Blurb: Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play 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 everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. (Goodreads)
Thoughts: Red Queen was quite an enjoyable read for me. It has strong characters that help push the story along and the story itself is very compelling and interesting to read. At times, the world development did feel lackluster, but Aveyard’s writing style still created beautiful images of her dystopian world.
Our protagonist, Mare Barrow was quite a powerful lead. We see Mare fall (do you get it? Do ya?) into this world that she has no desire to be in and because of this, the truth of how the society is actually run threatens to come out. Watching Mare struggle to fit in with the Silvers was almost heart-wrenching because you can clearly tell how much she misses her family and how she desires to have no part with the Silvers but yet she is intrigued by their world and uses that advantage for herself. Her development was very elegantly done, as she grows to control her power and isn’t afraid to use it. Not only was her character growth strong, but how her relationships with others like Cal, Maven, Kilorn, Gisa, and Elara were well done. I also love how the King/Queen split the society, by the color of people’s blood. It was an interesting twist on a type of book I read a lot of.
I know most people don’t like love triangles because they’re overdone and get quite annoying, but this one was very fleshed out. I liked noticing how my personal choice seemed to shift throughout reading because I definitely like Cal more at first. Even though I was always unsure about Maven, I grew to like him, but then stuff (no spoilers!) happens and I felt myself waning towards Cal again. However, both princes were unique in their own way, which was a nice change, rather then both of them being perfect and the girl is unsure.
Wrapping up the non-spoilery bit, if you’re in the mood for a fantasy novel that has plenty of action but still some mystery and politics built in, this would be a good pick for you. I also want to out point out that this novel has been getting several bad review due to similarities to other novels. Yes, I agree, the novel has several parallels to other books I’ve read, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is still a good novel and it deserves to be read on its own and not to be constantly compared to others. After all, there is only so much an author can do in the “YA dystopian with a rebellion against the king/queen” novel.
THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
That ending. I knew the entire book there was something up with Maven. As Mare so elegantly puts it,
“He was too perfect, too brave, too kind. He turned his back on his own to join the Guard. He pushed me at Cal. He gave me exactly what I wanted, and it made me blind.” p339
Aveyard did an excellent job of setting up a plot for the next books in this trilogy and I’m excited to see where this series will go. I’m curious how the Scarlet Guard will play out and if Farley will be able to find the rest of the people like Mare (I hope they get a name) before the Queen and Maven get to them. Also, Maven is such a jerk, I can’t believe he would do something like that to his own brother, especially after we see how dedicated to her own brothers Mare is. Oh and Shade never died? I honestly didn’t see that one coming.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I think it was the perfect book to kickstart my reading for the month of March and for finally pulling me out of this slump I’ve been in. I highly recommend picking it up if it something that piques your interest.