First of all, congrats to Victoria Aveyard for winning the Goodread’s Debut Author Award for 2015! I ended up voting for the book while reading it, because it was definitely a good one. It’s another YA dystopian series, which I think means I’m done with them for at least a month or two. (Got to take an occasional break, or I’ll start building a bunker at some point!)
The Red Queen
By Victoria Aveyard
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy
Rating: 3.75/5 Moose
There are two types of people: those born with silver blood, and those born with red blood. Silver blood represents power and the elite class, while red blood presents the working class (bordering on slavery). And power does not just mean wealth – those with silver blood also possess traits such as fire starters, healers, mind control, and metal control.
The main character is Mare Barrow, a 17 year old with red blood. She gets a job in the Silver’s palace, where she comes to realize that despite her blood, she also possesses a powerful trait that she accidentally reveals to an entire silver blood audience.
Mare suddenly finds herself being paraded as a Silver princess raised by Reds, and betrothed to the second Prince. While she watches her every move in order to keep herself alive, she also begins to help the Red Guard, an uprising movement in those with Red blood. Government, politics, and love – nothing ever goes well.
Oh geez, like any YA book, there are SO MANY CHARACTERS (and I forget half of them).
The Important Three:
- Mare Barrow – The main character, a female teenager red blood with silver abilities. Forced to pretend she’s a silver princess and is betrothed to Maven Calore.
- Maven Calore – the younger prince, betrothed to Mare Barrow. Fire starter, always feels that he is stuck in his (half) brother’s shadow.
- Tiberias Calore VII – called Cal. The older prince, heir to the throne. Fire starter. Helped Mare get a job in the castle originally.
The Not So Important Three (but those you should remember):
- Julian Jacos – Cal’s uncle – the brother to the now deceased Queen. A “singer” – can control people’s actions. Teaches Mare both history and how to control her abilities.
- Tiberias Calore VI – The current King, Maven and Cal’s dad. Cruel and cold and wanted to kill Mare from the beginning. I think he’s also a fire starter, but I’m not 100% sure it’s mentioned?
- Elara Merandus – Current queen and Maven’s mom. She can read thoughts and force people to do things. Cold, calculating, and super evil.
- Evangeline Samos – Cal’s fiance, picked during a competition. She’s also cold and seems to enjoy causing pain? Can control iron.
- Gisa, Shade and all the other Barrows – Gisa is Mare’s sister, Shade is one of Mare’s three brothers. Her three (older) brothers have all been pushed off to war, while Gisa was set up to have an apprenticeship working with silk
- Kilorn Warren – Mare’s childhood best friend, orphaned at a young age. Looking to go to into fishing, but his boss dies right before his 18th birthday. Eventually joins the red guard.
- Farley – The leader of the Red Guard.
No seriously, there are still a ton of characters. And Silver houses. And colors. I’ll never learn them all. But these are all the ones worth knowing.
Rants and Raves:
First of all, I think I’m officially taking a young adult dystopia break. I’m getting tired, and there are so many fun things I could read. Now, that being said, I enjoyed this book for the most part. I like that Mare doesn’t seem to have her powers from the beginning – we aren’t thrust into the middle of her already having spent ages hiding this ability. We experience the horror of her getting her abilities, as well as follow her on a journey of understanding and controlling her abilities.
There is a bit of a love triangle (because only Divergent seems to be able to survive without a love triangle) but thank god Kilorn doesn’t seem to be in love with her. I am a firm believer that males and females can have platonic relationships, so thank you for that. Anyways, Mare develops feelings for both Maven and Cal. She goes through waves with both, and then occasionally reminds herself that she’s aligned with the Red Guard, so she shouldn’t like either.
And speaking of Cal, the way he picks his fiance. I’m still not sure if I have decided I’m okay with this or not. On the one hand, I braced myself for a Selection type set up (it’s not, thank god.) But on the other hand, it’s short and kind of meh. It’s literally like showing a prized cow, and Cal being forced to take the one who will produce the most milk. Sure, I know this what was intended, but nothing more? Not even a few days to make the decision?
I want more of the Red Guard. I want more of uprising, understanding it, understanding what their plan is. I want more of an organized uprising than most YA books have had recently. I want to know what the heck they planned to do against a group of people who have abilities where they literally cannot compete.
My honest to god biggest problem with this book is that I accidentally spoiled the ending for myself when I saw that there is a second book. So guys, know that there is a second book, and don’t look at it until you finished it.
I think this book was well written, though a bit longer than it needed to be. It took me longer to finish this book then the last 6 or so I’ve read, and I think it’s partly because I was only reading it on the subway. It’s good, and I’m looking forward to the next book. I’m hoping it’s more political and the love triangle kind of goes away (and that another one doesn’t pop up. I’m looking at you, childhood best friend!)