Red Queen: a series review


Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Books: Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, War Storm
Novellas: Queen Song, Steel Scars
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Overall series rating:

For a review of each of these books, follow these links:

Red Queen
Glass Sword
King’s Cage
War Storm
Cruel Crown

WARNING: mild spoilers. 

When I first started this series back in 2015, I thought I had found a new favorite. I LOVED the first book, and I had high hopes for the rest of the series. Unfortunately, the first book was the only one to get my 5-rose rating.

So what happened to cause a rating of 5 to drop to a rating of 3 for the other three books and two novellas?

Not much. That’s what happened.

The second book had so much of the same thing: the finding, recruiting, and training of newbloods.

Book three had so much of the same thing: Mare and Maven and their twisted relationship.

Book four had so much of the same thing: everyone talking about taking Maven down.

Other things happened, definitely. And there were some good parts that I really enjoyed. But this series dragged on and on and on. The story probably could have been told in half as many words, and been better for it. I had such a hard time remembering what was happening, who some people even were, and why I liked the series to begin with.

Believe me when I say that I wanted to love this series – instead, I lost all interest in it after the first book.

What do you think? Have you read the Red Queen series? I’d love to know what you thought of it!

War Storm

Title: War Storm
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, 4/4
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 15th, 2018

Note: This post reviews the fourth and final book of the Red Queen series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King’s Cage, before reading this review. 

Ok Red Queen fans, here it is. The finale we have all been waiting for… War Storm.

The ending of the third book of the series, King’s Cage, left us just as brokenhearted as Mare Barrow. (Unless, maybe, you happen to be a Maven fan, in which case, leave.) When Cal ultimately chooses his crown over the girl he loves, Mare (and the Scarlet Guard) must continue to fight for what they have all been working toward – taking Maven down. And the only way to take down the prince who nearly broke her is to side with the prince who just broke her heart.

But this rebellion is bigger than just a messed up triangle, and always has been. The future of Norta, and the kingdoms surrounding it, is at stake. Will the Reds rise together as the dawn and defeat the Silver oppression once and for all, or will they be so defeated that they will never rise again?

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, a novella
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 1st, 2018

Note: This post reviews a novella of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Let me begin by saying that I really do like this series. I especially loved the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin. The characterization was rich, the writing was better than the first and second books (for the most part), and the finalé was pretty powerful. When I reached the end of book 3, I realized that Maas planned to continue the series – when it would have made a perfect trilogy! There is such a thing as dragging out a series too long, and I’m worried about this happening with an already good series. Is this going to become another Throne of Glass series for Maas, where we are now waiting for the eighth book in the series to be released?

Once I accepted the fact that the series was TBC, I eventually looked forward to the release of ACOFAS. I had my reading calendar (nerd) marked for the books’s release in May, as some of you might recall from an earlier post. I hadn’t known that, unlike the other three books in the series, it was in fact a novella. But the length of the book wasn’t what bothered me.

What bothered me about A Court of Frost and Starlight was the utter lack of plot.

I’m serious, guys. Nothing. Happened. I gave myself a few days in between reading the book and writing this review to have a clear head, but when I think back to the book, I remember the characters planning a party, shopping for gifts, exchanging gifts, having conversations, and – oh yeah, it’s Maas – having sex. I’m sorry if this is an unpopular opinion, but I do not think this makes for a good book, not even a good novella. There was no tension, no suspense, no plot.

The one thing this book had going for it was – the best part of this series! – the characters. I love Feyre, Rhys, Cassian, Nesta, and the rest – but… having great characters who simply interact with each other on the page, no matter how much we love them, is not enough. They have to do something – and they need to do more than plan parties and shop for gifts.

Having said this, if you plan to continue with the series, you should probably not skip this novella. It does set the reader up – barely – for what is to come, mostly concerning Nesta. The last ten pages of the book – the sneak peak of what is to come – offered more to the reader than the 250-page novella.

After all that, I just have to add… isn’t that cover a stunner?!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Dragonfly in Amber


Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: July 1st, 1992 

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Outlander, before reading this review.

I love what the author, Diana Gabaldon, has to say about this book: “It doesn’t start where you think it’s going to. And it doesn’t end how you think it’s going to, either. Just keep reading; it’ll be fine.”

Imagine my surprise when I began reading book two only to realize that 20 years have gone by since the happenings in Outlander, and Claire Randall is back in the 20th century with her grownup daughter, Brianna. (No spoiler here, I just hadn’t read the back cover teaser!) Thankfully for us as the readers, Claire takes us back in time, where we left off at the end of Outlander. In an attempt to end the Jacobite uprising that will inevitably end in absolute defeat, Claire and Jamie travel to Paris, to face Bonny Prince Charles himself. They do their best to socialize in the French court, filled with intrigue. But will their efforts be enough to save the Highlanders from the decimation that awaits them if Charles Stuart continues his course of action? Can Claire and Jamie actually make a difference… and change the history Claire knows?

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Outlander

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: June 1st, 1991 

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon at the RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) conference in September of 2017. I hadn’t read the Outlander books at the time and I knew very little about them, but I went into Gabaldon’s writing classes with an open mind, ready to learn. She completely blew me away, not just with the exhilarating love story of Claire and Jamie, but with her entire approach to writing novels. Gabaldon quickly made her way to the top of my list of favorite authors – even more so when I finally sat down and read the darn thing half a year later! Here is my review:

One moment, Claire Randall, a World War II combat nurse, is standing at the ancient stones of Craigh na Dun, and the next, she is thrown back in time – 200 years ago – when Scotland was being torn apart by war. Claire is a “Sassenach” – an Outlander – who must do whatever it takes to survive in an unfamiliar time in the midst of great violence. Before long, she is involved with a clan of Scots – who do not know what to make of this strange englishwoman – and she quickly learns that the soldiers of her own country, the redcoats, cannot be trusted. Her quest to get back to her own time becomes that much more complicated with Jamie Fraser – a brave, handsome Scotsman – in the picture. Torn between two worlds, two times, and two men, Claire must decide what she really wants – and this decision will completely change her life forever.

I cannot remember the last time I read a book that I enjoyed as much as Outlander. I had a difficult time putting it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading it. (Nerd.) It is the kind of book I couldn’t wait to pick it up again, to see what would happen next to these characters I love. I was completely swept up in the romance of Claire and Jamie, and fell in love with the book’s setting: Scotland. And as for Jack Randall, he might just go down in history as the most hated, vile villain I’ve ever read. Even at a word count of 305,000, I was not ready for Outlander to come to a close. Thank God (and Diana Gabaldon) for the rest of the books to devour in this series!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Crimson Bound

Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe 2/2

Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

First of all, let me just state that I do not understand how this can be labeled as a Little Red Riding Hood retelling. It’s a stretch, for sure.

Since she was fifteen, Rachelle was marked as one of the bloodbound – tied to the forest and the evil that infests it – and forced to live in servitude for the past three years. But even though she has been turned into a monster, she wants nothing more than to destroy the Devourer – a legend, supposedly – and prevent an eternal darkness from settling over her world for the rest of time.

Rachelle finds an unlikely ally in the prince of her realm, Armand – the last person she ever thought would help her. Together, they seek a lost sword that might be the only thing with the power to defeat the Devourer and save their world. But defeating the evil of the forest means making one sacrifice after another – sacrifices of both the heart and the flesh.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Cruel Beauty

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe 1/2

Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 28th, 2014

You may have read one or two (or ten) retellings of Beauty and the Beast, but chances are you haven’t read one quite like this. Cruel Beauty’s fresh take on this classic tale was unexpected, captivating, and at times downright twisted. Here’s how it goes:

Seventeen-year-old Nyx had been groomed from birth to grow up to be the wife of a monster – a demon – because of a bargain made by her father in desperation. But when she finally fulfills her destiny and marries the Gentle Lord, she gets more than anyone bargained for. Her plan to break the curse he has held over her people for nine hundred years proves to be more difficult than she ever could have imagined, especially when she begins to think he might not be as much of a monster as she had always assumed him to be.

As more and more secrets are brought to life, Nyx uncovers the hold her demon lord husband has over the last prince of her people from long ago, but she cannot deny the hold he has over her. In a realization that there is darkness in every heart, not just the heart of a demon, she makes a sacrifice of her own heart for the sake of her people – a sacrifice that could turn out to be the key to the undoing of an age-old curse.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: