Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Book One of the Red Queen series
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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?
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.
What I Liked:
Woahhh, head rush! This book was EPIC! I'm so glad I didn't pass this one straight on Edelweiss - I didn't know much about the book or author (since the book is a debut). In fact, when I went to start this book, I still hadn't really read the synopsis, or known a great deal about the book. So I went into this one with no background knowledge, no idea of what this book was about (other than the fact that it is fantasy - my favorite genre). It was a fantastic surprise!
Mare is a Red - she has red blood, she's born into a red-blooded family, and has no abilities, like the Silvers. The Reds work in order to maintain society, whereas the Silvers are the nobility. This concept isn't new. When Mare gets a job in the palace, something happens - she demonstrates an ability - something a Red shouldn't have. In order to cover up this abnormal occurrence and keep peace, the Silver queen makes Mare a Silver in disguise. Mare is now the Heir to the dead Titanos line - a noble lady - and engaged to the King and Queen's son, Maven. But playing royalty is a deadly role, and Mare will be walking a thin line as a new royal, and an integral part of the uprisings.
This book reminded me of Red Rising by Pierce Brown - Darrow (from Red Rising) is transformed (literally) into a Gold, the noble class, but he came as a Red, the working class. Mare is a Red, but she is masquerading as a Silver. I'm not seeing the "Graceling" comparison in Red Queen, but I can understand the The Selection one. Mare is a pauper-turned-princess, and she will be marrying a prince - one of them.
I think I liked Mare. She is brash and outspoken, and hates the nobles. She knows both worlds, and she isn't blind to the struggle of the Reds. She wants to help with the Scarlet Guard - the revolutionaries who want change in the nobility. Mare keeps strong as she deceives the world, as a fake Silver, and as she deceives the Silvers, but helping the Scarlet Guard.
This book is very story-driven, meaning, the actual story is so much more important than the romance. Mare's struggle to adapt to Silver life, her interactions with the Scarlet Guard, the sneaking around to help with the revolution - these events take precedence. There is romance in this book, but it's so not-there, mostly. It doesn't drive the story, like in The Selection, for example. It's a lot like Red Rising - it's there, and you know who should end up with who, but the romance is going at its own pace, and not forced into the story.
However, let's talk about the romance. It will seem like there is a love triangle going on. Mare is engaged to Maven, the younger prince, the son of the King and current Queen. However, the older prince (and heir), Cal, the son of the King and late Queen (Coriane, who is dead), is also a part of this book - he is extremely crucial to the story, and the romance. He is the reason why Mare got the job at the palace (she tried to pickpocket him, and he gave her a job. Go figure).
The thing is, you will ALWAYS know what is happening, in terms of the romance, and it isn't love-triangle-y at all. Mare only has feelings for one of them. I ALWAYS thought that one boy was more of a friend - I got the friend vibe from him. The other one was steam and spark when he and Mare are together.
There is so much action and high stakes and breath-holding and betrayals in this book. Everyone is talking about the court and politics and intrigue and whatnot, and how about all the sneaking around to help the revolution? Mare is a symbol to the Scarlet Guard and the Reds - hence, Red Queen. There is a key betrayal in the end of the book, and honestly, I SOOO saw that coming, but OMG! I've seen a lot of people surprised by this betrayal, but I expected it. It's just... when it happened, my heart broke a bit. And then I was like WELL NOPE, DIDN'T LIKE YOU ANYWAY. (Except I did.)
Overall, I really, REALLY liked this book. The fantasy and world-building were lovely (though it reminded me of other books), I liked the female and male protagonists, I liked the story (though I was very stressed at times while reading), I really liked the romance. Forbidden, mmm. Don't worry about the love triangle, it's insinuated, and not actually there. Love!
What I Did Not Like:
I wanted more from the romance! The pair that are featured in this book's romance are obvious, and the chemistry and passion between them is there, but I wanted more alone-time. I wanted more interactions between them before things blew up. You know that annoying thing that authors do where the two characters are having a moment and then someone walks in or something catches on fire or SOMETHING HAPPENS and the two characters lose their moment? UGH, THAT. Less of that, more interactions. *rips hair out*
Would I Recommend It:
Fantasy fans, I'd definitely recommend this one to you! So much life-threatening drama and important subterfuge and secret romance. I liked this book a lot!
4 stars. I will definitely be reading book two - which I'd like right now, please!
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