Lightning Magic! But… High Expectations | Red Queen Review

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 10, 2015
Pages: 383

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

I was really excited about this novel when I saw the excerpt on Scribd and I wanted to be part of the first wave of readers to get the experience of this novel once it hit the shelves. Alas, with life and money I wasn’t really able to do that and I finally got the paperback from TBD a few months ago. I finally got around to reading it and while I did enjoy the story, I found it to be kind of a disappointment–a definite case of overhype expectations.
The world of the novel was really interesting. I think if we got more involved with the world and the court systems, I might’ve enjoyed this book a little more. I feel like the world was kind of there to create a certain amount of tension, but I never got a real feel or knowledge about how the world really worked other than the segregation of the Reds and the Silvers. It was kind of like everything got explained away by the segregation, but we didn’t delve a lot into either culture. It was really disappointing. 
The pretense of the novel is really interesting, a Red girl (Mare) suddenly has powers that she shouldn’t have and she’s not a long lost Silver? I thought that was an interesting spin to the story. I think this gimmick was used pretty well in terms of creating the kind of tension with the story and the conniving mind of the Queen. But again we kind of see a lot of… telling and not showing in terms of this.
The romance is… ??? Cal is alright I guess? There’s no real interaction between Cal and Mare, but suddenly Cal is totally in love with her and willing to defend her in a lot of situations? It’s a case of insta-love and I don’t know if I can get behind that, really. 
I think I’ll read Glass Sword to see where the story progresses, but I’m not entirely impressed by how this series starts. It’s pretty surface level with the story and it suffers from tell and not show. There’s a lot of times where I’m supposed to care about stuff, but I don’t really feel anything. While the action scenes were pretty cool, the more intimate and character oriented scenes lacked a lot of heart. The plot twist in the end is something I saw like a mile away. I kind of wished Aveyard spent more time building the relationships so that it came more as a surprise than a “well saw that coming”. 
Overall I really like the idea of this story, but the execution isn’t all that great. I wish there was more detail in a lot of the character interactions and the society. I feel like a foreigner rather than someone who should be part of the world (if that makes sense). I think I’ll give Glass Sword a shot, but I’m not as excited about this series as I was in the beginning.

Mini Review: Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas

Title: Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas
Author: David D Hammons
Published: December 7, 2015
Pages: 215
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It’s hard to find a decent brunch in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. But that’s all Henry Rosetta wants from the world. That, and not to be eaten by nomadic cannibals. Henry has traveled the nuclear bomb-blasted highways critiquing the finest radioactive eateries and cataloging his experiences. All the while, he’s been searching for the knowledge of why the bombs fell. It’s this hunger for specialty food and forbidden knowledge that brings Henry to the city of New Dallas. There, Henry meets a green-skinned mutant, a katana-wielding assassin, and a horrible dictator who claims to know why the bombs fell. Henry must help the people of New Dallas and learn the great secret of how the world ended. And maybe get a taco along the way.

My Thoughts

Dancing Zombies. 
No really. Dancing. Zombies.
This book was a fun read. Like a really fun read. There were a lot of things that made me smile and made me laugh. This book was mainly a humorous book so when it laid down some real life drama, I was a little disoriented. 
I really, really disliked Zoe since she seemed to lack a lot of character (a lot meaning I only know that she was ragey all the time and wanted to kill and nothing else). She annoyed me and she drove me up a wall. Zoe was obviously written to be Henry’s main opposing force in this book but holy moly did she not stop being negative. She was constantly whining and constantly snapping at anything Henry said and she rolled her eyes a lot. It was truly the worst.
Other than that, I think this was an alright book to read. I liked a lot of the funny bits, but then when the info dump happened at the end and everything I didn’t feel super great about it. The end was really underwhelming and there was suddenly this weird romance between Henry and Zoe that I didn’t feel was earned at all. If the book did a better job with those two areas, it would’ve been better–but alas. 
If you’re into some strange humor, this might be the book for you. It’s definitely strange in an endearing way.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ARC for an honest review.

Review: Stitching Snow

Title: Stitching Snow
Author: R. C. Lewis
Published: October 14, 2014
Pages: 338
My edition: Hardback/won
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Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and
repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

My Thoughts…

I really liked how the story started. I always love the fighter girls who give a “f– off” attitude. I liked how everything was set up and I liked how the intrigue was going and then at some point… It was kind of lack luster. I don’t know how I feel about it after I finished the novel. I wanted to know the ending and I wanted to know how everybody faired in the end, but I was kind of curious of the destination and not the journey. I kind of don’t even know how to write this review. Let’s start with things I liked.
I liked the quirky drones Essie had with her. They were obviously supposed to be this story’s version of the seven dwarves. I thought it was adorable and it was a really good connection.
Olivia had very much the evil queen feel that the classic Disney movie put on. I pretty much imagined that evil queen with just a more sci-fi feel to it. 
Diversity? Check. 
Now with the things I didn’t really like…
I felt that the story was a bit short. I never had enough time to look at one area and I never had enough time to take in the surroundings. It helped with getting the feel that this was happening incredibly fast, but by the time I settled in one planet we were on to the next. There wasn’t a lot of description involved in general which is what I like in novels. There was a lot of point A to point B. 
The romance was… alright? I didn’t really get the feel between Essie and Dane. I get that they’re supposed to be together (they’re the only two that really talk to each other throughout this entire endeavor) but it didn’t feel very justified to me. 
Things were incredibly predictable. I knew from the start what was going on so I was just kind of sitting there like, “alright is this where you figure it out?” I saw the ending kind of a mile away. Maybe this comes from being a fairy tale retelling, but I wasn’t impressed with how the plot moved. 
This was a pretty quick novel if you’re into a story being really straight forward. There was really one true destination and that’s what was going to happen. If you’re into books that have a lot of plot twists and sudden “aha!” moments, I don’t think you’re going to enjoy this novel. I like going in for a wild ride and this kind of felt “meh” to me. 
All in all, this book was alright which is a shame since I really wanted to like this book. I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings, but this just didn’t really cut it out for me. I kind of still want to read Spinning Starlight but considering how this book went, I might put it down farther on my lists to purchase.