Release Date: February 10th, 2015
I first picked up Red Queen as my Spring Break read in 2015. I wanted a good sized book with a solid plot and an intriguing romance in a fairytale setting that I could immerse myself in during my vacation. Yay for me, Red Queen was this book!
Mare Barrow is a Red; that is, her blood is red, and that makes her a commoner. All Reds are considered inferior to the Silvers, the nobility who are close to gods with their different powers. They are cruel, ruling over the Reds with unquestionable authority. After a chance meeting with a man from the palace, Mare is summoned there the next day. She is to work as a servant, miraculously escaping her inevitable upcoming conscription in the war. Her palace duties begin immediately, throwing her into a crowd gathered for the competition of the crown prince’s hand in marriage. Mare cannot believe her eyes when she sees that Cal, the man she met on the streets the night before, is none other than the crown prince himself. He is part of the royal family who tyrannizes the Reds and keeps them in their lowly station.
In an effort to protect herself during the fierce competition, Mare unintentionally produces a surge of lightening, astonishing every Silver in the room. After all, no Reds have powers. Mare, just as surprised as the Silvers, is smart enough to know that whatever just happened was not good. She tries to flee for her life, but is captured instead. The King and Queen, afraid of what they saw in Mare, cannot let people know what she truly is; thus, they build her up as one of their own, announcing that she is really the daughter of a deceased Silver general, found and raised by Reds. As a part of this massive lie she is forced into, Mare is betrothed to Cal’s younger brother, Maven, as a way to secure her secret. Meanwhile, Cal is betrothed to another. Mare and Cal, both are betrothed to other people, have an obvious attraction to one another. Though Mare wants nothing to do with the royal family, Cal has shown her kindness on many different occasions, complicating their relationship.
Unfortunately for every character in this book, the main theme of this story is betrayal. There are layers upon layers of betrayal: the developing romance of Mare and Cal, behind their betrotheds’ backs; Mare’s secret involvement in the Scarlet Guard, a resistance group trying to overthrow the royal family; Maven’s own participation in the Scarlet Guard; and the betrayal of family against family that unravels at the end. This book contained some great plot twists and strong characters, and the series as a whole has become an instant favorite. Well done, Victoria Aveyard, for writing such a captivating debut! For more, read the next book in the series, Glass Sword.
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