I have not been much of a reader since I went to college. I did not have time, funds, or access to the young adult books I fill my time with. It’s been two years since I was a major player in the reading game. And I’m so glad I picked Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard as the book to bring me back. It’s definitely one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
Synopsis via Amazon: “Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.”
Warning: Continuing on will result in minor spoilers.
Victoria Aveyard is a magnificent writer. Her prose draws me in and every now and then she’ll have a sentence that it so wonderfully written that I had to close the book and revel in the words she sewed together to make a beautiful masterpiece. Red Queen is about Mare Barrow, a woman who steals to help her poor family survive. In Mare’s world, there is a divide by blood — Red and Silver. The Silver bloods are powerful humans, with supernatural abilities that they use to their advantage. One of those advantages is presiding over the Reds, those with red blood that do not have powers.
Mare meets a mysterious stranger, whom she tries to steal from. She is caught, and instead of being punished, she is given a job at the castle where the king, queen, and two princes reside, surrounded by the High Houses. Silvers. Mare is a servant, and one of her first tasks is serving at the Queenstrial, a trial of all the high houses’ daughters to see who is strongest and will therefore be the next queen. The trial takes place inside an electrical sphere that keeps the debris from the Silvers’ displays of power from destroying the surrounding area. At this trial, Mare falls off a path onto this electrical sphere. Instead of being incinerated, Mare survives without a scratch. Mare has powers of her own. But she is a Red, and thousands of Silvers saw her survive.
Because of the audience, the king and queen cannot kill her to hide her strange Red powers. No Red has ever had the powers of a Silver. To protect the Silver status they spin the story that Mare is the long-lost daughter of a fallen war hero, a Silver from a High House, and was raised as a Red, with her life and her family’s lives in the balance if she doesn’t play along. To keep an eye on her, the king and queen engage her to the younger prince in order to keep her close. Now, Mare must survive the dangerous court life while trying to save her own life; avoid falling in love with the Silver princes, Maven, her betrothed, and Cal, the First Prince; and honor her oath to the Scarlet Guard, the rebel group trying to end the reign of the Silvers by taking the Silvers out from within their walls. And remember:
“Anyone can betray anyone.”
All in all, this book was amazing. After I finished it I immediately went out and bought the second one (I’m lucky that it was out!). Now, I’m impatiently waiting for the third installment, and will gobble it up just as quickly as the first two. If you have time and like young adult romance with adventure and a strong heroine, this is the book to read this summer!
Find it here: