Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Book Review

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”

Goodreads Synopsis: MARE BARROW’S WORLD IS DIVIDED BY BLOOD—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except… her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Commentary: I read many great reviews about Red Queen, and how amazing it is. it took me a while to get into the book. I felt that it was a tad overhyped. It reminded me of Shin Sekai Yori because there are two classes of people: ones with power and the other slaves.This book did remind me of X-Men since the Silvers have godlike powers. Mare Barrow, what can I say? There were moments many moments in the book where i wanted to slap her. She complained way too much and was jealous of her younger sister. I guess the author tried to make Mare seem like a strong female character, but I didn’t get that vibe from her. She had a destructive personality and was pretty selfish, but there were some moments were I was rooting for her. I really like her power of lightening! The beginning was a bit slow for me, most of the time I was wondering how would Mare get her powers. I liked how Mare’s ability activated when she was about to die during the Queenstrial contest. I found it funny how Mare just wanted to go back home, and the royals were like “You have to change your identity and live with us. You are now Mareena Titanos, whether you like it or not. And oh, by the way, you’re going to marry the younger prince. Your old life was awful, but not anymore! Congratulations. You’re welcome.” I knew that she was going to join the rebels and spy on the Silvers. But, I can’t see Mare being the key figure to the rebellion. There are more Reds with special abilities, I hope someone else can represent the rebellion.  She wasn’t the best female protagonist, nor the worst, just a little below average.  My heart is broken. Maven, oh Maven.  I thought that Maven was the right guy for Mare, while Cal was not. I hated how the author made Maven so likable while Cal was not. I hate how you seemed caring, thoughtful, and honest, but you used Mare as a pawn. Most of all, I hate how malicious you became Maven. I was rooting for Maven until he betrayed Mare. I don’t know how to feel anymore. This whole time, I thought he wanted change his society and help the the Scarlet Guard. Nope, he had other plans. I don’t like Maven now and I have some trust issues with Cal. Maven sort of reminded me of the Darkling from the Grisha series, but not he’s not as cool as him because Maven is a mama’s boy. (Darkling > Maven 😌). Now, Kilorn, Mare’s best friend, was irrelevant to me. He likes her, but she only sees him as a friend. I’m glad that he author did not include any romantic moments between Mare and him. Though the guys love Mare, there wasn’t much romance in this book. I really couldn’t trust anyone in this story. The twist, I wasn’t expecting that.  Didn’t think the king would die, didn’t expect Cal to be the “good guy”, and I definitely didn’t expect Shade to be alive. Anyone can betray anyone. The book was quite a fast read. By the time I finished, I wanted more. I hope the sequel in this trilogy explains how the Silvers came into power.

Quotes: 

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”

“Rise, red as the dawn.”

“Do you, Prince? Do you understand what it’s like to be taken away from everything you love, forced to be something else? To lie every minute of every day for the rest of your life. To know there’s something wrong with you?

Final Rating: 👑👑👑

The Selection by Kiera Cass: Book Review

Hello readers, I’ve just finished reading The Selection by Kiera Cass. My really good friend Imee recommended me this book! There are going to be spoilers!

 Goodreads synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete in for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Commentary: Prince Maxon was my favorite character in the novel. He was lovable, sweet, and very kind to all around him. He was definitely a Prince Charming, he treats all of the selected like a true gentleman. I really had my doubts about Maxon at the beginning of the novel since I thought he was shallow for wanting a Selection, but once I read about his motive to why he wanted one, I thought it was rather sweet. I had a feeling that he had fallen for the protagonist from early on, so I wasn’t surprised that he chose her for the elite. He’s been so kind and romantic to America, though she kept insisting that they stay just friends.

I felt America was an okay protagonist; she wasn’t the greatest nor the worst. I did find Prince Maxon to be the second guy in the novel because America was in a relationship with Aspen from the start of the novel. I did not find the love triangle annoying…yet. I felt that her feelings were indeed very much conflicted for both men. She was in love with Aspen for two years; of course it’s not going to be an easy process to get over him once she was in the contest. I liked the pacing of the book. I am glad that she did not fall in love with the Maxon immediately. Though, I did feel that she jumped to conclusions very quickly. For example, when America spotted Aspen holding the hand of another girl, she quickly believed that he had moved on to another girl after he broke up with her, and luckily, she listened to him once he became a palace guard. But, I really liked that she is humble and did not have to change herself in order to get the prince to like her. She stayed true to herself and her motives are good since her family gets paid in checks because she is in the Selection. She thinks of her family a lot more than herself.

I liked Aspen; I couldn’t hate him because he was so good to America with the little he had. I felt that he had her best interest in mind and he never wanted her to suffer like himself. His caste number was six and America’s was five, he did not want her to live in poverty. He knew that he had to break up with her in other for her to have a better life. He’s a hard worker, sacrificial, and willing to make America happy no matter what. When he spoke of the draft, I did not expect him to become a palace guard. Near the end of the book, he tells America that he still loves her. I was a bit sadden that I know that America will end up choosing Maxon over him.

Celeste had to be the most interesting selected because she started drama and was ambitious. She was the typical mean girl who wanted the prince from the beginning. The royals had no idea that she was cruel to the other girls since she concealed her personality very well. Marlee, is America’s friend in the Selection, and she is the favorite selected of the people. I just want to know why she is in the contest if she does not like Maxon. I had a feeling there was something mysterious about her.

I wasn’t a big fan of the writing. When I was reading the novel, I felt it was more like a fan fiction. I felt that there was more description and not enough dialogue. I was disappointed that the girls did not really have to compete with each other. What I mean to say is that, I felt that the girls were just there. I thought there were going to be contests to win dates, not just lessons on royalty. I wished that the author would have described the relevant girls more. I really felt that there was focus on only four girls: Kris, Marlee, America, and Celeste. Hopefully in the sequel, the author writes more about the six chosen girls left remaining. I was a bit shocked that the prince eliminated so many girls after the rebel attacked the palace. I hope that there is more information about why the Kingdom of Illea has enemies. So far, there are two rebel groups, the Northerners and the Southerners. The Northerners raid the palace more, but are seeking an object or weapon (it has not been revealed yet), while the Southerners are more brutal and violent. I forgot to mention that the book is supposed to be a dystopian. I heard some people call it Hunger Games meets the Bachelor, but I feel its more like the Bachelor because the girls aren’t forced to kill one another like the Hunger Games. Besides, America singer is no Katniss nor a political symbol to overthrow the government. Somehow this book did remind me of Cinderella in a way. Girl goes from poverty and wins the heart of the prince, basically Cinderella. Lastly, I hope the author explains why there are caste systems, and how they were formed. I’m pretty positive that America be the one to win the Selection competition. I’m still going to finish the trilogy, and luckily I’ve stayed away from spoilers on Tumblr. The book is a bit predictable, but I was entertained nonetheless and I can’t wait to read The Elite.

Final Rating: 👑👑👑

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Book Review

“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”

Hello readers, I just finished the second book to the Mara Dyer trilogy. I really had low expectations of the book, but I was wrong about this book. I am currently reading the Retribution of Mara Dyer and I will post my review of the last book once I finish reading!

 Cover: Lovely cover!

Goodreads Synposis:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Characters:

Mara: I really like Mara. I felt bad for her in this book. She kept trying to get better and pass off as “normal”, you could really tell that she loves her family. It was heartbreaking to know that she was seen as psychotic and broken, even though it’s revealed to the readers that she’s not. She was stronger in this book than the first book. Though Jude kept torturing her throughout the novel, she managed to overcome many obstacles. It was heartbreaking reading about her struggle to overcome her past demon. I still love Mara’s family. They are really supportive of her and try to do what is best for her, even though they don’t know she’s different from them. I did like how the author had two Maras in the book, one being the protagonist, and the other being her grandma who happened to have the same power as her. I hope more of her grandmother’s past gets revealed in the final book.

Noah: I grew to love Noah in the second book, and he didn’t come out as too over the top for me in this novel. He really loves Mara and tries to help her whatever way he can. I felt really bad for Noah whenever he blamed himself when Mara got hurt. If Noah weren’t there for Mara, I don’t think that she would be strong enough to overcome her guilt and remorse. I did enjoy the moments he and Mara shared; they definitely grew stronger as a couple. In the first book, he really annoyed me and I couldn’t stand his character, but now, this book changed my perspective of Noah. Before reading the second book, I had low expectations for Noah and I was wrong. Lastly, Noah can’t be dead. He just can’t. I just have to wait for the last book to know what happens! This is my favorite Noah Shaw quote (I can’t believe I actually have one): “If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”

Jude: There is only way I can describe Jude, he’s just insane. He was creepy throughout the novel. He kept trying to make Mara seem insane and kept haunting her. I really did not like Jude. He kept trying to avenge his sister, even though it was impossible. I had a feeling that he had a power like Noah and Mara. He was terrible, but he was a pawn and was being used. I still don’t feel sorry for him, because he made Mara suffer mentally and physically. I didn’t like that he lied and used Phoebe as a pawn in his revenge plan, but then again, I didn’t like Phoebe.

Dr. Kells: I knew something was off about her. I did not see that twist coming at all. I thought she was a bit creepy, but I did not expect her to know that Jude was alive nor aid him in capturing Mara. Secondly, I can’t believe that she lied about the program to Mara and her parents. The twist really threw me off, but it made the second book so much better. I like her as the villain and I can’t wait for the final installment.

Why I liked it: Yes, this book was over the top, but it still had its elements of surprise and creepiness. Mara tried to be normal and things were looking up for her. Her family was starting to not worry as much for her, but the events that took place didn’t allow for that. I did like that part of the book where Mara gets her fortune told and I do believe what the fortune teller told her was true: “You will love him to ruins.” Secondly, I loved the doll and the background story. It made this book super interesting. I wanted to know why Mara’s grandma and Noah’s mother had matching pendants. I hope I could get answers to how those two are connected. Then there’s Abel Lukumi, how did he know what hospital Mara was at? Was he a hallucination? (I doubt it, but I hope he returns in the final book). I had a feeling Stella was going to be unique, but I was surprised when reading that Jamie also carried the same gene as the others. I want to know Jamie and Stella’s power. Lastly, I can’t wait to read the last book.

My final rating is ★★★★☆. 😌

P.S.: I feel this song describes the book perfectly.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange, but trust me —it’s the most normal thing about my life right now.”

I really expected this book to be thrilling, fantastic, and amazing. Many people have praised The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but I felt it was overhyped in my opinion. I don’t hate the book, but even though it is the first book, I will continue to read the series just so I can find out more about Mara’s powers and if there are others like her. Hopefully the other two books are better, I’m crossing my fingers that they are. Lastly, I appreciated that there was no love triangle in this book! ^^

The Cover: It has to be one of my favorites.

Goodreads synopsis:
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

The plot really interested me. It was very psychological. I had to reread many chapters over again because at times I couldn’t tell reality from her “hallucinations”.

Characters:
Noah Shaw: He was too perfect, and that’s the problem I had with him. First of all he’s incredibly rich, knows six languages, he’s a heartthrob, and a bad boy, not to mention British…like I said earlier, too perfect. I started to like him near the ending of the book, when he finally revealed to Mara that he has powers to heal.

Mara Dyer: I wish I knew her real name instead of the alias, but oh well. I liked her. I really felt sorry for her and the traumatic events that happened to her. Her life was turned upside down because of her power to kill people. She had no idea that she was the one to cause the accident of her friends and her ex-boyfriend. And I don’t blame her for the accident either, after it was revealed that her ex-boyfriend, Jude, tried to rape her. I am excited to continue to read the series just to find out if she can control her power in the other books. Mara’s family was lovable; they really tried to help her out throughout the book. It was heartbreaking to read that she tried to be “normal” in front of her family and peers.

Jude: I was lost for words when Mara saw him in the police station near the end of the book…he’s alive! And I’m guessing that he has powers like Mara and Noah too.

Why I disliked it: For some reason, this book reminded me of a Spanish telenovela. There were some moments in the book that were too over the top for me. For example, Jamie explaining to Mara the reason why he dislikes Noah is because Noah slept with his sister for revenge just because Jamie was falling for Katie (Noah’s sister). Then Mara asks Noah if what Jamie told her is true, which it is, and then Mara accepts Noah and moves on…ughs. I felt that Mara fell in love with Noah too quickly. I would have liked to see their relationship slowly developed, but that did not happen. I found Noah to be too aggressive and dominant over Mara. Most of the time I was shaking my head when reading this book, and other times, I would stop reading and ask myself “What am I reading?” It was not as fun as I thought it would be, but it’s the first book in the series. It can get better!

My rating is a 2.5 out 5 stars. :/