Review – Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard

I succumbed to the hype, and I’m so happy I did!

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Take note guys, gals and non-binary pals this is how you write young adult fantasy with a love triangle!

Seriously, throughout this book I really wanted to hate it, it has every cliché in the book…in the book. But somehow Aveyard manages to write in such a way that you don’t mind that it’s a cliché you just have to know what happens at the end! Not only that, I now have to know what happens in the next book(s) so please don’t spoil it for me in the comments or I may just cry.

What’s our setting like? Well, like Gilded Cage it’s a world where society is divided into a strict hierarchy where one class of people – those who possess magic – dominate those who do not. I thought this was handled pretty well given that these things can become really awkward quite quickly. The distinction being one made by the colour of blood (red vs silver) was nice as it made it non-arbitrary and enforceable which is something that doesn’t always make sense in other YA books. We need strict reasons for why more people can’t just pretend to be of the ‘superior’ class.

The main character Mare is also so much of a cliché that I ought to have hated her but instead she shines off the page and I’m desperate to know how her story turns out. Her love for her family and her desire to help them is actually believable without making her sound like a total dweeb. Similarly she’s strong and feisty and, most importantly, her appearance is never the focus, except when it is important to mention it. What you don’t get, as is becoming particularly boresome to me, is the attitude of ‘I am plain and ugly but actually I don’t realise how beautiful I am and everyone is in love with me but I am also relatable yes.’ You know what I mean?

That brings us to the romance plot. Maybe I’m the boring one but I do still love a romance and the romance in this book is used to a good effect. Not often do you hear me say I enjoyed a book with a love triangle but this was one of the few exceptions. What made this love triangle effective is that Mare’s decisions, for the most part. were not purely made based on the romance plot. She was a well rounded individual who made her choices for a wide variety of reasons and occasionally romance was her motivation. It’s almost like she was written to be a well rounded character or something?

Lastly, I’d like to point out how cool the way that magic worked was. In this world different families possess different abilities which are passed on hereditarily, usually through the male line. These vary from mind control to control of the elements and even magnetism – all of which are epic and badass and a whole host of other words that I could bore you with all day.

Will I be reading the rest of this series? You bet I will. I have no idea is Aveyard sustains this quality since I’ve been deliberately avoiding reviews, but I’m excited to find out. It’s always nice to discover a new series where I can actually read the sequels without waiting until the next pub date.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Have you read these books? What did you think? What other series do you think I should try? I welcome any and all suggestions.

 

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