Thursday, March 26, 2015

Insurgent- book to movie

                Welcome back!  As you know Insurgent the movie came out last weekend.  I saw it with my friends opening night and wanted to share my thoughts with you.  Now let me say first things first this review will have spoilers, they are unavoidable as it's a sequel and to discuss the book to movie changes.  So if you haven't seen Insurgent yet there is a small non-spoilery section you can read without fear but then go see it then come back and share your thoughts!  I also find that many people have mixed reviews about the movie which makes this review even more fun to write.  Strap in and enjoy the ride.

                I read these books the first time a couple years ago.  When the first real trailer was released I admit to being a bit confused.  I was unsure if the trailer seemed so different because it was different or if I just didn't remember the book that well.  So to prepare for the movie, I re-read Insurgent the day before I saw it, technically I finished that afternoon before we did see it, so to say it was fresh in my mind is an understatement.  There were a lot of changes made to the movie.  You expect changes in book to movie adaptations, it’s a way of life, and they can make or break a story.  I was okay with most of the changes in the movie.  Let me explain, Insurgent had a LOT happening in it.  There was a ton of exposition and information to absorb in the book and to try and get all of that in there with all the different subplots in just 2 hours of movie and not have it be rushed through at super speed it needed to be condensed.  My honest opinion would be that they should have split Insurgent into two movies, since it had so much meat to it, and then only done the last one as one.  Come on that would have been a huge change, splitting something other than the last book.  Given we didn't get that I was happy with the movie.  I LIKED IT!  I didn't LOVE it as much as some others but I wasn't disappointed in it.  It kept true to at least most of the book and the story, unlike some adaptations. 

                The acting was pretty much as we remember.  There were some intense stares and oh some comedic relief when it wasn't expected.  Never expected to laugh so much at Peter when I hated him so much in the books.  For me there was a bit too much CGI.  The snake things that go into the divergent to try and open the box that levitate them….not necessary.  Why did you need to make it complicated instead of just going with it and having them on the chair like the last one.  Keep some things familiar.  The directors changed and you expected changes in the style but a bit more consistency would have been nice. 

                So that's all I really have that doesn't have spoilers.  Now I want to discuss some of the changes and my thoughts on them.  First let me say these are in no particular order, just how they come to me as I'm writing my review.

                Tris and her emotional state.  Her PTSD is played down somewhat in the movie.  She was struggling with what she did to her friend.  She didn't want to hold a gun, much less use one, in the books but she didn't seem to struggle with weapons in the movie as much, one small flinch at holding a gun does not give the depth the book had through the entire story.  In the book she also became reckless, stupid Dauntless adrenaline junkie reckless, which  put a strain on her and Four.  Speaking of Tris and Four's relationship issues, I think they were better in the movie.  They seemed to be on more solid ground and not have as many bickering moments like in the book because one wasn't being truthful, they just kinda had these looks that seemed to say they understood.  I was conflicted at first because I wasn't sure if that would detract from their relationship as a whole but after seeing it, for me it made their connection that much more real and solid for me where it wavered for me in the book some.  Their relationship is still new and fresh and to be constantly fighting each other with everything else going on would not show them as a strong unit.  However, because they cut out most of their conflict it did cut out some of their growth as characters.

                One of the things I'm most upset about them cutting was in Amity.  Where Tris and Peter fight and she is injected with the peace serum.  Basically Tris on some serious happy drugs.  Why didn't we get this scene where she was drugged out of her mind and so hilarious?  Her conversation with Four during it in the book were great.  It would have given the audience a chance to see insecurities about them and explain about the serums and being divergent.  Four has a theory that she is immune from all the serums but succumbed to this one because she wanted to feel happy. 
See how happy she could have been!
               Which leads me to the Candor truth scene.  The movie never showed that she could have withheld the truth if she wanted.  That in the end even though she could lie, she chose to be honest and get it out there that she killed her friend, Will.  That she told the truth even knowing it would hurt people and herself.  It was a very powerful scene in the book and came a bit short of emotional depth in the movie, showing more awkward than anything.  This also continues with Christina and Tris! They cut out all the stuff between them.  Where she hates her but then after the simulation suicides, which she wasn't involved in, but I liked her seeing it first hand, she understands what Tris meant about Will being unable to hear her and forgives her, which helps Tris start to forgive herself.  Big emotional part.  I think this cut some real depth and emotion from the story and was saddened by it.  Also taking back Dauntless headquarters was a big thing to take back their home.  Plus paintball guns, always fun.

                Some other things, Marcus wasn't in it nearly as much.  He doesn't leave Amity with the others.  Come to think of it the Amity scenes overall were cut much shorter.  I don't really have an opinion on this one way or the other.  I feel it worked for the movie as a whole and with the editing of things cut out it made sense to cut out his part.  Also going back to Candor.  The leader  Jack isn't as much of a pansy as in the book.  In the book after the attack he meets with Erudite to make peace and basically is told he's going to hand over all the divergent, the fugitives, and anyone who wasn't marked with a disk, oh and Eric.  He basically agrees tail between his legs without a fight.  Nope they skip some of that and he is on their side seeing what Erudite is about, I liked that.  Plus I adore the actor!

                Speaking of the attack, one of my other favorite parts was cut.  Tris didn't get to shank Eric.  WHY?  It showed she might still be struggling with her PTSD and not want to shoot people but when her life was on the line or that of an innocent she was willing to act to save them.  Plus Eric was such a douche.  Also they never chose new Dauntless leaders, which wasn't as big of a thing since people could easily see who everyone was looking to.  Tris and Four did flip flops as to his mother/factionless.  Tris was anti it in the book and Four was willing to take a chance, but in the movie it was the opposite, which was only slightly confusing to me.  Also the factionless have a huge headquarters type thing going on instead of small safe houses all over, constantly moving. I totally get it for the movie, it makes more sense to show the numbers and the overall visual feel of them in one space.

                Now one of the biggest changes.  The flipping BOX.  The magical divergent box.  There was no box in the book.  Janine didn't want anyone to know about the message because it would ruin her faction system.  But I can see it.  The box was something for non-book readers to grab onto.  It gave the movie a more sustainable objective.  It also made Janine seem more purpose driven to the point being blind to the clear logical issues which is what she was supposed to be, instead of domination.  They made it all about Tris, again for the purpose of the movie.  Also the wands to find out your faction?  WTF?  Not sure how that was necessary.  Plus it giving the percentage divergent you are?  Not cool with that but…yeah okay I went with it.    

                They cut the rescue scene and the invasion together, for the movie I thought this made a lot of sense.  It flowed better and given some of the subplots and things that were cut out to this point it was the only thing that made sense.  Though again would have loved to see Tris and Christina work together again having made up with one another, a good bonding experience.  Again there was a lot happening in the book and only two hours of movie. The rescue and such leads to the biggest issue I had with the movie changes, and that was the ending.  The end of the movie is with them showing the message to everyone.  Great that happened in the book and it ended there.  Allegiant picks up with a small group of people, Tris/Fours group leaving, not the entire city leaving for the gates so now I'm confused about the next movie.  But more than that, it seems like the factionless were good people.  NO!  In the book after the invasion they start to take arms from the Dauntless quietly and then turn them on them showing they are the new bosses in town.  They don't want to work together but to rule their way.  It ends when the video is played. 

                 There were several other small subplots that added to the dimension of the book that didn't make the movie.  We always knew they wouldn't when the start of them was cut from the first movie and again time restraints.  Come on any book lover would LOVE to see a true everything added and just so movie from their favorite books but that isn't practical.  YET!  Who knows what the future will hold.    Overall though, it may not seem like it by all the things I pointed out that were different or wrong with it from the book, I liked the movie.  I wouldn't give it five stars but I still felt it was a good movie and followed along close enough to the book and its ideals that I'm intrigued to see what happens next and how they will finish the series on the screen.  Plus if they are making changes there is always one change they could make at the end that I'd be totally okay with. 

                I'm sorry if this is a bit of a spastic review.  I just wanted to get my thoughts out there and make note of some things that changed be it good or bad.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book and movie versions.  Share what you think about the overall movie, the changes, are you planning to see Allegiant.  I need to discuss this further.     

Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Isla and the Happily Ever After...a satisifying conclusion

                So continuing on with the last book in Anna and the French Kiss companion series (previous reviews Anna & Lola), we have Isla and the Happily Ever After.  Now this book affected me differently than the other two did.  It has a different flow to it, which I adored, but is the type that hits at my feels with more power to the punch. 

                Some of you may remember Isla from the first book.  Yep we go back to the School of America in Paris.  Isla was a shy and quite girl we got a brief glimpse at in the first one.  She wasn't part of the main group but everyone knew of them.  She even had a huge crush on Etienne's best friend Josh.  One that Anna noticed.  Well Josh is single now and on his own in his last year, still the introspective cartoonist who doesn't take school seriously.  After a chance meeting in Manhattan over the summer romance between these two is on the brink.  But being in their senior year they are forced to deal with the challenges of every young couple from family drama, college and the possibility of being apart. 

                I mentioned this one had a different flow, unlike the others where we spend the whole book building up to that happy moment where things come together and we get some sweetness, this one starts out with the cuteness and then as things progress and life happens we see them struggle with their relationship and if they can last.  To me this hit me so much more.  To have the happiness and then see it start to crack.  For me I'm just more invested, seeing the happiness they bring to one another and don't want it to mess up vs the hope for something to come, if that makes any sense.  Plus come on she had a crush on him in the first book and she's adorkable plus I adored Josh in the first one so yeah. 

                Isla for me might be the most relatable.  She doesn't have a ton of friends, accept her one friend whom she protects against all others and if others don't accept their friendship then; screw them.  I love her loyalty.  New people in your life must accept this.  No friend worth having in life suddenly drops their longtime friends to have new ones, in my opinion.  She also has no idea what she wants to do with her life.  She doesn't have this life plan or really any dream job she wants to strive for.  She doesn’t have it figured out yet.  And Josh, well I knew him already from the previous book but to see him from Isla’s POV was fresh and new.  He was still artistic and spirited.  He wants to live and experience life.  Plus we get to see better who he is because Isla really wants to know him and he opens up. 
                They are adorable.  I don’t think I can say it enough.  They are similar in some ways but also polar opposites in others.  It made their connection very unique for the series.  Now there were some things happening that just about broke your heart.  I mentioned earlier I got upset.  I was reading the book with a friend, we started reading it at the start of the day and finished.  She finished first because I got so upset I put it down.  We discussed and I vented about my feelings on the book, but I did continue.  Honestly, I always knew I’d finish it that night but I was near tears and I was at work and refused to cry at work with a book stating a happily ever after in the title.  I’d never live it down. 

Yes they both make mistakes and things happen, or there wouldn’t be a story of course.  But the real truth is they both have to grow in order for things to move forward.  Both individually and together.  They are both dealing with their own issues, like every teenager struggling to figure out their place in the world in their senior year of high school.  Watching them take charge of their life and make changes to allow themselves the chance to grow was inspiring.

                Now the ending.  Not only of Isla and the Happily Ever After but to the companion series as a whole.  Oh did I swoon.  The pessimistic part of me saw some flaws in how things could have turned out badly at some assumptions made, but that part was easily shut up and my gushy romantic part just about fell off her chair.  It was beyond sweet and summed up the books perfectly but the overall way everything lined up, with all the characters in the series was just beautiful.  Now I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t read it yet but the one part, the last I think 20 pages or so I was fighting back more tears at work as my heart raced. 

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Isla and the Happily Ever After and the series as a whole, complete LOVE.  I highly recommend the series.  My only small complaint, which could easily be turned into another book is all I’m saying, is that Meredith, from Anna and the French Kiss, never got a happy ending and I always wanted her to find someone.  So I vote for another book focusing on giving Mer a happy ending.    I can’t wait to re-read this series.

Rating:  5 Full Page Illustrations  
Pretty good assessment!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lola and the Boy Next Door

So happy all my hardcovers match!
                So when I joked that I should post again the next day provided nothing major happens…well I jinxed myself.  I came home to no internet and a tech can't come out until Wednesday.  It's miserable.  I'm posting from work, my first internet access since Thursday.  So continuing on with my Stephanie Perkins companion series today I’ll share my thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next DoorYesterday Thursday, I reviewed the first book in the companion series, Anna and the French Kiss, here and plan to post my Isla and the Happily Ever After review tomorrow, provided the internet at work continues to function.  Shot response, I LOVED this book and its companions.  Here’s why.

                Lola and the Boy Next Door, follows our eccentric designer Lola who lives her life in costume.  She is way way out there were her outfits, wigs, makeup, the works.  The wilder the better.  Outrageous to say the least.  She’s a good daughter and friend and has high dreams for her future, she even has an older hot rock star boyfriend.  Things seem to be going well until her neighbors move back in, twins Calliope and Cricket.  The problem being her past with the twins and all the feelings they stir up in her when they return after a couple years. 

                Lola is super quirky and easy to love.  I’ve heard a few call her whinny, yeah she does whine some but I was also a teenage girl and I whined. It’s practically a requirement.  Plus she has some serious things to deal with.  Young heart break, SUPER OVERPROTECTIVE dads, and a mom who I don’t have words for at the moment.  You feel for her as she has to face  the one who broke her heart for the first time, someone she never truly got over.  Her dads hate her older boyfriend and are CRAZY with restrictions to do anything.  As someone who never had any real restrictions, curfew, or anything growing up it boggles my mind how she kept sane.  I didn’t always agree with Lola and her actions, not just her costume, though they always made me smile, but I still enjoyed her.  I also had a bit of a connection to her for some personal reasons, which my friend and I discussed while I read.
My visual of one of her outfits!
                 My biggest complaint about the book, which didn’t affect my 5 star rating at all was at the end.  It’s kind of a spoiler so I can’t go into it in depth but to say that there is a sudden character personality shift that felt came out of left field and more to drive home a point than I felt was necessary.  Cricket was this sweet boy next door, haha the title.  He has his own issues and is sexy and such but also comes off a tad bit bashful and unsure at times, which only endeared him to me more.  After a certain point where I was willing to forgive him.  Max, the older rocker boyfriend, their relationship wasn’t perfect by any means wrought with its own issues but I liked him for the most part.  My biggest issues with him were in the conflict he brought to Lola’s other relationships, and I liked Cricket more, duh.  Then the tension between all the characters just builds as there is many misunderstandings and assumptions and such.  Everyone has to deal with certain things in order to move forward. 

                Anna and Etienne were in it!  I was super excited to see that Anna and Lola work together and we get to keep up with some of what is happening with them still, after we left them at the end of senior year in Paris.  They only got together at the very end so clearly we needed more of them.  And we get it, kind of like a where are they now glimpse but nothing from their POV. 

                So not much else I can saw without spoiling it for you.  But Lola and the Boy Next Door is beyond adorable and it has a lot of cuteness, drama, romance, and tension in it.  It was a super quick read and easy to lose yourself in and just find a happy place.  I can't wait to re-read it again when I'm feeling down.  As always share your thoughts in the comments, I love to hear what you think and how I can make my blog better! 

5 Crazy Costumes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

~Ubber cuteness: Anna and the French Kiss!~

                Welcome back.  So if you read my Favorite Books of 2014 post then you may remember that Annaand the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins made the list.  At the time I hadn’t read the two companions, Lola and the Boy Next Door or Isla and the Happily Ever After.  I had been holding off expecting to do one big review of the series after finishing, but now that I have and each story has its own unique story and couple, with some events from the previous ones overlapping I decided they deserve their own reviews.  I’m writing them all together so they should post relatively close together, provided no technical issues.

                Anna is simply adorable.  I could gush over this book, this series really, for hours and not be done.  It centers on Anna, go figure, who is perfectly happy with her life in Atlanta.  She has friends and a crush on someone she works with that is starting to possibly go somewhere.  Then her dad decides to ship her off to boarding school in Paris for her senior year, even if she doesn’t speak any French.  With all that against her Anna still meets some new friends, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, whom she bonds with instantly and is a total catch.  Only he’s taken…and Anna may be as well back home in the states.  With a year of romantic hits and misses how will the year end, in her fairytale French romance or heartache? 

                Aside from being super cute, the characters were so relatable.  Sure they are in Paris, which is a beautiful backdrop full of amazing and colorful things to play off of.  The city is a character in and of itself.  There is still the usual high school type things happening in the story with school, friends, and boy drama.  Being set in a location where the rules and standards on some things are less strict than in the US, i.e. the drinking age, pretty free reign on the campus/dorms for a high school.  Overall students are treated more as adults, or what you would find more on a college campus vs. high school. 

                You watch as the year progresses as Anna deals with everything, but more than that comes into her own and takes charge of her own life.  It’s uplifting to see and can inspire the reader to take a look at things in their own life and how they can take charge instead of having excuses or letting things passively happen to them.  I mean I wasn’t always a fan of Etienne.  He seemed great and he was in parts but he also had some serious flaws that he also had to grow as well.  He seemed to lead one girl on while still with another, and his redeeming quality in that situation was that he wasn’t doing it maliciously.  He’s kind of adorkable that way.  His being far from perfect, despite some perfect aspects of him like being a combo French/English/American, is probably why he won everyone over.  He is good to his friends, and those friends welcome Anna into their group and give her a place to feel welcome in an unfamiliar place. The camaraderie and even tension in the group through the story felt natural.

The original hardcover image,
before the publishers made all
the hardcovers match! Thank you!
Not much else I can say without totally spoiling the book for you and I refuse to do that.  It’s too cute to ruin.  I can’t say it enough, Anna and the French Kiss is ubber adorable.  It made my heart get all flip floppy in the best of ways.  I felt that way will all 3 books honestly.  I don’t read a ton of contemporary books, no particular reason because I do enjoy them so much.  This was such a sweet and fun read.  I have already regulated this series to a special re-read often spot on my shelf and put her as an auto buy author for future works.  If I’m in a slump or just need a break from reading I feel picking up Anna, Lola, or Isla will perk me right up. 

Rating: 5 Canadian Flag Patches!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The DUFF: Book and Movie, who's the DUFF?

                A few weeks ago a new movie came out.  The DUFF started as a book by Kody Keplinger which I read a month before seeing the movie.  I'm going to discuss the book first and then briefly discuss the movie.  I was going to do a book review then do a separate movie review but as I’ve seen the movie and haven’t posted my book review I’ve decided to combine them. 

                The DUFF book is about our cynical, snarky, and loyal lead Bianca.  She isn’t the prettiest of her friends but has never thought about it or cared.  They are a great trio.  Bianca is also to smart to fall for the charms of the schools man whore, Wesley, who sleeps with most of the female population.  In fact, instead of swooning after him, she hates him.  That feeling only intensifies when he calls her “the duff,” which is the: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, of any group.  She has only disgust in her heart and head for this jerk but things at home are spinning out of control and she needs a distraction, and somehow kissing Wesley works.  She’s determined to use him for distraction from her problems the way he uses every other female for his needs, fair is fair.  Besides he’s the perfect distraction because there is no possible way she could ever actually like him.  Until Bianca realizes much to her surprise that he isn’t such a horrible person.

                This was one of those quick reads books.  I took it to work with me and finished it in a shift with time to spare to start another book.  It was fast moving and for me didn’t have any slow parts.  I liked Bianca, even when I didn’t agree with her many times.  She’s screwed up and flawed.  She uses sarcasm as a defense with her quick wit.  She’s the first to call people out on their shit even if sometimes she could be considered a hypocrite.  She has friends she loves and would do anything for but when she needs someone, she pushes them away.  She doesn’t want to burden them with her issues, she feels insecure about everything and who can’t relate to that.  Being confident in yourself is something few people have in spades, especially in high school.  To be told, even by someone you can’t stand, that you’re considered the ugly or fat one of your friends hurts.  Bianca doesn’t want to face her problems so she runs away from them, finds distraction.  Not the healthiest decision in the world. She knows this and acknowledges it but still it’s easier.  Bianca has to reach a point where she is willing to face the truths.
Movie Edition

                The book is from her point of view so we don’t get to see too much of what is going on outside of her.  Our views of her life and friends are from her jaded and cynical view, but when she talks about people she is thinking/speaking to people she cares about her views become a bit more hopeful and bright.  That to me was pivotal.  I don’t know anyone who is only one thing, we’re human, we’re meant to have a million emotions and feelings, and teenagers have them firing off all at once. 

                The relationships in this book fit.  The connection Bianca has with her friends, it seemed so real and true I could see me and my friends there.  Different characters in the book and how she interacts with them, I could see how natural it fell into the story. But my absolute favorite thing in this book is that Bianca doesn’t change.  Don’t get me wrong, she grows as a person throughout the story, but she doesn’t learn she’s the “duff” and decide oh I have to change who I am to not be “the duff.”  She struggles with it sure, but she doesn’t decide that she isn’t good enough as is and needs a makeover.  It was an empowering story about facing things in your life and learning to accept them instead of letting them change how you view yourself. 

                Book Rating: 5 Stars

                Now for the movie.  I had known the book was going to be a movie and saw the trailer when it first came out back in 2014.  I didn’t remember it much, just the faces of Bianca and Wesley really.  I had the book and with the release of the movie coming up I wanted to be ready.  As I read I did question myself thinking the trailer I had seen didn’t seem anything like the beautiful story I was reading, but it had been a while and maybe I had just forgotten.  After finishing the book I re-watched the trailer and it turns out I hadn’t forgotten.  The movie is nothing like the book.

                I’ll put a warning out in advance I’m not a huge fan of the movie.  I waited to do a review for about a week because frankly as I walked out I wanted to give it 0 Star.  I enjoyed the book so much and normally if movies change things, in my experience anyways, at least keep the moral and theme of the book.  This didn’t.  It changed everything on its head and made it some silly RomCom high school Mean Girls story, taking only some names of characters in the book the title.  After thinking it through I realized that had I not read the book, going in I probably would have given the movie a higher rating.  As a movie and not as a book adaptation (there it gets a huge F in my book), objectively I’d give it a 3. 

                The actors who played the characters were good. Mae Whitman, who played Bianca, was a good choice.  The movie changed many of the characters blending back stories, making complex characters fit into even little stereotypes and cutting out the main plot meat and bones, they even added a new character, a total mean girl villain to the plot.  Because the plot of the book wasn’t good enough apparently.  The story is no longer about growing as a person and accepting things but about being told by someone you’re the duff and suddenly getting a makeover!  Because a makeover will change your life.  And if it doesn’t being coached by the failing jock/man whore (because he can’t be smart and a jock and she has to have something to trade for his coaching) will.  Why make everyone a stereotype?  Why not make them complex and tell a more original story.

                My recommendation is going to be a bit of a shock.  If you haven’t picked up the book yet and were wanting to read and watch, watch the movie first.  I think if I had seen the movie first I would have found it a cute and yes cheesy comedy but overall a good time.  Having been expecting something much more, I wasn’t able to really enjoy the humor instead of feeling it mocked the book I enjoyed.  If you have already read the book and enjoyed it then try not to think of it as an adaptation.  Recap:  The Movie was the DUFF of the pair. 

Book: 5 Stars 

Movie: 3 Stars 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Red Queen Fantasy Spy Game

                Hello world.  I am alive and though still on antibiotics, feeling much better.  With the bipolar weather my sinuses got into a hissy fit and caused all sorts of havoc which meant I pretty much slept all the time.  I did some reading to but writing my thoughts down, a bit tricky.  I am coming back at you with another book that came out on Feb 10th, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.  This is a debut novel and wow is it amazing.  And I want to share my thoughts with you. 
                I feel I have to mention first off the cover love.  The beautiful and simple crown inverted and dripping blood.  Simple and beautiful and in real life, vs. the pictures, it's even better with a slight raise to it giving it depth and even some shine.  LOVE.  Now if you're not familiar with the books premise then let me fill you in.  The world is pretty much divided into two types, the Reds, the commoners without power, and the Silvers, the elite and powerful who rule with their godlike powers.  It's blood pure and simple.  If you bleed red or if you bleed silver.  Moment to think about that, how cool would the blood look coming out silver though?  Anywho back to the story, we follow Mare, a red girl almost 18, age of mandatory military conscription without other prospect, and their job market is worse than ours.  She likes in a small and improvised area and feels her life will never change, until by some twist of fate she ends up working in the Silver Palace, surrounded by Silvers she can't stand.  Circumstances being what they are Mare ends up discovering she, despite being a Red, has a deadly power all her own.  This is unheard of and anything can go.  Power is ultimate and what happens in the pursuit of power makes one hell of a story.

                This is a fantasy book filled with things to keep you guessing.  Following along-side our street thief Mare as she goes from gloom and hopelessness to playing a game of power in the Silver Palace.  Mare is a likeable character, she has a rough run of things and she has some issues, but I found myself rooting for her.  I wanted things to move forward and see how they would turn out for Mare and the rest of our cast.  I had some theories, no doubt, about what would happen and was still surprised.  She has a depth to her that leads room to grow as the series continues.  She was a bit rash at times, but even as the book progressed she thought about things a bit more in the overall but she never lost that fast reaction attitude that was clearly hers.  Then moving to the Princes Cal and Mavin.  Step brothers, each with their own attributes.  It was clear to see, from Mare the good and bad of both.  How things come across and how they were intended are many times not the same. 

                Red Queen for me was an enthralling fantasy spy game thriller.  You have the different classes, the Reds vs. the Silvers.  But within the Silvers they have their own power structure.  Silvers might be above Reds but they could still be lower rank in the hierarchy.  The overtone of the Segregation and elitism at play between the Reds and Silvers was well done.  I wanted to be in the fight.  But more than class war, we have people with hard core powers.  The powers are wide and vary from controlling metal, fire, healers, and so many more. 

                I really enjoyed the book and the overall story and look forward to reading more.  I do think some areas were a bit vague.  Less development or explanation on some aspects that could shed light on the backstory.  I don’t feel it subtracted from the overall story though, and the way it was done seems purposeful to me, and only intrigues me further.  Like it will be more important to the next book in the story and flow from the stories arch.  I have a ton of theories about what shall happen.  I mentioned previously that while I was theorizing about the book I was also surprised.  There are twists, some I saw coming, others I should have seen coming but I was so shocked by something else I just didn’t see it.  I give Aveyard’s Red Queen a solid 5 Stars.
                Spoiler Part:  I have to talk about the end!  So don’t cheat or ruin it for yourself. 

                Speaking of twists.  I didn’t see the ending coming.  Okay that’s a lie, I did.  I expected it from the very start and I just knew he would betray them, I was only undecided on the motivation.  If it was the plan along bread out of resentment and duty or if it was more emotional.  Then as it got so close to the end I started to rethink, maybe I was wrong and that maybe that was the real twist.  I started to let my guard down then BAM!  Just like I imagined.  Dang you.  That played with my emotions.  Also while I was so caught up in the expected yet unexpected twist I didn’t even see the other twist with Shade, I suspected at the very start but then I got so wrapped up I honestly forgot about him.  And Lucas!!!  I was totally expecting something to happen but that just blew me away.  One shock right after another at the end.

                END Spoiler Part! 

                I can’t wait for the next book to come out and let me dive back into the world of the Reds and Silvers.  I want to see what becomes of all of our characters.  I feel some serious stuff about to hit the fan.  I also feel more backstory coming, diving deeper into the war and the society and maybe some romance.  As always please share your thoughts and such below.  I’m working on some more reviews to post soon, finished a couple more series and a couple stand-alones.