Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

About the book:
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood -- those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own -- an ability she didn’t know she had. Except … her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard -- the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince -- and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart, and the only certainty is betrayal.

My thoughts:
First, let’s get the comparisons to Hunger Games out of the way. In both books, deadly games are played to amuse the upper class. The story revolves around a teenage girl who is from the oppressed people. Both girls have a male friend and families they seek to protect, including a younger, more lovable sister. And both girls are destined to become the lightning rod of the rebellion, the only hope for bringing down the ruling royalty.

But the differences between the two books -- and the excellent writing by Victoria Aveyard -- make this story fresh. In Red Queen, members of the ruling class actually have superpowers. Many can control the elements, like fire or water. Others have mental powers and can control minds. Some can bend metal or have super strength. They all train to be warriors to keep their powers strong so they can continue to control the lowly Reds, who have no powers and are only allowed to exist to serve the Silvers.

But, like all oppressed, the Reds will eventually risk their lives in the hopes of gaining their freedom. I must admit that I guessed the twist at the end of the book (no spoilers here), but the way the events unfolded kept me turning the pages. Red Queen ended with a bang and a small victory, but many unresolved plot points will surely receive more attention in the next book. I can’t wait!

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

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