Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction, YA, Dystopian
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except…her blood is Red.
To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.
Ok, when I first picked up this book I was a little skeptical. It sounded like a typical YA book, almost as if the writer was trying to give us something similar to The Lunar Chronicles. Where the Lunars are feared because of their ability to control others with their powers. Likewise the Silvers are feared for their abilities. However! I was thrown for a bit of a loop when I realized that Silvers have individual abilities. Not to mention Mare and her unique ability………and there was so much betrayal!
I personally wasn’t a fan of the the beginning of the book, it was a tad slow. Which is understandable I suppose as the writer has to introduce us to the world she built so that we’ll better understand what we’re reading. (Especially those of us who knew nothing more about the story than what the back cover told us). From the moment you open the book to the first chapter you’re diving into a world where aristocracy promotes oppression. The Reds, a lower class of citizenry, are ruled by the Silver Monarchs and their court. Silvers have great abilities, each different to their houses, ranging from telekinesis to mind control to controlling anything metal like Magneto. Most of the Silvers in the court are obnoxious of course except the two princes. Cal, the heir to the throne, is very strong willed and the apple of his fathers eye. With a similar outlook as to why the Reds need to be controlled. Maven, the second prince, is in the favor of his mother the Queen. Both have great affections our protagonist. Ohhh love triangles.
Our main Red character Mare is, in my honest opinion, selfish and manipulating. Also she is very proud……and sometimes quite annoying. There were many times where Mare used her charm to get the help she needed from both brothers. Which, given the obvious love triangle, they were all too happy to give. For the most part this was justified as she was seeking a way to be helpful to the rebellion. Other times she put a single persons needs before anyone else’s, even the new friends she made amongst the Silvers. BUT, I did admire her tenacity. Unlike other female protagonists she wasn’t at all afraid to fight back. And she was smart. Bidding her time when she could and she chose her fights well. That is, she knew who she could take on and who would whoop her butt. It was very very refreshing to see a character like her. So many books I’ve read where the lead female is built up to be strong and heroic, only to be let down by their whining and well……..stupidity! Compared to Mare they’re just wimpy.
All in all I believe Miss Aveyard did a fantastic job. The characters, I felt were well designed. Although I didn’t feel any distinct connection with one of them in this first installment, I have a feeling that will change. Again not a huge fan of the first few chapter. I just think our first meeting of Mare could have been in a better location. It took quite some time for me to picture it and I didn’t like the imagery. Once I got more into the book it became really easy to place myself in their world and I was engulfed in the story. This book definitely made it hard to put down and take up my usual responsibilities. Unlike average YA books where it feels as though you’re on a constant loopy roller coaster, this book felt as if the roller coaster just broke down…….mid loop! I felt as if I were hanging upside down waiting for the ride to right itself and coast to a stop. I just couldn’t handle anymore betrayal and plot twists!
Hands down a 5/5 star, highly recommend picking up this book. Especially if you’re a fan of The Lunar Chronicles. I was in a huge fantasy slump after finishing the fourth book in that series and nothing I read was getting me out of it. Victoria Aveyard clearly knew exactly what I needed. Can not wait to pick up Glass Sword!