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Untitled - Victoria Aveyard I'm trying to figure out what to rate this one. It was trying so hard to be the next Hunger Games or the next Divergent. In both of those series the main characters suffered severe psychological damage after all of pain and war the went through, and so Victoria Aveyard makes Mare suffer severe psychological damage. The problem is that I don't quite know what Mare went through to make her this bad. I mean, the stuff in the arena at the end of book one was bad, but nothing compared with what Katniss and Tris suffered. Katniss was put in an arena and told to fight to death twice, and then she was practically forced to be the Mockingjay and lead a war effort, and watched her friends and family suffer and die. Tris lost both her parents in less then twenty-four hours, and basically lost her brother too. I would certainly understand if Mare had PTSD, but she is basically turning into a villain. At one point she calls Cal a hypocrite because he values silver lives above red lives (even though he was raised in that attitude and is obviously learning to value red lives just as much as silver ones, albeit slowly.) Yet Mare values red lives far above silver ones, and values newbloods even more than she values red, making her even more of a hypocrite than Cal. She was so self-centered that she continually forgets about her entire family except Shade, her favorite brother, and fellow newblood.

I thought that Kilorn had the potential to get more interesting in this book, and I thought that he and Mare might actually work well romantically, but those hopes were dashed. Mare is just so psycho that I don't think she would work well romantically with anyone (and Kilorn probably deserves better.) As for Kilorn getting more interesting... Well, he's still one of the most interesting characters in this series, but he did not get any more interesting than he was in the first book.

What surprised me is how interesting Shade and Farley ended up being. I didn't expect that at all. Unfortunately, things happened in this book. Shade died and, while I'm glad Farley is (most likely) pregnant with his child, that means that she will likely take a backseat role in the next book. To be honest, I am quite disappointed in the fact that Shade died. When there are really only three interesting characters in a series, it's a pretty big deal when one of those three is killed off. Especially because, now that I think about it, the reason I thought Shade and Farley interesting had more to do with the novella from Farley's point of view than with this book, so, lame. There I would have liked to see Shade's reaction to Farley's pregnancy, and we were robbed of that. We were robbed of most of their relationship, in fact, since Mare was too self-centered to notice until right before Shade died.

There were no other interesting characters. Even Cameron, who was clearly supposed to be interesting, was just the typical gifted but stubborn, snotty teenager who has potential to turn villainous with her special powers and desire for vengeance. Maybe she and Maven will get together.

I truly don't know how Mare ended up a psychopath. She killed unarmed people begging for mercy. If a silver had done the same thing to reds, she would call them a monster, but she thinks that she is allowed to do whatever she wants. And I'm sorry, no matter how important you might think you are for a rebellion, any character who keeps going on about how their running ahead to make sure they survive is justified because the rebellion "needs" them is automatically an unpleasant, self-centered, egotistical and unlikeable. I have never run into a character who thought like that. Katniss was fully aware that she was one of the most important people for the rebellion in Panem, but not once did she think that she needed to live more than Prim or Gale or even Peeta, just because of that. Harry Potter was willing to sacrifice his life to save others even in the first book. Even Tris, who is not one of my favorite characters, was willing to sacrifice herself to save her comrades. It's obvious that Aveyard was trying to make 'little lightning girl' and 'red queen' into the new version of 'the Mockingjay,' but sadly it didn't really work. When the creepy twin guys asked Mare to come with them to their kingdom, she asked them if they'd exchange silver masters for newbloods, but that question was out of character for her, because it seems to me that she would just love to be the all-powerful lightning queen. She even refers to herself as the red queen. She craves power. She has turned into a villain.

The scene at the end happened too fast, and it felt completely forced. I thought that the writing seemed far too cinematic. Mare was also completely out of character. She gave herself up to save the others? Yeah, sure. Because Maven is really going to release her captured friends just because she says she won't fight. He had all of them under his control, he is not going to let them go just because Mare said to. It felt more like Mare wanted to look like she was a self-sacrificing hero then she actually wanted to be one. She knew Maven wouldn't let anyone go, so she decided to pretend to be brave and give herself up so that she would look selfless. Or, that's what it felt like to me at any rate.

I will probably read the next book, but mostly because Victoria Aveyard's writing style is good (except for when she's writing a scene just because she knows it will look good in a movie,) and because the audiobook reader is good. Honestly if I weren't reading these books via audiobook I don't think I could have finished them. Hopefully we will see some more of the slightly more interesting characters, and hopefully they will continue to get more interesting. And hopefully the boring, creepy characters will get more interesting as well. Though if there's more than just one book left in the series and neither the plot, nor the characters get more interesting, I might just have to quit.