Since I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, I thought it might be useful to start reviewing the books for friends and anyone else interested. If any of my lovely readers need credentials for these reviews, I would like to remind them that I do have a Masters Degree in Literature and have delivered many literary analysis and criticisms at conferences.
I received the book review idea from a friend on Facebook. She posted that she was reading The Red Queen and said another friend said it was a cross between the Hunger Games and Greek Mythology. I thought my friend needed another opinion.
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Red Queen is set in a futuristic world where only two classes of people exist. Those of silver blood who feel deserve privilege because they have powers. Then there are the commoners who have red blood and are supposedly powerless.
The red blooded Mare Barrow discovers she is not so powerless. Because of a chance encounter with a stranger, she finds herself employed as a servant in the palace. Later, she’s made into a princess and engaged to one of the royal princes.
Mare must tread carefully in this new environment. Since she possesses something she shouldn’t have (namely powers), her life is precariously balanced between a glamorous life of imprisonment and death.
As for The Red Queen as a cross between The Hunger Games and Greek Mythology? I can understand why people would like to make comparisons, but at least be accurate.
The book does have a strong Hunger Games feel. However, nothing in the book gave me the impression that greek mythology had any influence in the story line. Unless they were referring to the futuristic Roman style coliseum described in the book.
Architecture is not a valid reason to compare a book to mythology. Now if the story line or the overall “feel” followed a certain greek myth, I could see how the comparison would be valid.
Furthermore, (and the reason why I bunched The Red Queen and The Selection Series reviews) the book is also compared with The Selection Series. I disagree with this comparison too.
I reiterate, one small section of a book that just so happens to coincide with the entire theme of another, does not make an accurate comparison. Unfortunately, I’ll not go into detail for fear that I’m giving away too much of the book.
Aside from a Hunger Games feel, there is no other book I would compare with The Red Queen. I do see strong comparisons with the current American social, economic, and government climate.
Overall, it was a good read. Whether or not it’s good enough for spine-wearing repeated reads, I’m waiting on the second book to judge. My advise is to read it as an ebook first before spending coin on a hard copy.
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
The first three books of The Selection Series follows America Singer as she reluctantly volunteers for a process styled after the Reality TV show called The Bachelor.
America lives in a kingdom that relies on a numbered (1-10) cast system. Those in the first cast rule the kingdom. Apparently, there aren’t many of those. People in the tenth cast are constantly poor and live on the street. Each number has it’s own profession and the further down in cast, the poorer the people.
There are few ways to change cast such as marriage, adoption, etc. Then there is a Selection where thirty-five girls or guys are chosen to wine and dine with the current Prince or Princess. The ultimate goal: an advantageous marriage where family members also rise in cast. After all, the Prince or Princess can’t have poor in-laws.
America, with the pressure of family and boyfriend, volunteers to be chosen. Once she’s unexpectedly chosen, she’s whisked away to the palace, dressed extravagantly, and taught in the ways of a Princess. All while competing for the attention of the Prince.
I found this series very frustrating. More than once, I had to put down the book and cool off before I threw it through a window. America was a highly fickle character who lacked the ability to commit.
This wasn’t a problem in the first book. She loved her boyfriend, he told her to volunteer, and she would always remain committed to him. The poor guy wanted the best for her. Yet, as she spent time with the Prince, her commitment to her boyfriend wavered and it seemed like she was growing attached to the Prince. Since her boyfriend basically severed their relationship, I didn’t see a problem with her commitment wavering at this point. When her boyfriend came back into her life, it was understandable that she would be confused with her loyalties.
I was expecting her “wavering nature” to last through the first book and maybe half the second book. After all, she was a young girl who needed to take in the experience and learn from it. That didn’t happen.
America was fickle the whole time until a chapter or two from the end of the third book. There was absolutely no growing or learning. I like strong female characters or even female characters that learn to be strong. Reading this series made me feel sorry for the boyfriend and the Prince. When they tried to face a reality without America in their lives, she got angry with them for attempting to move on.
Honestly, I was amazed I stuck with the series for as long as I did. I was even more amazed that I tried to read the fourth book despite the lackluster ending of the third. Like a high school student once told me, she couldn’t put it down despite her frustration because she wanted to see when America would gain some sense. It was the same with me, and I was hoping the fourth book would be much better than the rest of the series.
The fourth book starts the selection for America’s daughter. Only this time, it’s a Bachelorette style selection. I didn’t even get through the first chapter before I was so completely disgusted with the series that I gave the books away to a student. No way was I going through yet another fickle female lead who doesn’t grow.
While the main character and the other female characters did not wage World War III on each other for the Prince’s affections, they were all very milk toast. If they did play dirty, it was equivalent to grade school hair pulling. I can understand, given the situation, these girls couldn’t break out the uzi or walk out of that ridiculous demeaning selection farce. There wouldn’t be a story otherwise.
If anyone likes Bachelor and Bachelorette, these books are definitely for them. For a person who thinks those shows are stupid and weeps for a society that would gain entertainment from that tripe, don’t waste hard earned cash on The Selection Series.
Future Book Reviews
If these reviews helped, here are upcoming book reviews:
- The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles) by Mary E. Pearson
- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- The Goddess Test Series by Aimee Carter
- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
- Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
- Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
- Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Splintered Trilogy by A. G. Howard