Publication Date: 12th February 2015
My rating: 5 stars
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
Red Queen simply blew me away. It was a book which I had been hearing a lot of praise for a few months back, but with new releases I usually tend to follow them for a while to see people’s opinions, this time however I decided to just dive in without reading much about it and to be honest this made reading Red Queen a much better experience for me.
Mare’s conscription is coming up pretty soon with three older brothers already sent out in the army, Mare doesn’t really have herself set up for big things, her sister Gisa is the talented one and Mare gets by, by stealing off unsuspecting people. But one night when she gets caught everything changes over night, she is called to serve in the King’s castle, Mare is a red, so considered lower than the silver. But having to serve silver is much better for her than what Mare would have expected. But quickly again things change for Mare in the blink of an eye, when she goes to show an ability no red was expected to have, she is forced to stand beside the King’s family, its either this or death, a no real brainer.
I was immediately swept away by this world that Aveyard had created I wanted to know about the silver and red groups. Despite getting the story from Mare, as a red I was curious to find out more about silvers, they all couldn’t be as bad as everyone was saying they could be could they? And the silver had all these cool abilities, honestly I felt like I was caught up in another X-Men movie, it was like a dream for me, as I’m the biggest fan ever of X-Men type abilities. And Aveyard actually wrote this aspect in pretty well, the abilities she described and how individuals coped with them was made truly believable, and the detail that she went into describing them gave a great picture of what it would be like standing by watching a magnetron take on a burner (controllers of fire and heat). And even though it was the silver who possessed all these special abilities I enjoyed being thrust into their scary world.
Mare was given a difficult task to deal with, her real existence could be revealed so easily with just a slight cut and everyone would know that Mare wasn’t the silver that she claimed to be. And it wasn’t as if Mare fell into this situation in the best way either, there were plenty of people that wanted Mare out of the way and would do anything possible to do so. But I’m glad that Mare did find some respite in people such as Lucas and Julian, it was clear to say they had her best interests at heart. The rest of the family close to the King though, it was hard to just judge who was telling the truth, and just who could you trust? I did have an inkling about some characters, and when certain things would go a certain way (Highlight to view spoiler) Mare would push Cal away, I really didn’t want her to, you know from the first moment two characters meet, you know they’re meant to be together? That’s what it was like for Cal and Mare, so things that Cal did; I was easily able to forgive. I was just watching for the little glimpses, touches between them, and the small amount that we did get were worth it. Maven was a sweet guy, but something in my gut was just telling me I couldn’t trust him, I didn’t however have any inkling to how far his treachery would go, but deeply I didn’t want him to be with Mare, and I think that reason contributed a lot to why I couldn’t fully like him, root for him or really want to understand his character. And I suppose with the way things turned out it was a good thing
Aveyard really went out her way to create wonderfully endearing complex characters. It was natural to want to root for Mare and want her to maintain her lie for as long as possible and hopefully go on and achieve great things for reds. Some say that there’s a sort of love square in Red Queen, but I knew and I think Mare knew who she really cared for, she found herself in a situation that really couldn’t allow her to show any sort of affection for this person, but now as well with the way things have gone down, I know it could take some time to get back what could have been. But to me Aveyard has given subtle glimpses of hope that this could be possible and I really hope that it does.
Red Queen was an exquisite debut from Aveyard, usually it takes a few books for an author to become a favourite, but Aveyard has managed to become a favourite author of mine with just one book. I’m really struggling to describe just how hard I fell in love with the book, world and characters that Aveyard created, I was never left wanting for something to happen, as there was constantly something lurking around the corner waiting to deal a swift blow on your head and heart. I will be eagerly counting down the days that I can finally be with these fantastic set of characters once more.