Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
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?
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard took over my world for about 24 hours and I felt completely bereft when I finished reading. Aveyard’s debut novel (is this her debut? It’s really good) was one that completely blinded the real world around me. The Red Queen is a Young Adult fantasy read that has all the elements of a really good book. And better yet, it has everything it needs to start what I believe will be a fantastic series. Yes, I said series. Now don’t go running away just yet. Let me tell you why you should read this and why you should read it now.
I usually will wait until all the books in a series have released before I begin reading it, but something about Red Queen tested my patience. It might’ve been the cover, it might’ve been the movie news, or it might’ve been the peer pressure from my bookish friends (which I’m passing along to you). Who knows? The point is that I didn’t wait and I don’t regret it. This book was a fantastic, fast-paced, energetic ride, and I honestly think that anyone would like it – even those who don’t like fantasy.
Red Queen opens with a stark image of a dystopian world sometime in the future. Mare is a pickpocket who steals to provide for her family. She’s resourceful and she’ll do anything to protect the people she loves. At the start, it felt pretty similar to other dystopian YAs out there (particularly The Hunger Games), but this one was more fantastical with the Silvers’s supernatural powers, and as the story expanded, Red Queen showed its identity. And even with it’s typical dystopian structure, the opening 15% was seriously entertaining, with the backstory woven in seamlessly (none of that boring world building).
What made this book so special to me was its emotional pull as well its compelling intrigue. I was emotionally invested from the very beginning. There was a palpable hopelessness and sadness in the beginning when I met Mare and saw the segregated world that she lived in. I immediately became attached. And it became even harder to pull away when the story unfolded and each new character was introduced and more secrets were revealed. I felt as if it was my story, my life, and everything that happened to Mare happened to me too.
I won’t reveal too much of the plot (the synopsis is enough) because, as cliché as it sounds, this really is a book that you need to go into blind. Red Queen is a marvel of political intrigue, heart-pounding action, suspense, and angst. There’s romance, but I wouldn’t classify this as a romance since that part of the story was insignificant when everything was said and done. Well, maybe not insignificant, but I didn’t think it was the major theme.
Red Queen is a book that turned my mind over and that’s what made it so good. As I mentioned, this is the opening of a series, and of course there’s much more of the story to be told, but I was satisfied with the ending. Without spoiling too much, I can say that you won’t want to kill the author when you’re done reading.
Fans of The Hunger Games and A Court of Thorns and Roses will love Mare’s fire, and fans of the X-Men will enjoy the world that Victoria Aveyard built. If you love stories filled with secret agendas and enjoy not knowing which characters to trust, then you’ll love this. If you love roller coaster rides with complex characters then you’ll love this. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book, and come back and talk to me about it.