Book Reviews – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Spoiler Free and With Spoilers)

Hello everyone! About 3 weeks ago I did a post on the top 5 books I want to reread and present reviews on – and now it’s time for the first review.

Title – Red Queen

Author – Victoria Aveyard

Publisher – HarperTeen

Genre – Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

My Rating – 4/5

GOODREADS BLURB

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The 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 the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

SPOILER FREE

While the story starts off as a little cliche, the ending definitely took me by surprise and made the book worth a read. The characters didn’t have as much depth as I would’ve appreciated but the plot line played out elegantly and it was interesting. Mare’s romances with the two princes were well written and her doubts, fears and decisions were also well portrayed. All in all I’d give the book a 4 out of 5.

SUMMARY

Mare Barrow is a Commoner, a pick pocket. She is destined to join the Army of the Kingdom of Norta to fight a war she doesn’t want to fight but is forced to for one simple reason – her blood is Red. As she awaits conscription as soon as she turns 18, she stays with her parents and younger sister Gisa. Her three older brothers, Bree, Tramy and Shade are already at the border.

Mare has always been jealous of her sister because of the love of her parents because she has a job which means no conscription. Her best friend Kilorn Warren is also safe as he is apprentice to a fishermen.

However, things go horribly wrong when she realizes that Kilorn’s master has died and he will soon be conscripted. Realizing that his chances of survival are slim, she plots an escape and turns to her contact in the black market who leads her to Farley. Farley is the leader of the Scarlet Guard, a group of Red Rebels dedicated to bringing equality between the Reds and the Silvers who have always been in power due to their supernatural powers. Farley agrees to provide them sanctuary but demands an extremely large sum of money in return.

Desperate to save Kilorn, Mare decided to accompany Gisa to her workplace and steal from the Silvers. However, the plan goes horribly wrong when Gisa is caught trying to help Mare and has her hand broken in punishment. With a broken hand, Gisa can no longer support her family through weaving. Horrified by her part in this deed, Mare leaves the house unable to face her family and goes to the local tavern where she attempts and fails to steal from Cal, a young boy. Instead of turning her over though, Cal attempts to understand why she stole from him and gives her the money anyways.

The next day, Mare is summoned to the King’s Palace and offered a position. Confused, she begins working as a servant at the Queenstrial, a competition to win the hand of the prince only to discover that Cal is Prince Tiberias Calore, heir to the throne.During the Queenstrial, as Evangeline Samos displays her magnetokinetic powers, it accidentally comes to light that Mare has electrokinetic powers – an impossibility for the Reds. She immediately tries to escape but is stopped by Cal and brought to the king. The King fears the power of the Scarlet Guard and hence hides her as Lady Mareena Titanos, a lost Silver Royal. Mare is then engaged to Maven, Cal’s younger brother while Cal himself is engaged to Evangeline.

Under the strict and cruel guidance of Cal’s stepmother, Queen Elara, Mare is forced to live as a Noble and learn their ways. The only person she is able to befriend in this bizarre world is Julian Jacos, who teachers her how to use her powers. She is under the constant vigilance of royals and protected by Lucas Samos, Evangeline’s cousin, whom she eventually befriends.d9218860f5095389fd2223a6ce450b09

After a few days when she is unable to take the pressures of living a secret life, Maven persuades Cal to take her to meet her family where she learns that Bree and Tramy have returned but Shade had been slain before he could return. Infuriated, she loses control of her powers and hence both her family and Kilorn discover the true story behind her disappearance. She leaves the house and on her way back, joins the Scarlet Guard. She soon discovers that Maven has also pledged himself to the Guard and together with Farley, they plan to attack four high ranking officials at a royal ball. The plan however goes wrong as many innocents are also accidentally killed and members of the Scarlet Guard, including Kilorn and Farley are captured. That night Mare manages to free them with Julian and Lucas’ (who is unaware of his part) help.

As punishment to the Reds, the King makes Mare announce a new law lowering the age of conscription from 18 to 15. As Mare prepares to leave for the capital Archeon with the rest of the royals, Julian reveals that there are other like her and that Shade was also killed because he was a Red with powers. Mare and Maven meet with Farley and plot to infiltrate the capital through the undergrounds. In order to succeed, the plan involves emotionally manipulating Cal who is developing feelings for Mare. Mare is torn due to her mixed feelings for both Cal and Maven, but reluctantly agrees.

As Mare attempts to switch Cal over to their side however, Cal chooses his kingdom and the plan fails. As he storms back into the palace with her it is revealed that Maven had been manipulating Mare this whole time and was conspiring with his mother Queen Elara to become King. Elara uses her telepathic powers and forced Cal to kill his father, branding him and Mare as traitors.

Lucas is falsely accused of crimes and executed. Mare and Cal are sent in after him but are rescued by the Scarlet Guard through the Underground. Inside, Mare meets Kilorn and Farley and also discovers that Shade had survived his execution through his ability to teleport. Mare leaves with the Scarlet Guard and promises to undo all of Maven’s wrongdoing.

MY OPINION

In my view, the book had an intriguing plot but was quite predictable in some parts. Mare’s romances with Cal and Maven were slightly cliche.

The ending and Maven’s betrayal however was shocking. That one plot twist made the book a worthwhile read for me. Maven showed a character complexity that I did not expect from him throughout the novel.

The book had great elements and despite the fact that I expected it to end around the same time that the Ball happened, I did enjoy it and would definitely recommend it to others.

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