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 finally read Victoria Aveyard’s debut, Red Queen and it was awesome! I had heard a slew of mixed reviews; comparisons to Red Rising, which I never read, so I wasn’t seeing what those readers saw. It was a pretty intriguing and unique read for me in that sense. And I quite enjoyed it, even if I sometimes got lost a bit with all the politics.
Red Queen is one of those interesting mashes of dystopian and fantasy. In which, you have a world setting that is set in the distant future, yet takes on a lot of the past like qualities, such as architecture, dress, and just overall ways of royalty and peasants. There’s also a great segregation between reds and silvers, which basically denotes what blood type you have. The reds are your everyday kind of people where your silvers are ones who have special powers. And those powers range in all sorts of different abilities.
Mare is a red, and a thief. She never had any special talents like her sister, and her brothers are fighting in the war, which is soon to be Mare’s fate, for if you don’t have a job in this society, you fight in the war,
Through a chance of fate, instead of running away with the Scarlet Guard with her friend, Kilorn, she’s given a job at the palace. And then it’s soon proven that she has silver abilities that no red should have. Thus begins, a tale of politics, fantasy, and oh so much more.
I feel like I might be short-changing you on some of the finer details of the plot, but I don’t want to tell the whole story for you. Though it does take some time for Mare to make it to the palace and that’s when things truly begin to get interesting, as Mare finds herself working for the Scarlet Guard in order to make the world a better place for the reds. But naturally, nothing is ever easy for our heroine.
There’s quite the love predicament going on as well. First, we see some possible feelings going on between her and Kilorn, but then he kind of steps out of the picture for awhile. Then our focus becomes on the love triangle Mare finds herself in with her newly betrothed, Maven, and Cal, the prince who basically got her the job at the palace and slowly slipped his way into her heart. Yeah, they're brothers; half, but same thing really when you are raised together! It truly was challenging to figure out who to root for. At first, I liked Cal, because he was the one who saw Mare for being more than just a thief and a red, but then Maven really warms up to you after coming off a bit cold in the beginning. It's a predicament for sure! And then to shake things up a bit, Kilorn pops in every now and then and you just know he might be there in this love mess in a future book.
I will admit, the pacing was a bit slow to this one, but in a way, that worked for this book. There's quite a bit of world-building to see and have done. It's a very different time we're dealing with. And when things start to form a clear direction for resolution, well, that's when things get even more dicey.
I enjoyed watching Mare's character develop. She starts off being a bit of brute in some ways, always stealing, but she does do it just to provide for her family. She's a tough character to like in someways, but she does start to grow on me as the story progresses. I never tire of that trope of seeing the average, noting girl become something more. I could relate to that in my own youth and I just wish I had more books like this to read back then. But then again, my grades might have suffered a bit because I would be reading instead of studying! LOL!
Red Queen was a fantastical kind of read blending genres and still sweeping you away with its magic! I love the feeling, even if it's a bit disconcerting to begin with, I soon just got into it right away once I caught on to the blend! Mare is the kind of heroine I love reading about and I am going to look forward to her journey to come, because like with all new reads these days, it ends with a pretty interesting cliffhanger. One that was surprising, but yet, doesn't leave you screaming and dying for more. Granted, I still want more! Very much so! But I will just patiently simmer in wait instead of screaming in agony! Which is a nice change of pace, if I do say so myself!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars