The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule 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.Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre 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. But power is a dangerous game.

And in this world divided by blood, who will win? 

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.“ – Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

Victoria Aveyard… What did you do to me? I absolutely loved this book. Red Queen was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. As soon as I read the synopsis and saw the cover I was hooked and I’m so happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. This is definitely a brilliant debut from this author and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next two books (because of course it’s a trilogy). Red Queen is a fantasy dystopian novel that has been compared to some big hitters lately, and they aren’t entirely wrong in their comparisons. Aveyard did a phenomenal job in taking some of the best elements/mechanics of other worlds and used them in a whole new blend. I found the storyline incredibly addicting and I genuinely fell for her characters.

It’s a YA novel, so I wasn’t really expecting jaw-to-the-floor plot twists when picking up this book. She definitely threw the twists and turns in there and some of them were generally surprising. Honestly, I’m not even bothered by the fact that I was able to correctly guess some of the other major plot turns. The book was still really enjoyable to read and I was truly interested in where it was going. I don’t see the point in scoffing at a piece of literature or an author who is unable to defy the odds and deliver a 100% unique, unbreakable storyline that no one will ever see coming. Again, it’s a YA novel. I’m not going to complain about something I expect from this genre, even though a hundred other people will feel the need to do so. So moving on…

In this world, blood is everything. If you’re Red, you’re a lowly citizen under the rule of the Silvers. You’re normal. Silvers, on the other hand, bleed silver and are blessed with superpowers/gifts. You see, Silvers have the ability to bend elements or control a certain aspect. Reds live a normal life… a mortal life.

Mare Barrow is our protagonist and she’s a seventeen year-old Red living in the Stilts. Her only goal in life is protecting the ones she loves and trying her best to provide for her family. As one may have guessed, she’s “special” compared to the other Reds. Mare is a pickpocket, but that isn’t what makes her so special. She steals because it’s the only way she can support her family. She has no job prospects and her eighteenth birthday is looming closer. Without a job, Mare is destined to go to the front lines of the war that’s been raging on, just like her brothers before her.

In a tempting of fate, one attempted pickpocket will change everything and bring a whole new meaning to the word suffering for Mare.

We’re then thrown into a world of politics and games where alliances must be won and bought and everyone is a pawn. Anyone can be betrayed.

“I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.” – Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen 

The writing style in this novel was just so refreshing and such a thrill to read. The way that the author handled everything from page one of this book was just beautiful. I didn’t really feel that the world building was overwhelming or really underwhelming, though there are some aspects that I wish I could have had more of. I would be interested to learn more history of this world and I’m hoping we might get to explore that before the trilogy has run it’s course.

I really enjoyed the way Aveyard explored more complex themes like politics and the consequences of repressing people. This book is a natural dystopian that tells the tale of fights for liberation and a major revolution that is starting to boil on the surface. With each passing dawn the hold that the Silvers have on the Reds and their way of life is crumbling.

One of the things that I think definitely play to Red Queen’s strength is the way that Aveyard wrote her characters. They aren’t perfect and deep down are realistically and deeply flawed. You have desperation, the need for survival, delusion, loyalty, jealousy and betrayal. No one is perfect and everyone has the chance to grow within this story, which I think is one of the things that make it so special.

“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.”  – Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

The romance in this book makes me so happy in a curious, out of the box kind of way. I absolutely adore both Cal and Maven, and I can’t get over the complexity of them with Mare. It has been compared before to the Darkling in Leigh Bardugo’s infamous Grisha trilogy, and it sent me over the moon. I love the way that this entanglement is written and I’m so intrigued to see where it goes. I’m sorry about the vagueness of that statement – but if you pick up the book you’ll understand why I phrased that the way I did.

 “Rise, red as the dawn.”  – Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

The first book ends on the brink of a revolution that is fueled by a desire for revenge and justice. I absolutely cannot wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

 

★★★★★