Title: Red Queen
Series: Red Queen, #1
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Length: 383 pages | 12 hours 42 minutes
Source: Won from Allyson of Just Us Book Blog
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.
Red Queen is everything I want in a Young Adult Fantasy novel: intelligent, imaginative, fast-paced, with shades of real world conflict and steamy, believable romance. A few times it strayed into possible trope territory, but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did, as it went the best place it could go. And that ending! So very cliffhanger, I am itching to pick up the next book.
I’ve read other books that attempted to address class war in a fantasy setting, and have come across as shallow and trite. But Red Queen definitely nails it. The Reds are suffering, cruelly and needlessly. The Silvers clearly view them as sub-people, and are caught up in their own machinations and fear to the point of losing the capability of sympathy. No individual in this book is a mustache-twirling villain, neither are any a Dudley Doright hero. Moral choices, intelligent choices, popular choices, devious choices- every character is defined by what they choose to do. And colored a bit by the expectations and desires of the character interpreting their actions (Mare).
The romance surprised me as entirely believable. Usually I find romances, especially in YA, to be overdramatic, implausible, or predictable. This had the air of real chemistry. And I actually liked the romantic interest. Er, interests. But it works out, I promise, in the best possible way.
I recommend it for fans of YA fantasy.