Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published by: HarperTeen on February 10th, 2015
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy
Find It: Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars
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.
A caste political system, where those born with Silver blood have powers beyond imagining, and a headstrong protagonist who threatens to burn that system to the ground by her mere existence. Welcome to Red Queen!
Red Queen pulled me in from the very beginning, establishing a world divided by blood and ruled by power.
“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”
Aveyard did a great job of building up Mare’s Red hometown of the Stilts, and the poverty she and her family struggled with daily. This was contrasted by the lavish lifestyle of the Silvers, which we get to bear witness to once Mare is taken under their supervision, though I couldn’t always picture how Silvers’ powers worked, or the city they lived in. And when I think about it, Aveyard didn’t really touch on how the Silver’s came to get their powers in the first place. But to be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to the world-building, which is virtually unheard of from me. Instead, I found myself captivated by Red Queen’s characters and its’ fast-paced plot.
Mare, though naive, was such an interesting character. Her constant battle to live as herself while pretending to be Mareen, the girl with Silver abilities, created a level of suspense that was at times palpable. She made several decisions that left me both anxious and skeptical, but I really enjoyed her growth throughout Red Queen.
I also really enjoyed the different dynamics between her relationships with both Cal and Maven, and the internal struggle she fought for having feelings for either of them in the first place.
His lips are on mine, hard and warm and pressing. The touch is electrifying, but not like I’m used to. This isn’t a spark of destruction, but a spark of life. As much as I want to pull away, I just can’t do it. Cal is a cliff and I throw myself over the edge, not bothering to think of what it could do to us both. One day he’ll realize I’m his enemy, and all this will be a far-gone memory. But not yet.
There was enough sexual tension to officially classify Mare, Maven and Cal’s relationships as a love-triangle, but I thought Aveyard did a great job of not letting it overshadow the overarching plot.
And without giving anything away, I felt uneasy about a certain character for most of Red Queen. But, despite my best efforts, I was eventually fooled into trusting them anyway.
As the only known Red to live amongst the Silvers, the plot relied heavily on Mare’s ability to gather information for the Scarlet Guard, the group responsible for the Red resistance movement.
I can’t believe I didn’t see him for what he was from the beginning: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And now I’m the sheep pretending to be a wolf.
I really enjoyed watching Mare attempt to manoeuvre high society politics, while looking over her shoulder at every turn in fear that both her motives and true blood colour would be found out. I was a bit bothered that arguably the largest plot point relied on one of her romantic relationships. But it didn’t truly take away from my overall enjoyment.
Fast-paced, action-packed and with characters I really enjoyed, Red Queen kept me hooked from start-to-finish. If I were to rate Red Queen on just my comments above, it would fall in a 3 star range. But if I let myself rate it based on just my enjoyment level? It’d be pushing closer to 5 stars. So I’ve decided to meet somewhere in the middle. Even though I’ve highlighted various issues with the world-building, characters and plot, I couldn’t put Red Queen down!