108 – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardThe 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?
This might seem a little redundant, seeing as how Ollie, Robin, and myself have spent the past four week complaining about and nit-picking this novel. However, in case you’re not the type to subject yourself to ~four hours of exasperated sighs, Robin complaining about excess lungs, and me repeating “I can’t” over and over, here’s the tl;dr version, because this book pissed me the fuck off.

Things Wrong With the Red Queen


  • It’s Another Dystopian Novel About Oppression with Almost Zero Marginalized People In It
    • like literally almost zero
      • the heroine is a straight white girl SURPRISE
      • love interests are also straight+white
      • there’s one brown girl + her grandmother but they’re oppressors AND direct antagonists to the heroine
    • 0 queer people
      • I mean we still don’t know the story behind Thomas and Maven, but nothing canon
    • There were a couple of disabled people though
      • Mare’s dad was inaccurately disabled so that was a thing
      • also there was one mute woman whose tongue was cut out
      • but she has one scene, and really she’s just there to be a living source of manpain ~representation yeahhhh~
    • Why do you keep doing this YA
    • Why

  • Girl Hate Everywhere
    • literally every female character in this novel gets hated on
      • I’m going to be using the word literally a lot sorry
    • but no every female character is a BIIIITCH
    • girl!Magneto Evangeline is one of the primary antagonists, and she’s called a bitch by everyone, even randos who’ve never met her
      • no seriously this is how our heroine can tell when people are trustworthy, they open with “that bitch Evangeline”
      • it’s like their “good guy” secret password
    • crimes women are demonized for: liking/discussing “silly” things, being too pretty, partaking in ~magical~ plastic surgery, being good at things the heroine is not good at, wanting things, being women, existing
    • men are allies, women are antagonists: canon binary

  • It’s Anti-Rebellion
    • no seriously this is a dystopian that actually goes on about how bad rebellion is
      • specifically violent rebellion
      • “no but if u hurt the people oppressing u ur just as bad as they r omg”
      • that’s literally the message
    • one guy goes on a rant about how thinking all oppressors are evil is just as bad as thinking all oppressed people are inferior
      • literally he says that
      • and not in the “all racism /= KKK racism” way
      • in the #NotAllMen or #NotAllWhitePeople way
    • #NotAllSilvers
    • The point is that we shouldn’t fight, guys, even when being violently oppressed by people with literal superpowers for centuries
    • Just talk it out, because some of them are basically decent people, right?
    • #NotAllSilvers
    • It’s like the book version of your racist uncle’s Facebook feed during Ferguson
    • This book is evil
      • No I mean that sincerely
      • It’s evil
      • These politics are terrible
      • It’s like propaganda designed to uphold the status quo
      • It’s novel-length tone policing
    • AND IT’S MEANT FOR TEENAGERS JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
    • This is insidious shit
    • Don’t read it

  • Also Plot Things Are Bad
    • It’s like a weird AU Hunger Games/X-Men fanfic
      • Plus some Cinderella?
      • There’s even a District 13 though
        • RADIATION AND EVERYTHING
      • Also a “Capital”
      • Rough-around-the-edges, brassy heroine with a fairer little sister
      • I’m just saying
    • It’s also like a YA genre cliche buffet
      • Except none of it goes together
      • Mmmm, here have some mashed potatoes on that spaghetti yummm
      • You want some ketchup on that ice cream? Yeah, unf
    • For a minute it’s all dystopia, with desperately poor people + obscenely rich people and arena matches and shit
    • Then the heroine runs into the prince dressed as a commoner
      • Seriously
    • Then she witnesses girls in a contest for the prince’s hand in marriage
      • You think you know where that’s going?
      • Yeah it totally goes there
      • She falls (LITERALLY) into the competition and turns out to be the most powerful of them all
      • God why
    • So it’s pseudo-medieval but there’s also X-Men powers and diamondglass walls and a love interest who invents the motorcycle and extremely basic military tactics like the surprise attack
    • Look Reading with a Vengeance covers it much better here but the world-building shit makes no sense
      • It’s a world completely held together by author fiat
    • Also the king’s plan (aka the excuse for everything that happens in the book) is terrible
      • It’s basically to pretend the protagonist’s blood isn’t red
        • Because Silver blood = rich people, Red blood = poor
      • But red blood is like impossible to hide
        • Fingernails, eyeballs, lips, paper cuts, god forbid she GET HER PERIOD
    • Then the king puts her into X-Men power training
      • PHYSICAL EXERTION MAN I DON’T CARE HOW FIT YOU ARE, YOU SWEAT AND GET FLUSHED
      • This also makes her 1500% more likely to get into a situation where she could bleed
      • WHICH HAPPENS BY THE WAY
      • THIS IS A TERRIBLE PLAN
      • HOW HAVE YOU PEOPLE BEEN IN POWER FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS WITH SUCH TERRIBLE STRATEGIZING CAPABILITIES??
      • Oh yeah superpowers
    • Also it takes forever to get to any interesting stuff, and by the time you get there, you hate everyone
      • See also: terrible politics and girl hate

THINGS RED QUEEN DOES RIGHT


  • X-Men as the Oppressors, and Not the Oppressed
    • I mean that shit never made any sense right?
    • Superpowers as a metaphor for/manifestation of privilege, wealth, and power just makes more sense
    • Congrats on doing one thing right


One Star


 

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