Published: February 10th, 2015 by HarperTeen
//Goodreads//The Book Depository//Indiebound//
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?I had to think long and hard before deciding how I feel about this book, and even now, I'm still not entirely sure if I loved it or not.
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.
Red Queen is not a very unique book. As many have stated, it has several obvious elements from other YA dystopians. I was able to get over this fairly easily, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't. I very much liked the idea of being separated by blood color, though, and stark contrast between the way Reds and Silvers live easily parallels our own world.
The romance was by far the weakest part for me. I see it as rectangular, (though that changes by the end of the book) and I don't feel the chemistry with any of them. It felt like a huge waste of my time and I struggled not to skim these parts. I do appreciate that Mare never gets extremely lovey-dovey, so to speak, but that's honestly the only upside in the romance aspect. I think it's quite obvious what direction it will go in the future, with Kilorn making some grand revelation or gesture (possibly sacrificing his life for Mare? I could totally see this happening. Not that I want it to. But it feels authentic to the story so far for me), but of course Mare will fall in love with Cal. If this isn't how it turns out, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
"Their methods are your own fault. You make us work, you make us bleed, you make us die for your wars and factories and the little comforts you don't even notice, all because we are different. How can you expect us to let that stand?"
Aveyard certainly knows how to write a fight scene. There were plenty of them, and I found these to be the most exciting parts. Described in vivid detail, I never struggled to understand what was happening or to imagine it myself. Her writing conjures images of sparks and twisted metal, shining silver blood, Mare's fear and rage and cold acceptance whenever she's put in the ring and forced to battle against Silvers who have been trained to use their abilities for years. I can only imagine what's in store for the rest of the series.
"You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won't lead you anywhere you want to go."
"You can talk your people back into their chains."