She doesn't feel like any heroine I want to back, or even a girl I'd hang out with, so I wasn't able to continue reading for anything more than a morbid curiosity of just how badly she was going to make things become by the end of the book.
Look, this isn't what we need in our heroines. Give me a girl who is strong because she is inherently strong, or because she WANTS to be. I've had enough of these who are strong because they have no other choice.
Also, can we please get some clarity on why this war keeps going on if nobody really believes in what the fight is for? And if the Silvers have powers, why do they need Reds to take up the frontline? Who are we mad at? The war? The Reds? The Silvers? The girlfriend? The stupid leather clothes she has to wear in the palace? What? What's our motivation?
While reading, I kept thinking, "Ugh, please don't become a movie," and so of course it's been optioned by Universal Studios.
Look, we have to start getting honest about this hype, people. Sometimes a story is just a well-told story. That doesn't make it a great book that everyone just HAS to read. It makes it a well-told story that you read that one time. You really don't have to tell the rest of us about it. Promise. ...more
Meh. I didn't dislike this boarding school drama set in the Gotham universe, but I also won't be clamoring for the next one for any reason other thanMeh. I didn't dislike this boarding school drama set in the Gotham universe, but I also won't be clamoring for the next one for any reason other than to figure out what the heck just happened....more