Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion Books
First published: 2015
Blurb: 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 seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
But Mare possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of her potential, the Silvers hide Mare in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. Knowing that one false move will mean her death, Mare must use her new position to bring down the regime – from the inside.
Now Mare has entered a game of betrayal and lies.
This is Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…
History of my copy: I saw that the Red Queen was a hugely popular book in the Bookstagram community, so I picked it up for a 3 for £10 deal on Amazon along with the books I got my friend for her birthday.
At first, this book really did nothing for me. It was a terrible mix of Baldacci’s The Finisher, Cass’ The Selection and Collins’ The Hunger Games. However, I stuck with it and I am glad I did. It got better, especially the last ten or so chapters.
I will also applaud Aveyard’s brilliant way of creating an apartheid world. The whole idea of Red against Silver was different to everything I’ve seen before, and I think it did make a good premise for a book series.
Plot: Mare Barrow is a Red thief, stealing to help her family survive in the Stilts. She is conscripted to war, just like her brothers, best friend, and every other Red that doesn’t have a job. However, she is ‘saved’ when a man, who turns out to be the heir to the throne, Prince Callum, gets her a job as a servant. This doesn’t last very long when, at Queenstrial (an event where the royal family chooses who the princes should marry), they discovered that Mare has a power, just like the Silvers.
The Royal family promise her to Prince Maven, disguising her as a Silver, where she will then secretly work with the terrorist Scarlet Guard to bring an end to the superiority of the Silver rule with the help of her future husband.
Soon, Mare learns that anyone can betray anyone. Sons betray fathers, wives betray husbands and, perhaps worse of all, one of the Princes betray Mare.
Setting: I love how different this Dystopian world feels. I think the way Aveyard has conquered the differences between how the Reds live compared to the Silvers was beautifully done. The Silver cities and palaces are described in all their glory, whereas the Red slums are depicted as the dirty, poverty-stricken places they are, and it really feels like you are there.
Characters: This bit definitely contains spoilers, so stop reading now if you don’t want the end to be ruined!
Firstly, Mare, what a fantastic main character she is! She’s a heroine with realistic flaws oh my! She is confused by what she is, and remains loyal to her people until the very end. She totally does not deserve what happens to her.
I love Call too. He remains loyal to his family, and cares about Mare. He does bad things, but he’s a soldier and he carries out what his father expects of him. The moment when he was made to kill the King broke my heart. I do hope him and Mare end up together and ruling a just world, the Silver King and his Red Queen, a world in which people are equal, regardless of their blood colour and powers.
Maven. What slimy scum! From the start I wasn’t too sure on him. He seemed too nice and, as his mother’s son, I felt like I couldn’t trust a thing he did. I was surprised he was actually allowed to partake in the Scarlet Guard’s plans in the first place, I thought they would have been too clever to fall for that. However, regardless of how much I disliked him, I never thought he would be that evil! He truly is a villain of villains.
To read or not to read: Read. Read and persevere. I nearly gave up on the book at one point, and there were many times I felt like putting it down and leaving it for a while, but there’s a point you hit and you just can’t put it down! I am looking forward to reading the sequel and seeing what happens next.