22328546Red Queen (Red Queen trilogy, #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen
Pages: 383

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?

"The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind."

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

A day after finishing it, I am still reeling from the shock Red Queen made happen. The wounds of that ultimate betrayal are still fresh and healing, and I feel like I can't even bring my mind to what has happened. Fortunately, there also are a lot of other things that happened in this book, ranging from fantastic characters to an okay world. Despite some issues I may have, Red Queen is a very pleasing and surprisingly enjoyable read.

To start off with a thing I liked less, I am surprised to say that the world has disappointed me here a bit. Contrary to the characters, the world building wasn't very well developed and left some disappointing plot holes here and there. When it comes to its genre, Red Queen sometimes felt like a mash-up of books I had read before or things I had seen before. It did not do anything good for the promising world building, leaving nothing besides the Red and Silver blood that made it stand out.

We still encouter a nation suppressed by a ruler with an iron fist, the class system, the poor being treated as slaves, X-Men-like powers, a spark rebellion, etc. I did feel like rebellion, followed by tension and violence, was much present in this book than it did in other series. The methods of the rebelling group, the Scarlet Guard, lean more towards terrorism than anything else. I very much enjoyed seeing that aspect play out over the course of the story.

The plot itself was put together very thoughtfully, consisting of many interesting storylines that kept me on edge and eventually made me fly through the book. It did start out well yet quickly got boring at times and started to drag, when there was actually a lot going on. After a while the pace got better and better because everything was clearly building up to this big event. There may have been some effort needed in order to keep reading, but it payed off. The closer I came to the end of the book, the faster I was reading. Even though it felt like everything was over, I kept thinking to myself that something still had to happen. When I found out I was right, I was already experiencing the aftershocks of that amazing plot twist.

A rather small issue I encountered in the beginning of Red Queen, was that I felt a bit irritated by Aveyard's writing style. The way she writes is characterised by an endless stream of comparisons, repetitions and metaphors. I did not think it was necessary to repeat over again how cruel or how rich or what kind of monsters the Silvers are, when it was already shown within the first chapters. Aveyard structured the world to have an immense gap between the elite Silvers and the hard-working Reds. As it was shown that way, it didn't need to be repeated as often as it did. Nor did the Reds need to be compared so much to the Silvers. Some comparisons and metaphors were truly beautifully thought of, but after a while I had enough. Fortunately my irritations stopped somewhere halfway through, because by then I was already too invested in the characters and what was still to come.

Now the characters are absolutely the best thing about this book, and therefore my main reason for continuing with the series. Mare was the typical young-adult heroine you could easily sympathise with, but my eye went out to all the other characters in her environment. As much as Evangeline reminded me of The Hunger Games' career tribute Clove, I couldn't help but be fascinated by her. She is that vicious and intriguing character everyone loathes and loves. Evangeline is however one example of many out there. You see the Silvers from Mare's point of view, but it wasn't very difficult to connect with them. They were all well-developed and some even really complex, I cannot wait to see more of them. Sign me up for the sequel

17208924Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Published: May 10th 2012 by Penguin Books Ltd
Pages: 308

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.

“You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot. ”
Thank you Penguin Books for providing me with a copy for review.

DNF at 50 %

Let's play a game of Never Have I Ever. Never Have I Ever had the chance to read an LGBT novel, which just means a novel that deals with homosexuality. There have been times when I encountered some aspects of it in books I'd read, yet never has it had such a big impact on the story. Will Grayson, Will Grayson therefore felt like a breath of fresh air. Even though it does not matter whether love is between the same sex or not, it was interesting to see the falling in love from a very different perspective. However, this is as far as my praise for this book goes. Yes, it was a disappointing read. It took me two whole months, if not longer, to read the first half of the book. I had plenty of time on my hands to pick the book up and finish it in a couple of hours, but I never felt the need to. The more I did read, the more I wanted to set it down and not continue. Like many, it started off on an interesting note, and then drifted off to nowhere, resulting in a DNF.

When reading a book which is written by two completely different authors, it was hardly impossible to not pay attention - and compare - their writing styles. Unpopular opinion time: John Green isn't my favourite author in the entire world, and I feel like this book has yet again confirmed that he is not the most talented one out there. As with his other books, his chapters of Will Grayson, Will Grayson are full of unnecessary metaphors, combined with a boring male protagonist and a thin plot. I also often found myself being irritated with his writing style in this book and with the way how it came across with little emotion and a lack of depth. It even shone through in his male protagonist, as I liked Will Grayson far less than the other one.

All the reasons above made me lean more towards David Levithan, author of the even chapters and thus the other half of the book. I must admit that it took me a while to settle into his way with words, and the fact that he decided to throw grammar overboard, though it was kind of worth the effort. I liked his chapters just so much more. It was easier to get a grip on the way he portrayed his characters personalities and their vivid thoughts and emotions. Sometimes his writing style did get to a point where it was just annoying, but fortunately it never lasted for long.

Because I clearly preferred Leviathan over Green, the same went for their characters. Specifically when it comes to their protagonists. While Green's Will Grayson is just a replica of all the other male protagonists in his other books, Leviathan's will grayson is the one who had immediately sparked my interest upon starting the book. I had never encountered such a self-centered, pessimistic, not-giving-fucks-to-anyone character before. He was such a struggle, yet a pleasure to read. As with every character in this book, it was also hard for me to really connect with him, despite his words sounding more real to me than anyone else in this book did. The other characters just complained a lot and were overall kind of boring. This brings me to a character who frustrated me so much to the point of wanting to chuck the book at the wall: Tiny Cooper.

It has been pointed out that despite the two Will Graysons, this book should have been called Tiny Cooper, Tiny Cooper, and I completely agree. Whatever was left of the plot after the two Wills met, was filled up with Tiny's musical and Tiny's romance, and so on. I don't know if it was the actual intention to come up with such a stereotypical gay character. It seemed to mock homosexuals more than anything else, because there is so much more to a person than just his sexual orientation. Tiny is described as being not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large. I feel like he should be a funny and adoring character, but it rarely comes across as such.

As far as the story goes, it is not something I would immediately start reading after having read the synopsis. Eventually the hype pushed me towards reading it, and I can't say I'm glad I did. This book feels like a little fragment taken out of two very ordinary teenage lives. It seemed to me like a lot of the book was just a build-up for what's still to come, and dragged a lot of the time. In the end, it led up to this big and life-changing moment where the two Will Graysons would finally meet. I think I expected too much of it, because nothing really happened. As Tiny began to take control over what was left of the book, I quickly decided it was enough. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is overrated, although I know it will please fans of John Green's other books. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

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