While I’m not writing book reviews for the most part at the moment, as I just want to enjoy the books without worrying about how they will come across in a blog post. Or what things I’m going to talk about in them. If something calls out to me enough I will write about it. The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard fits into that. This series has been sitting on my shelf for ages. I originally tried to avoid all spoilers, then months past and that went to the wayside. So, I thought I would share it on the blog. I was also going to write about the whole series in one post, but I’m going to separate it into each book instead.
This series is described as being “perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.” Each book is classified on Amazon with different genres but all of them are Young Adult to start with, the others are: fantasy, dystopian romance, historical romance, mystery and thriller, and science fiction.
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.
- Published: June 7, 2016
- Page Count: 416 pages
If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read the hidden section. I’m going over the things I was spoiled to going into the series. These are things I knew going into the book series that affected this book in particular:
- Maven is the villain of the series. The entire first book dragged for me as I was waiting for the moment Maven turns on Mare. I knew it was coming so the entire time I didn’t trust him. It kind of ruined the book as that was the major twist. It really isn’t an obvious twist, so it didn’t hit hard the way it should’ve.
- Cal and Mare don’t really end up together. While they are the main couple of the series, they don’t really end up together. I mean they do but they don’t. It’s not until the novella after the main series where that happens. And in that same novella, it’s revealed they have children together. But again, it’s not in the main series.
- Cal will always choose the crown over Mare. If ever presented a choice between the crown (loyalty to his family or Silver) presents itself over Mare (and what she’s doing with the Red Guard), Cal will choose the crown. So, whenever these loyalty to Mare moments present themselves, I always knew which way Cal would go.
We are introduced to the world of Red Queen through the 1st person perspective of Mare Barrow. A human with red blood who discovers that she has the abilities of the Silvers (the gods of their world). When her powers are discovered, she has to play a role of a lost Silver princess and become engaged to Maven. Though she was brought into that world through Cal after she ran into him one night while she was pickpocketing trying to gather enough money to save herself and her best friend, Kilorn, from being conscripted into the army. A rule the Silvers enforce is that all eighteen-year-olds not already working must join the army. Her three older brothers have already been drafted. And she wanted to avoid that at all cost. As it’s a war she doesn’t believe in.
Mare later ends up joining the Red Guard, an organization that wants to take down the Silver rule that keeps Reds as slave workers and soldiers. She initially went to them for help to avoid being conscripted, but after fate put her on a different path she ends up joining their cause after learning what happened to her favorite brother.
It’s interesting how magic works in this world. It’s not something that comes within. Silvers must have the element around them or direct access in order to control those elements. Cal and Maven can control fire, but they have to have fire starters in order to gain access to their abilities. The same goes for the other characters in the book. Except for Mare who is able to sense electricity and create it without having a spark produced by something else. Though one could argue she pulls it from the electrical current that runs in human bodies. So, she’s not creating it from somewhere, she just has direct access to the ability at all times. Though I don’t know how that works with all the other abilities. Some of them don’t exactly go into depth on how they work.
Check out the spoilers section if you want to know what caused me to give this book a lower rating. I think it would probably be higher had I not known those things. I still enjoyed it but I think at least the first book was a bit ruined for me as far as experience went. Still a good book, but it would’ve been better without knowing what I knew going into it. But I have a feeling the rest of the series will be better since those are more blind readings.
Overall, I would rate this book 3.5 stars out of 5. Maybe if the major plot twist hadn’t been spoiled for me I would’ve rated this higher, but as I feel like the book would’ve been a thousand times better if I hadn’t known what I did going into the book.
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