(Pin says ‘Make way for the princess’, which is a present my sister got me ages ago! I thought it was quite fitting with this book…)
Genre: Fantasy-Dystopia, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10th February 2015
My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
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.
Let’s start off by saying I loved this book! It’s actually one of my favourite books of 2016 so far! I really liked the sound of the premise – two races of people, with two different blood types facing an unfair hierarchy. But it isn’t just the colour of their blood that makes them different from each other – it’s that one of them possesses deadly abilities.
That race is the Silvers – they run the world. They treat the Reds like they are the scum of the Earth, and have almost made them their slaves. This is how it’s been for a long time, and how the Silvers want it to stay. Until Mare Barrow, our main character, comes around and starts causing trouble.
Yeah, it’s not so easy to put Mare into just one category. As it turns out, Mare has lived a Reds life, was born a Red, and still bleeds red…but she isn’t a Red. Or at least, not fully. She has powers, and that turns out to be a big problem for the Silver royals.
‘The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.’
We need to talk about Mare. I really liked her as a character! She didn’t feel…typical. She actually wanted to stand up for something, and didn’t care what it cost her (please Gods do not compare her to Katniss – I beg of you!). I also loved her attitude – the girl has sass! I personally think that if a book has at least one sassy character, it can’t go too wrong.
Our other characters were awesome too! But I’m not going to lie: I don’t love Cal. I don’t hate him either, though. The first Cal we meet, I adore! However, I just didn’t really feel a…spark. He felt false, and emotionless, but after some reflection upon finishing the book, maybe he was supposed to come across this way. Maybe this was what Aveyard was trying to achieve, and she has some other surprise up her sleeve in Glass Sword!
Maven, on the other hand, I loved! He totally won me over, and yes, sure, (slight spoiler here!) there was a moment where his feelings towards Mare felt a bit rushed, but I didn’t really mind. I just liked him even more for supporting her when she needed it! (End of spoiler!)
‘People who are not useful, people who make mistakes, they can be removed. You can be removed.’
Okay, so I know I said not to compare Mare to Katniss, and I meant it. However, I feel it’s necessary to note the similarities between Red Queen and The Hunger Games. I passionately hate comparing anything to The Hunger Games – everyone thinks Suzanne Collins (and this is not through any fault of the author herself) created the dystopia genre, and well, she didn’t. Not even by a long shot. Sure, she wrote a really successful series in that genre, but she wasn’t the first, and she certainly won’t be the last.
Anyway, I was a bit skeptical when I saw that on the actual book cover, a reviewer had said it was a mix of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Selection. Like, how many times have I heard a book compared to The Hunger Games? To Divergent? (Not so much The Selection, though.) Literally any fictional YA non-contemporary book that becomes popular.
However, as I got deeper into the book, I found myself completely and utterly astounded to find that I actually understood what this person was on about – whether it was because of all of the arena talk, or just some underlying tone, I was getting a slight Hunger Games vibe from this book.
‘Revolution needs a spark…And even sparks burn.’
But it was…better. It was like Victoria Aveyard had taken the essence of everything good that came from The Hunger Games trilogy and Divergent, and mixed it in to her already amazing world.
Now we really need to talk about that ending. Why, dear author, did you do that? Was that really necessary? Did it make you feel happy to break my heart? And my gods, did my heart break. If there is only one way I’m allowed to describe this book, I’ll say this: plot twist out of freaking nowhere.
The ending completely shocked me. I was in no way prepared for what happened! You see, at the very beginning, I was distrustful. I had a bad feeling. But that feeling soon melted away, and left me feeling so secure in who I put my trust in, that when the thing happened, I was shocked but amazed at the same time, because how could this be happening and how could I have been kept in the dark like that? How could I have been tricked?
I can’t praise our author enough! The writing, though I was worried about it being present tense at first, was wonderful, and the story itself was out of this world! If you like your books Young Adult fantasy/dystopia with a stunning plot twist, you’re going to want to read this book!