by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published on February 10th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
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Also by this author: Red Queen, Red Queen
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
First let me say that I read Red Queen back in September. Being the knucklehead that I am, I didn’t review it before now, which makes wiring this review much harder than it ought to be, but has not, in any way, diminished its awesomeness. Also, let me tell you that I read Red Queen before I read Red Rising. I love both books for different reasons and although they have very few things in common, they are amazing in their own right and I don’t aim to compare both.
The world is ruled by Silvers. They have silver blood and different superpowers. These differences make them god-like rulers over the Reds, who have red blood and no powers. They are brutal masters and use the Reds very badly for all menial labor, as servants and as soldiers.
“All are tall and beautiful and cold, moving with a slow grace no Red can claim. We simply don’t have the time to move that way.”
Mare is such a great heroine. She’s a thief that is approaching her 17th birthday, when she needs to either have an apprenticeship or sign up for the military. That’s what Mare plans to do, until things go south with her best friend. Due to said mess, she ends up working at the palace where it is discovered that she has superpowers too. In order to control the confusion this would cause, Mare is passed as a lost princess and engaged to Maven, the second son of the king. With me so far? As I was saying, Mare is constantly afraid, but has more sense that to show it. She’s loyal to the Reds and her family, devious, a skilled liar and she has sharp survival instincts.
“You are also something else. Something I cannot fathom. You are Red and Silver both, a peculiarity with deadly consequences you cannot understand.”
There is a big host of characters here, but the princes are the ones to remember. Cal is the heir of the throne and has been raised to be a king. Maven is Cal’s half-brother and is gentler and relies more on his brain. Contrary to what you might think (or heard), there is no love triangle. We know who Mare is falling in love with, and we know that her “relationship” with Maven is forced and more friendship than anything else. Actually, the romance overall was lacking and lackluster, but I have high hopes for the next book.
“Cal and Maven are deadly creatures, soldiers. But their battle isn’t just on the lines. It’s here, in a palace, on the broadcasts, in the heart of every person they rule. They will rule, not just by right of a crown, but by might. Strength and power. It’s all the Silvers respect, and it’s all it takes to keep the rest of us slaves.”
The world building is essential when writing fantasy and I think Aveyard did an amazing job. She captured the spirit of the rebellion, the desperation of war, the desolation of slavery, the grandeur of the palace and the brutality of the Silver. I had my suspicions about the bad guy, but the way it all went down was amazing. The writing is fluid, insightful and easy to read. The ending was great and not a cliffhanger.
“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”
Overall, Red Queen was an amazing story of survival, growth, friendship, betrayal, the bonds of family, oppression and the will to reach for more. I cannot wait for the yet unnamed book #2.