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.
The Reds have been living under the boot of the superpowerful Silvers for decades. Reds without good jobs are forced to join the army, dying for a country that doesn’t value them at all. When Mare Barrow, a Red, tries to save herself and her best friend from conscription she unwittingly reveals an ability of her own. But Reds shouldn’t have abilities. So to keep the Silver community satisfied and keep the Reds from hoping, Mare is forced to pretend to be a long-lost Silver. And not just any Silver—a princess.
The Hunger Games meets X-Men, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is fast-paced and full of political intrigue. Aveyard does a great job of establishing Mare’s world, and making sure that world feels bigger than just Mare’s experience. I am especially intrigued by the seemingly forgotten levels of society that Mare catches glimpses of as she journey’s to the main city. I hope we get to see more of these areas in the next book. The really strong world-building makes me think this book would work well on the big screen.
My one complaint about this book is that the romance didn’t grip me. Cal and Maven are both interesting characters on their own but their relationship with Mare felt rushed. When the stakes depend at least partially on the romantic storyline, that romantic connection needs to really pulse and I felt it fell short in that regard.
I love that this book isn’t afraid to take a dark turn—or several. Even when I had some things figured out, it still managed to shock me.
Red Queen is exciting, quick and imaginative. I’m eager for book two.
♥ ♥ ♥ ½ (3.5/5 hearts)