Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, #1
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2/10/2015
Read All About It:
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
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.
Anything that is compared to Graceling automatically peaks my interest and the description of Red Queen made it sound even more enticing. As I read, I kept waiting to be reminded of Graceling, but beyond a strong female lead and underground rebels trying to undue the corrupt actions of a kingdom, Red Queen was a completely different story. I did not mind this at all! There were parts throughout that reminded me of other books, like The Hunger Games, but honestly, that didn’t bother me because I felt like it brought together the best parts of a lot of books.
Throughout, the plot was fast paced and entertaining. I was happy to sit down and read it all at once because Aveyard did a fantastic job developing Norta. I could easily imagine Mare as she went through the stilts and the palace. Plus, having the areas divided by blood color is a new twist that sets it apart from other books where citizens are divided. In Divergent, the characters are able to pick which faction they want to be part of, yet blood is not something the characters can choose or change. When reading the book, I recommend saving a copy of the Norta map EpicReads made and checking out their blog here for a copy and more details.
One thing I also found refreshing about this book is that it is so packed with action there is not as much romance in it. Although that is not to say there isn’t any romance – I certainly know who I hope she ends up in a relationship with, but it was nice to not have the action slowed down by romantic scenes.
As quick as I was able to fall in love with some of the characters, the antagonists were so manipulative it didn’t take any effort to learn to hate them. Aveyard wrote all the characters from different houses and parts of Norta so that they were imaginable and somewhat easy to keep track of.
Despite being similar to other YA dystopian books, the ending still is mind-blowing with a completely unexpected twist! I loved this book so much it is hard to describe every reason why it’s amazing. Red Queen is easily a new favorite and I can’t wait to read the sequel!