Book Review

Book Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I took one look at the cover of Red Queen and knew I had to read it. Red Queen is a kind of hybrid between fantasy and a dystopian set squarely in the Y.A. genre...and I LOVED it! The story centers around Mare Barrow, scraping by in village that feels very medieval but is set in a future world. She is a red-blood, part of the lower-class, ruled over by the silver-bloods - an elite class of humans with god-like abilities. Fate throws her into their pristine and privileged world and Mare accidentally discovers that she has her own special ability - something the silver royalty needs to hide by having her play the part of a lost silver princess. Her real identity is kept hidden right under the noses of the silver nobles but just one scratch can reveal that her blood flows red and not silver. Betrothed to the youngest of two princes, she plays a part in a dangerous game - one that includes a budding rebellion, betrayals, political games, and a thread of love that is knotted and twisted by the whirlwind events.

I liked watching Mare grow throughout the book. She starts out rough around the edges - edges which have to be polished with blazing speed as she's thrust into a world she could have only dreamed about. She's a strong but flawed heroine who thinks she knows what she's doing and whom she loves and finds that things are not as delineated as they seem. It was interesting to see her thinking it's justifiable to use others for her purposes and then be burned by the same tactics when she least expects it. There's a lot of foreshadowing in the book - a bit too much, but it keeps you suspicious of everyone's motives until all is chillingly revealed at the end.

There is a teeny bit of a love triangle, but love isn't the main focus of the story. Mare THINKS she knows who she cares about but finds circumstances change her feelings in an instant one way and then the next. There are twists and turns and when you think you have it entirely figured out, events head in new directions. The dichotomy between Cal and Maven is not always so clear and you spend most of the book trying to figure those two boys out because nothing is exactly black or white with either of them and they both have their own motivations concerning Mare that become clearer towards the end.

The plot starts out a little slow, but once it builds up speed it ends up crashing to the end. I loved the unpredictability, the world-building full of details that give you a picture of diamond glass walls and glittering fountains of the silver-bloods as well as the crushing abjectness and raggedness of the reds. I also really enjoyed the genetic aspect of the story and the melding of future technologies and abilities with an antediluvian sort of existence of the reds. You are never told exactly why things are what they are, but it's interesting to see how this future world has evolved and how it impacts the lives of the two very separate classes.

Red Queen leaves you NEEDING to read the 2nd book. There are so many things to find out and nuances of relationships to play out. I fell in love with the characters and can't wait to meet them again. If you like Y.A. novels, dystopian or fantasy (even a splash of sci-fi), Red Queen is a must-read.

*I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


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