Top Ten Tuesday!

Jamie at The Broke and Bookish hosts a weekly prompt, and I’ve been thinking about it all morning. Strangely enough I haven’t read many debut authors this year, so I had to do some digging on my Goodreads account. And I may have cheated just a little bit for some of them because I haven’t read their sophomore novels yet! I also really think I should be reading more debut authors, because I’ve seen some great lists on other blogs. 😀

  • Victoria Aveyard – I loved Red Queen and can’t wait to read the sequel!
  • Andy Weir – The Martian was fabulous, funny, and opened up entire discussions about going back into space, so yes! I want more!
  • Erin Morgenstern – It’s been so long since I’ve read The Night Circus, and I really can’t wait to read what she writes next (I haven’t even heard if anything’s coming out soon!).
  • Leslye Walton –  The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a really beautiful and haunting story that had so many good elements of magical realism and fairy tales woven in. I’m hoping her next novel is just as enthralling.
  • Helene Wecker – Her debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni, had such a fantastic underplot that I wish was developed more, even though I enjoyed the rest of the novel!
  • Hannah Kent –  Burial Rites is a gorgeous novel set in 1850s Iceland that involves a woman and her husband’s murder. It’s a character study, and it’s a great study of women in that time and place. It was a Waterstones pick while I was studying in London, the cover drew me in, and I wasn’t disappointed.
  • William Ritter – Jackaby was such a neatly woven mystery with elements of Sherlock Holmes and magic that I can’t wait to read the sequel (even though it’s been out!).
  • Samantha Shannon –  I’m fully aware The Mime Order is out, and I haven’t yet gotten to it. I’m still excited for her career though. I listened to a chat with her and Sarah J. Maas last year, and she’s delightful.
  • Carrie Patel – Her second novel in her Recoletta series is out, and I just finished reading the first, The Buried Life. It’s a magical Victorianesque, sort of steampunk mystery that’s super engaging with great characters.
  • Scott Hawkins – He’s written computer manuals before, but his debut in fiction, The Library at Mount Char is so terrific and weird, and very reminiscent of Neil Gaiman. I hope he writes more in that universe or with those characters, because they’re so creepy and I’m still thinking about them.

REVIEW: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

TITLE: Red Queen
AUTHOR: Victoria Aveyard
PAGES: 383
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Library

SUMMARY: 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 the book jacket

REVIEW: Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen has been getting a lot of hype in the last several months either on the bookstore front, the book bloggers’ front, and more recently with Elizabeth Banks reportedly to direct the film. I finally got Red Queen this past week when it finally came through the library for me (ugh, holds and hold queues and self-imposed book buying bans, but yay, free books!). Once I got it, I put everything else I’ve been dabbling in reading on hold. I’ve been through a weird and frustrating reading slump this year, so I’m literally about to do anything to keep myself reading, including writing about what I read! That’s more for another post.

I liked it.

It didn’t wow the socks off of me and it didn’t disappoint me, which is why it gets three stars out of five instead of anything less or more. I just want more? I’m so happy there’s a sequel coming out next year, because I feel as if Red Queen is just a setup for so, so much more. It’s a lot like Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass in the sense that the first novel in the series/trilogy is all about setting the stage for the real action. I don’t know what my real opinion about Red Queen and the other two books in the trilogy will be until they come out. I’ll have more of an I love this!! or an It’s just okay. opinion once the second one comes out, I think. I tend to read trilogies as cohesive narratives rather than individual books.

Now that I’ve finished it and have thought about it for most of the day, Red Queen draws on a lot of popular tropes and themes in popular fantasy and YA fiction, and that’s okay. There are threads of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, themes of Cinderella (the title had me hoping for an Alice in Wonderland vibe, but alas), X-Men mutant abilities, and the dystopian society of The Hunger Games woven in the narrative. While that might seem stale to some, I liked it. I thought it was an engaging, entertaining read. It sets the stage for more intrigue and drama, and that’s good because I want more.

The biggest issue I had with it was the love… square? Maven is by far the most interesting, Cal is sort of boring, and there’s not much I really gathered from Kilorn (and that’s probably because I started this book when I couldn’t sleep at about three in the morning, so the first few chapters are a little fuzzy in my memory). I’m hoping that this love square is happening just because Mare hasn’t been out of her Red world much and because she’s still figuring herself out in the midst of everything. And it’s not the main focus of the book. It’s sort of a plot point for the climax of the narrative, but it doesn’t overshadow anything else.

Overall, I enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to more (and I think I’ve said that about three times now, oops).