RED QUEEN is a Fantasy Young Adult novel written by the very talented story-teller Victoria Aveyard. This is her debut novel, but I after reading it, I can predict great things ahead for this author.
I've read about this book online earlier this year. Its blur and my new found love for fantasy YA made sure that I have pre-ordered. I couldn't wait to read it, but I have been busy with other stories... Then the amazing reviews started to flood in and all I wanted to do is read it for myself. So when the opportunity has risen, ZC book club on IG readers picked this book for August's Read, I found myself jumping up and down from excitement. I wanted to know if all the good reviews were true..
Turns out that the book reviews were holding out on me. This book was so much more.
This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until a twist of fate brings her before the Silver court. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly ability of her own. Fearful of Mare's potential, the king hides her in plain view: betrothed to his youngest son. Trapped, Mare decides to use her new position to bring down the regime - from the inside.
But this is a game of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...
Do you see now why I had to have this book in my possession? Are you intrigued? Do yourself a favour and go and buy the book! You won't regret it. But in the meantime, whilst you are waiting for the delivery, let me tell you what I thought about this fantasy adventure.
Firstly let's start with the easy part. The edition. I own the paperback published by HarperTeen this year. 383 pages divided into 28 chapters, plus epilogue. The cover is simple, yet beautiful and mesmerising. A Silver crown dripping with Red blood on the light blue background. Symbolic. Powerful and make a great summary of the story. I love the metallic red lettering announcing the title of the book. A beautiful design.
Now the writing. Wow... It's intriguing. Very entertaining. Packed with constant twist & turns and moments which leaves you with your mouth wide opened thinking : WTF !! I didn't see this coming! I love how much imagination went into creating this world of Reds and Silvers. So many details I wouldn't even dream of thinking about. Ms Aveyard put a lot of thought into this story. And she didn't fail.
She made me fall in love it. Straight from the start. I was a bit confused when reading the first chapter, but soon enough I got hang on this world and was enjoying the story tremendously. I love the super-human powers the Silvers and Mare has. It brings a new element into Fantasy YA. Super-heroes. There a some great YA stories out there which are using super humans in their stories, but they are mostly the dystopian types. It's the first fantasy YA I read where this theme is used. And I love it.
The story itself is mesmerising. I found myself hooked and not being able to put this book down. It's got everything a good story needs : Society divided between rich and strong Silvers & poor & powerless Reds; a possible love triangle, maybe even love square between Mare, Cal, Maven & Kilorn; backstabbing; underground rebels planning a revolution against the current system and a heroine trapped between it all. Brilliant. Fantastic. Breath-taking.
What I enjoy about the book the most is the characters. They aren't flawless. Hell, sometimes I just wanna shake them up and scream at them: What are you doing? Mare is a great female lead. She is stubborn, pig-headed at times, but strong and fierce. She makes mistakes. A lot of mistakes. At the moment in time, she blames a lot of them on others. And she doesn't seem to be able to see things from more than one point of view which makes a good target for being used for someone else's evil plans. Cal. Oh, I have a confession to make. I am crushing on Cal at the moment. He is a strong man. Clever. Powerful. Tactical. He could be a great king (and I hope he will one day) if he wasn't afraid of changes and taking risks. But I trust him. I trusted him more that his evil brother. Which brings me to Maven. Wow, I didn't see that coming. I didn't like him from the start. There was just some untrustworthy air about him, but he kept playing nice. But than he turns out to be Brutus. He is a boy with some serious issues. Shame, that it looks like one of faves in this story - Julian - doesn't seem to survive the first instalment. He was a great teacher to Mare and I think she needs someone like him in her life. He can guide and not take her excuses. He can be stern with her. I will miss him.
The relationships between the characters are wonderful to read. I love the friendship between Mare & Kilron. They were friends since young age. She always looked after him. He is her family. Her well-know harbour. Maven & Mare... well I get why she started to love him. He played his role of a friend, someone she can trust, perfectly. He was everything she needed & wanted. And he used her. My favourite, and i really hope they find their way back to each other somehow, is the slowly developing relationship between Cal & Mare. There is so much unresolved tension around there. I will be honest, I want them to be together. What makes me angry about Mare, she expects too much from Cal. She thinks that he should do what she wants regardless the past. She doesn't seem to comprehend how and where he was brought up. He makes the most and tries to help as much as he can his people. He wants to be a great king. But changes takes time. And Mare doesn't seem to get it and ends up disappointed with Cal most of the time. She needs to cut him some slack. But he adores her. He is in love with her. And he is so hurt when she betrays him. It was heart-shattering to read.
I think you know what I am going to say. I can't find any faults with this story. It was a thrilling ride with unexpected betrayals. I cannot wait to read more. I have a serious book hangover right now!!!!!!!!! I just want more and I cannot believe that I have to wait until next year to find out more. The second book is due to be published February 9th 2016. I cannot wait to put my hands on you GLASS SWORD.
So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Victoria Aveyard for putting your world and story on paper and let me be a part of this. It was a wonderful, entertaining journey and I cannot wait to read more.