Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Book #1 in the Red Queen trilogy
Publisher: HarperTeen – an imprint of HarperCollins
Publishing Date: February 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult – Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Format: Purchased Hardcover
“Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard is a book about a seventeen year old girl named Mare who is a thief in her town. She’s born as a Red – that is, a red-blooded person – and they are viewed as peasants, workers, the lowest of the low. The other class of people are the Silvers – silver-blooded people – and they are the elite because they have superpowers, whether that be the ability to control water, fire, metal, ice, turn themselves into stone, read and damage minds, and more. Though they have these powers, they are only able to draw their powers from the elements around them.
One day Mare gets caught up in a plan to help her family and ends up destroying their dreams of a better future. And then she meets a stranger who helps her get work in the Hall of the Sun to work among the Silvers she hates and that’s when things become electrifying.
Mare has the ability to control lightning, despite being a Red, and suddenly she has a huge target painted on her back.
This book was an interesting read and definitely super hyped up. I enjoyed reading about the powers and their world and how even though there are some forms of technology such as guns, TVs, and other such things, there’s also a sense of the past in the way the caste system works and how there are kingdoms in the world.
Before I continue, there may or may not be spoilers strung throughout the rest of my review, so if you haven’t read the book yet, please do. They won’t be heavy spoilers, but maybe there will be something that is said that tells too much.
Mare is a character that is strong willed, stubborn, very opinionated, and quick witted. Those are really the best terms to describe her in this instance. For a lot of the story I read about a girl who continually questioned and doubted herself, but then would proceed to raise herself up. Sometimes she would figure things out a little too fast or a little too easily, as if everything came to her as a revelation and that’s one of the things I didn’t like about her. I enjoy when the main character has to go along to figure things out for themselves. I guess she did at the end, though, with the big “plot twist” I believe people talk about. Overall I thought she was an okay character, but she definitely could have used more of a character arc to help her develop more, in my opinion.
Cal, the older prince, is a Silver who wields fire. He’s a strong soldier who’s trained and trained to not only wield his power, but to also be physically capable in any battle he’s thrust into. When we first meet him he’s hiding undercover as a common Red, but later, when Mare starts working at the Hall of the Sun, she sees him as the prince, the heir to the throne and an enemy. Though there are many layers to Cal, I still found that I liked him most out of the secondary main characters. He’s gentle, but tough, and he knows what to say when he can say it. I was rooting for him the whole time and I can’t wait to see what he brings in the next book.
Maven is the younger prince who is thrust into the situation to marry Mare as a way of concealing her identity and ensuring that they are able to use her later on down the line. He is quieter and not as strong as his older brother, but where he lacks strength he makes up for in intelligence. On more than one occasion he has proven to figure many things out and deceive a lot of people. For a big portion of the book, I didn’t trust him. Even during the plot twist, I half-trusted him. He was sort of growing on me, but he was just too perfect to be good.
The Queen, Elara, I don’t like her. She makes a good villain, really, and her power to go into someone’s mind, search through memories, and even possibly destroy that person, is frightening. But cool. I still don’t like her, though, and hope she dies at some point.
The Scarlet Guard is kind of like their own character all together, and is made up of several people (Farley, Kilorn, among others) who try to fight for the Reds and bring justice and peace to the warring countries. They want freedom and more equality between Reds and Silvers, and though their means may seem a bit harsh or extreme at times, they need to take drastic measures in order to see any change happen.
Now, as for the romance in this book, it was very subtle and few and far in between, which made my inner romantic sad, but at the same time I was rooting for someone. And though there was a sort of love triangle, it didn’t really flourish because of how twisted one character became at the end. I’m still rooting for Cal, I will say it, but I’m feeling there’s going to be another love triangle to come in the second book.
The plot itself was intriguing and I think that’s what’s going to keep my reading the trilogy. I feel like I want to know more about this world and the war and how everything operates because we only get a slighted view from Mare’s point of view, so I really want to see what more of this world is like and how everything unfolds. I felt that maybe there could have been a bit more depth in the way the setting was delivered, but at the same time I feel like it was done as well as it could have been.
Overall, I rated this book 3.5/5 stars and though for a big portion of the book I let other reviews decide how I was reading it, I still managed to kick out those voices and enjoy the book for what it was. Will I continue? Yes. I hope it gets better as it goes.