In the world that eighteen-year-old Mare Barrow lives in, wealth and power belong exclusively to the Silver Elites. They run the country because of the color of their blood and the supernatural abilities that they possess. Mare’s own people, the Reds, are the lowly servants, soldiers, fishermen, and common folk who work tough jobs until their backs break, or until they are killed in the battlefield. For centuries, this has been how their world worked, and no one ever dared defy the rule of the land.
Unlike her younger sister Gisa, who apprentices as a seamstress in the city market and sells her work to Silver merchants and nobles, Mare possesses no special skills. She is, however, quite the gifted petty thief. And this skill has tided her and her family over during the hardest days.
When Mare finds out that her childhood friend, Kilorn Warren, lost his job as a fisherman’s apprentice and has no choice but to be Conscripted, Mare nearly loses it. Conscription requires all eighteen-year-olds without jobs or apprenticeships to enlist in the army and fight in the war. All of Mare’s three brothers are already Conscripted. She will not let another person she loves be corrupted or killed by war.
In a desperate effort to save Kilorn’s life, Mare turns to the local black market and asks their help to smuggle Kilorn out of the Stilts. They agree, but for a fee that will cost Mare dearly.
When things take a different turn, Mare hits the streets again to steal whatever she can. She stumbles upon a mysterious stranger who catches her in the act, but gives her money anyway. The next day, Mare finds herself with a job as a servant at the king’s castle.
It’s the strange events that take place at the king’s castle that convince Mare that she can never trust anybody, and that anyone can betray anyone. It’s also there in the company of powerful Silvers that Mare discovers something about herself that will forever change her life.
This book has been on my to-read list for the longest time, and now I just can’t help wishing I read it sooner. I’m not a big fan of YA fantasy / adventure books, but I figured I had to give this one a shot. And I’m so glad I did because I really enjoyed reading about the world of Reds and Silvers.
Sure, the plot is not anything new, but it still brings something different and exciting to the mix. Red Queen is well-written and well-paced, and it wasn’t difficult to keep track of all the names, locations, and characters. Victoria Aveyard has created a rich and fascinating world that makes readers want to explore all its deep and dark secrets.
I like that the main character is not obsessed with boys. It’s not a romantic book, but it does have its rare romantic moments. (Hello, Prince Maven. Hello, Prince Calore.)
Red Queen is just a peek into the complex but exciting world of Mare Barrow. There’s still so much to know about the Red and Silver bloods, and the uprising that’s slowly taking place. But that’s for us to find out in the sequel. This first installment is filled with exciting twists and unpredictable turns. It’s a decent read that promises quite a few shockers from start to finish.