Monday, May 25, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Red Queen Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Victoria Aveyard's website):
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except … her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

Let me start off by saying this is a fantasy novel.  Despite the word "queen" being in the title, it is not historical fiction.  And if you're like me who picked up this book solely because of the cover and without having read any description on it (the only thing I knew was a lot of people liked it), then you're in for the surprise of a lifetime.  It took me about two chapters to realize how wrong I was with the assumed genre.  And I'm so glad I was wrong.

Mare lives in a world with two colors of blood: silver and red.  Those with silver blood have special abilities and live a very privileged life.  Those with red blood are the serfs who most likely end up getting conscripted and sent to war.  When Mare tries to help her friend avoid this fate, she finds herself in the middle of Silver society.  And when the Silvers notice her, they find she's not so different from them.  But can Mare keep up with the competing priorities and truly ally herself with one side?

This is a fantasy novel full of political intrigue.  You're always wondering what's going to happen next and what is truly motivating the characters.  And while I had the ending pegged from the beginning, I was still overjoyed by the story that happened in between.  There was so much going on.  And we learn very quickly that your blood doesn't necessarily tell you if you're on the right side.  I can't go on too much with this story just because I feel like you should read it...

From the beginning, this one felt similar to The Pledge, but it definitely has its own kind of feel.  Even though I don't remember much of Night Circus, I still want to say it has similar intrigues (even though the plots are totally different).  You're just going to have to read it and decide for yourself.

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