Title: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.
I first purchased Red Queen when it was released so there was so much hype surrounding it, whilst I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner I have to say I am grateful I waited. I read a ton of reviews after finishing this and I think a lot of people were caught up in the hype of its first release, evidence of this was the many revised reviews from days, weeks or months later. For me I went in not having even read the back of the book, it was the cover that drew me in. I went in blind and it was above and beyond my expectations. I was thinking hmm Queen? Perhaps this is a historical history type of book? I never expected it be a fantasy with the different elements of magic.
As mentioned above, I went in blind to Red Queen and because of that I was blown away by what the book was actually about. I never expected a fantasy setting where Reds and Silvers were separated, the war or the powers the Silver’s held.
There is so much going on in this book and it entices so many questions from you as a Reader as the story progresses. I don’t want to be a spoiler sue so I shall be as cryptic as possible but Mare has a power within herself and you question where that comes from and how she could use it. It’s a real journey for Mare as she attempts to establish her new self and try to fit into this new world as she is simultaneously stuck between both this new world and her old world .
Whilst Mare is on a journey within herself there is also a number of other plot points running alongside this one from an actual war to a war and rebellion on the class system which sees the Red’s stamped on by the Silvers.
I really felt like there was so much going on in terms of action but that action also brought mystery along with it as you never know who can be trusted.
One of my favourite bits of the book which isn’t a big spoiler is how we are able to see some training each of the Silvers and Mare takes. I found this bit really interesting and I liked seeing how they learn to control their powers and the effort they put in. The War is very much a big theme in this book and throughout it is hammered home that training to fight in the war or where the threat is, is something very important.
Mare is our main protagonist in Red Queen and I loved her so much. I thought she was funny, witty, strong and the right balance of emotional as she tried to navigate around this new role. I’m so glad the book is written in her perspective.
I didn’t have any characters which I hated other than the ones you are expected to hate which is so good because usually I find one person in a book where i’m like “ugh. please leave”. Evangeline is a character who is Mare’s enemy in a sense, she makes it clear she doesn’t like Mare and Mare doesn’t like her. The bantering back and forth between these two adds a sense of comedic relief of sorts. The plot is very tense in places so as they snipe back and forth it’s a nice relief from that tension.
Now this book has a Love Triangle. For those who hate them WAIT. I promise it isn’t like usual love triangles. The love triangle is due to the plot so without revealing too much Mare is thrown into this new world so with that she is now placed with a man she doesn’t really want to be with. The story navigates through this as she tries to deal with what her new life is becoming and the attention of these men. The Love triangle is also ended in the first book by a shocking betrayal.
Honestly from the beginning Cal and Mare was a OTP for me, I love Cal. Together they seem to compliment each other so well and she keeps him on his toes with her witty remarks and comebacks.
Victoria Aveyard’s world building is beautifully exquisite. The contrast of the conditions the Red’s live and work in next to the Silvers and the Palace, work together really well so you can see the separation between the two. The separation is so deep even down to the colour of their blood, Red’s bleed red and Silver’s bleed Silver (seems obvious with the names doesn’t it.)
The Reds are the citizens which are treated appallingly and as the story progresses we are able to learn more about the executions, punishments and their fight for survival. Like many dystopian type books there is of course the ruling race proceeding over what they deem as the lower race. In some of the reviews I read they mentioned how it seemed alot like other books but for me it was different, I love dystopia’s and whilst one moment which reminded me of The Hunger Games. Ultimately it felt different with its incorporation of the powers the Silver’s held. It felt well done.
The moment which sticks with me that reminds me of The Hunger Games was when the King’s court is travelling down the river and the Red’s are forced to stand on the banks and watch the boat, if they don’t stand in line they are whipped. This moment really reminded me of The Hunger Games and the districts being forced to watch the Capitol or they would be punished. This is a moment which makes you as a reader, realise how little power the Reds have over their lives.
Red Queen was a 5 star read for me. I was lost in the world completely so soon after picking it up and I couldn’t put it down. I found I loved the characters especially Mare and Cal, I even like to hate the characters I am meant to hate. For me this book is definitely worth a 5 star rating, for all of the above reasons but also I’m already dying to pick up the next book in the series to see what happens next. Additionally to this, I also found the pacing of the book to be perfect. Nothing was too fast and it was detailed and descriptive just the perfect amount so it didn’t over load your senses with so much that was going on at once.
Red Queen is truly a book filled with tension, action and mystery. I really hope the series continues to be on the same level.
Let me know in the comments if you have read this book or the series before and what you think! Or are you going to be adding it to your TBR?