2 Mini Reviews: The Red Queen and The Darkest Part of the Forest

Amanda

The Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

Published February 10th 2015 by Harper Teen

Source: ALA Midwinter Meeting

Hardcover, 320 pages

17878931
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 centre 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?

I had a lot of hope for the Red Queen!  With that amazing cover and this quote I was ready to love this book:

In school we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands.  Some say those are just stories, but I don’t believe that.  The gods rule us still.  They have come down from the stars.  

AND THEY ARE NO LONGER KIND.

Then I started reading and it kind of felt like the Hunger Games.  Silvers vs. Reds, rich vs poor, magic vs. non-magic. I loved the idea of the silver bloods and their magical powers.  Aveyard created a world where basically anything is possible which I was super cool.  Silvers can be the fastest, the strongest, start fires, deflect light — you can think of it and someone can do it!

I suspended my disbelief and I went with the story that got Mare living in the palace and mingling with the Silvers.  But then I kind of went back to feeling I was reading something too much like the Hunger Games.  Now there was no direct competition between Silvers and Reds a la the HG here, but some facets of the story felt too familiar.  The childhood boyfriend left behind, the rebellious faction basically looking for a Mockingjay…  Basically the romance sucked in this book for me.

There were some giant plot twists- some I expected and some totally took me as surprise.  I really have hope for Mare and I do want to see where the next book takes her.

3 stars!

The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black

Published January 13th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 328 pages
20958632

From Goodreads…

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Thank you so much Sarah from What Sarah Read for sending me this ARC!   This was my first Holly Black book and it will not be my last.  This book was dark in a way that I wasn’t expecting- which was awesome.  I loved that Hazel is the sword bearing sister trying to protect her brother.  I loved the diverse characters and the wider span of sexuality amongst them.  There was something weird for me with the town vs. the forest where the fae live. This just didn’t work for me but it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book!

I will say that Hazel shocked me in the end which I loved.  I did not see the way she handled herself coming at all.  Last-this was a standalone-hallelujah!  Sometimes it just feels so good to wrap up everything with one book!

4 stars!

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