By: Victoria Aveyard
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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…
Rise, red as the dawn
Towards the end of last year, you couldn’t go on to any YA-related website or twitter without being bombarded with promos for RED QUEEN, and for so long I promised myself that I would wait until after it had come out before I bought it, waiting for reviews to start coming in before I jumped head-first onto the hype-train. When the reviews did start coming, they all seemed so positive, to the point where I decided to wait a little longer so that I wasn’t being influenced by so many good things said about it as I read it. I did actually buy this book way back in April, and as with pretty much every book I’ve reviewed recently, it sat on my shelf while I promised myself I’d read it soon ever since I got it.
I finally did get round to picking it up last week in preparation for going to Victoria Aveyard’s event in my city yesterday–although I ended up not being able to go to that event because it was sold out (and the venue were less than helpful to me when I tried to contact them before it, but that’s another story for another time!). I’ve seen nothing but good things said about the event, so I’m happy that it went well for everyone that was a part of it!
On to the book itself; I gave it a 4 out of 5. After the influx of good reviews, I started to see people saying that they didn’t enjoy it, and I can completely see why. It might not be everyone’s kind of book, because it’s a very unique kind of story. Going in, I don’t know why but I thought it was a full-on fantasy book, and when they started talking about electricity and cars and planes, I got pretty confused. But once I figured out how I was picturing the world, I was completely sucked in, and despite quite an all-over-the-place opening and mega-fast-paced ending that left me having to re-read sections and understand what was happening, I really liked this book. The characters were all interesting, and the premise of the society and the different kinds of blood, really intrigued me.
I’m sort of glad I waited this long to read this book, because now I have less time to wait for the sequel, GLASS SWORD, and even less time to wait for the bind-up of the two novellas–Queen Song and Steel Scars making up CRUEL CROWN–that’s coming out in January!
As always, the rest of this review will be full of spoilers, so don’t read on if you haven’t read this book yet!
Like I said before, this book was sort of a roller-coaster for me. The beginning was so intense and fast and I had no idea what was really going on until I sat down and thought about it, leading to me having so much confusion over what the genre was. I’d never really seen anyone straight-up say what genre it was, so to see fantasy elements mixed with dystopia elements mixed with historical elements really threw me off! Once I grabbed a hold of it though, I found the image of it in my head and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of it. As did I enjoy the idea of Red’s and Silver’s, with the Silver’s being the royals and the elites, with their god-like superpowers.
The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.
Mare’s introduction to the Scarlet Guard and her accidental inclusion in the world of the Silver’s was so much fun to read. Her betrothal to Prince Maven and friendship with Prince Cal leads to some entertaining scenes, but always provide an extra layer of political interest to a novel which 100% benefits from the balance between Mare’s life as a teenager trying to figure out what she is and the political turmoil because of the ongoing war and uprising from the Scarlet Guard. There are so many parts of this book that fit perfectly together to give the entire world an already filled-out feeling, perfectly leading to whatever happens in the sequels.
Throughout the book there was a constantly recurring thought from Mare; Anyone can betray anyone. Every characters had their good and bad points, all of them showed signs of being trustworthy and signs of being the enemy. And so, every time Mare spoke to anyone, I had no idea what to think, no idea if I should believe a word they were saying or if they should be trusted. Although I knew to expect a big betrayal because EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT A BIG BETRAYAL, when it actually happened I was so taken aback. I’d grown to trust, if anyone, Maven. At first when he joined the Scarlet Guard I was hesitant to trust him, but as the book progressed I thought that he really was one of the good guys. So when he and Queen Elara completely turn on Cal and Mare, I was just so completely what?! It was so well written, and so well constructed through the book that I can’t think of much to say about it other than WHAT!?
You better hide that heart of yours, Lady Titanos. It won’t lead you anywhere you want to go.
Then, just a few pages later when it’s revealed that Shade–Mare’s brother who was ‘executed’–is actually still alive and still working with the Scarlet Guard, I completely lost it. So many twists towards the end of this book give it such a fast-paced ending that I’m still not entirely sure I completely understand, but an awesome way.
I’m so excited to see what’s in store next for Mare, Cal, the Scarlet Guard, and Shade! The foundations laid by this first book open up so many opportunities for the future of the series, and I’ll definitely be reading the novellas and GLASS SWORD as soon as they come out. If it weren’t for the confusing beginning and the quick ending, this book would be a definite 5/5 for me. But in spite of that, I definitely really enjoyed RED QUEEN.
Quick Bonus Section:
Can we all just take a moment to stop and look at how insanely fantastic the covers are for all of Victoria Aveyard’s books? Like, seriously, A++ to the designer of all of these!