My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow. This was one intense, I-can’t-breathe-until-I-finish-this-book kind of read.
I decided to read this book due to a glowing review by one of my friends (thanks Ashley!), and I’m really glad I did.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve become a little tired of the dystopian fad. I mean, death and destruction and nearly certain defeat are great and all, but only after so many times. This book had all the classic mistreated, poor workers vs. extravagant, cruel high society clichés that we’ve been seeing so much of, and at the beginning, it just made me roll my eyes. But then, it departed from that and left the pack of Hunger Game wannabes behind.
The Silvers’ powers were really cool, and vaguely reminded me of the premise behind Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I enjoyed learning of the different powers and what they were called, which led of course to wondering what type I would fall into. (I’m convinced I would be a shadow-after all, most of the shadows described in the book are redheads. 😉 ) I also was strongly reminded of The Roar by Emma Clayton. Same basic idea, but a totally new twist. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do so.
The characters were very interesting. Mare was, of course, the typical tough, cynical female protagonist in YA lit, but I still found her interesting and related to her. I was not a super-fan of the love triangle/square, though. Pretty much from the beginning, I was Team Maven, so I was ready for Cal and Kilorn to take a hike. (view spoiler)
The rest of the characters were all right in themselves, except for Farley. For some reason, I just hate Farley! She seems like a total cold-blooded killer, and even from the first time she stepped on page, I knew I didn’t like her. Same with The Scarlet Guard. (view spoiler) Maven and Cal were interesting to watch, but not as engrossing as Mare. The only characters besides Mare that I really cared about and wanted to see more of was Gisa and Shade. Especially Gisa, as I was sad we didn’t see more of her in the book. I can only hope she features prominently in the sequels.
The setting was interesting, but not as fleshed out as I would have like it to be. The only places I found myself able to picture vividly was Mare’s village, and the arena at Queenstrial. I would have like to gain a better understanding of the world around Norta, and what was going on. (For a fantastic dystopian world, see Nadine Brandes’ Out of Time trilogy.)
Plot-wise, I enjoyed the twists it took after the generic dystopian set-up. Kind of The Selection meets Steelheart meets The Hunger Games. It definitely was non-stop action, and I give Aveyard kudos for that. The end, although rushed, was a very good set-up for the next book, and I am excited to see what happens to the characters. (view spoiler)
The one content problem I had was the violence. Honestly, if it gets any worse in coming books, I may choose to skip them. This is about the limit of my tolerance for violence and graphicness.
Overall, I was excited to find another popular (though secular) read that did not have any content issues that would require me to abandon it. The only other popular/secular books I have enjoyed wholeheartedly are the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. (I will say though, Matched is still my favorite over Red Queen.) I look forward to reading Glass Sword, and if all goes well, King’s Cage as well.
Rating: 4 stars
Recommendation: 15 and up.
Language: 2/10 (Only a few curse words-pretty good for mainstream)
Violence: 8/10 (There was a lot of graphic violence in this one. Torture, battles, attacks, etc. I managed alright with most of it, but it was not a pretty sight. Those sensitive to violence and/or graphic descriptions should steer clear of this one. Weak of stomach, beware! )
Sexual content: 2/10 (Didn’t notice much here, and this is what I am typically most sensitive to. A few kisses.)
Note: To view spoilers, read the original review on Goodreads.