Thursday, 16 June 2016

I've read this a hundred times before... Ugh | Beyond the Red

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Published: March 1st 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Genre: young adult, science-fiction

Goodreads summary: A story of betrayal, love, and loss—all on a technologically advanced alien planet where monarchy reigns, but lies rule.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. But that doesn’t stop him from defending his people—at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He is given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.


So, you've read the synopsis of the book just now, I guess. Then, my friends, I'm sorry to tell you that you've been spoiled for the whole plot of the book. 'What the heck??', you will tell me. The main characters are only forced to flee 58% into the book, so I can't understand how an editor could put that in the summary. The same goes for the genocide, a twist at the end of the book. In fact, it's a good thing I didn't pay too much attention to the summary, because I didn't know this would happen.

My problem with this book is that… There was literally nothing new. Everything was pretty generic and had been in hundred books before. In fact, if I hadn't known Beyond the Red was set on another planet, I would have guessed it was another generic fantasy novel. Royals were ruling, there were arranged marriages, a ball, a rebellion, a forbidden romance between the queen and a guard and *gasps* a long-lost royal. Sounds similar?

It's so sad, because the book was off to a good start, with a crazy first chapter where the author wasn't scared of killing her characters. The beginning was good, introduced us to a scary monarchy where the slaves were completely stripped off their identity and looked all the same. But well, after that it got downhill, with a powerless Kora who was supposed to be queen and a plot that dragged… Until 58% in, when there was finally this murder attempt. The ending was okay I guess, it got interesting again but I had stopped caring at that point. Moreover, be warned that even though this book is a standalone, it’s clearly not. Beyond the Red is supposed to be part of a series, but it depends on how it sells I guess…

I’m a bit sceptical about the world-building in this one, because while it was explained humans came to this planet at some point, I never got to know what happened. Moreover, Kora’s city was pretty unhappy about her being on the throne, so here we go for another sexist world and the city needed help, but I never understood why. There was a problem but the author never said what it was so I couldn’t understand. I like that the characters went to several locations though, because we also saw the rebel camp and another city. In fact, I think I was waiting for more sci-fi elements, but it just felt like a fantasy book with royalty, which was pretty weird.

I never managed to connect with the characters, because once again, they felt pretty generic. I was so mad that Kora was so badass but no one cared about her or obey her. I understand everyone was sexist here, but she was still their queen, right? It felt like no one considered her as such, but yet she hadn’t been overthrown, so it didn’t make sense. She was so powerless, except for helping Eros, obviously. *eye roll* Eros was a half-blood, from a human and an alien, so of course he wasn’t accepted by society and blah, blah, blah. Of course he was a warrior and a rebel but still helped Kora. If you can’t say, I’m deeply annoyed. Also, can I laugh at how their positions were similar when Kora was supposed to be queen? At least, this book got a bonus point for the diversity of the characters, as everyone was dark-skinned and there were some gay characters.

Of course, this book had a forbidden romance between Kora and Eros, or it wouldn’t have been completely cliché, right? I truly understood how the author built her romance up, even though I don’t know if I would have been able to fall in love with someone who ordered my family murdered, but that’s what a tragedy is anyway. Because Kora had to marry, a love triangle was blooming, but the author conveniently ended it off (it’s not like the other character had a chance anyway). I’m all sarcastic because this romance was something I read hundred times before, but, something actually bothered me. At some point, Kora is on her own and men are attempting to rape her. She’s rescued by her love interest… And they start making out. I don’t understand how a woman who was almost raped minutes ago could want to be so ardently with a man right after??? I was so pissed after that; you have no idea…

Overall, I strongly disliked this book. I was looking forward to a sci-fi novel when it just felt like other fantasy novels. Everything was cliché, had been used for years in YA books and the plot was basically spoiled by the summary (that’s new!). I advise you to skip this one, it was a complete waste of time, in my opinion, as it had so little redeeming qualities.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you have YA sci-fi books recommendations (I've read the most popular ones)?


  1. I was really interested seeing how it takes place in an alien planet. Well, if you didnt like it much, I guess I should just pass.

    1. That aspect was pretty disappointing, so I'll keep looking for books taking place in an alien planet... At least I warned you! :)

  2. It is unfortunate that you did not enjoy this book. I can see why all these things would bother you. I don't read much sci-fi in general because I don't often feel compelled to read them. Good review.
    Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies

    1. I don't read that much sci-fi in general but I read some great ones at the beginning of the year (Illuminae, Starflight, Stitching Snow), so I wanted to read more books in that genre. But well, obviously this one didn't work out... :/
      Thanks Chioma!

  3. Ugh I'm so sad it didnt work out for you! I know I was actually getting really interested after reading that awesome synopsis... it's a pity to hear that the book didn't live up to it's synopsis! 😥

    1. Well, as the synopsis just spoiled the whole book, it was completely disappointing. I was also very excited to read the book after reading the synopsis. I neeeed alien books I will love! :)

  4. Ugh yeah I felt the exact same way as you. I was more upset over the fact that everything was focused on romance, and appearances. And YES the entire plot was spoiled in that blurb. I seriously thought that the attempted assassination would happen right in the beginning. But nope.

    1. In fact, for the romance, it almost felt like this paranormal books written eight or ten years ago where it was all about the romance. I really don't enjoy this kind of books anymore... Everyone was so racist with this one and it also drove me crazy. I don't see a point to read a book where I know the whole plot in advance, because hey, no surprise here! But well, there are better books out there! :)