Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I have to thank my manager at the Barnes and Noble where I work part time for saving this ARC for me.  I guess I have to thank HarperTeen and Epic Reads for sending it to the store as well.  I had been hearing a lot about the book on other blogs, Waiting on Wednesday posts, and even some very early reviews.  At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, I mean, yeah, the cover is so beautiful, and then the packaging the ARC came in, that was also awesome. Remember this:

And then, the more and more I saw it around the blogosphere, as well as reading more about it, I just got so excited to read it, that I went ahead and read it earlier than planned, so this review is more than a month ahead of time, which is how long I usually try to wait to post an advanced copy review.  But I loved this, and it does come out towards the beginning of February, so I'm going to go ahead and spread more love and excitement for this book.  And I have to say that I did love this book.  Let me give a bit of a synopsis, and then talk about what I liked, as well as address some negatives I found online in other reviews.

The main character is Mare.  This is a world segregated by the type of blood you have, red or silver.  The Silvers are the elite, and you might say rightly so, as they have different types of powers such as:  the ability to read minds, to control people's minds, to control metal or other things around them, immense strength, ability to control the movement of water, and so many others.  The Reds, like Mare, do not have powers, and so they are made to work for the Silvers. This includes factory work, farming, and serving on the front line of the armies to protect their country.  But while they do all these things, for the most part they live in poverty.  And when they reach a certain age, 17, they can be conscripted to join the army if they do not already have a job lined up by being an apprentice.  Three of Mare's sisters have already been conscripted.  She has a sister that is an apprentice.  But she is turning 17 and will be conscripted very soon.  Until one night she runs into an interesting boy about her age outside of a local pub.  Now Mare's talent is pickpocketing and theft.  Unfortunately this boy catches her in the act.  There is something about him though, Mare can tell he isn't from their area.  It's possible he may be a Silver.  She is lucky when he lets her go without pressing charges.

The next morning she is awoken by the King's guards at her family's door.  She has been given a job to work in the palace as a servant.  One thing the Silvers do is to have kind of gladiator matches between their own to show off their powers.  And it is okay if one of them gets hurt really bad, they have healers.  Mare arrives at the palace right before the Queenstrial is about to begin. This is where available girls from the higher ranking families will compete to try to win the hand of the Prince, in order to become the future Queen.  Mare is serving at this, and has now realized that the boy who helped her that night is the Prince.  The heir to the throne.  At the Queenstrial, the booth that Mare is serving begins to fall due to one of the girl's powers, and she falls into open air and lands on the electric force field shield that should be protecting everyone from the girls' powers.  Only she doesn't die, she discovers that she has some strange power, something to do with electricity, and she is able to save her own life.  Well, this is not good in the eyes of the Silvers, Reds should not have any powers!  She is again lucky that this was witnessed by all the people it was, because the King and Queen cannot just kill her, and it is not in their best interest to let people know she is a Red.  So an elaborate background story is created to make people believe she is actually a Silver.

Now Mare becomes Mareena, and she must learn how to behave like a proper Silver as they have decided to betroth her to the younger prince Maven, so they can keep an eye on her, and maybe use her powers to increase their own. But all isn't what it seems, and there are many other intrigues going on in the palace, as well as with a new rebel group, the Red Guard.  Mare must learn who she can trust, and who she will fight for.

I loved the story.  It was so well imagined and planned out.  I feel like for the most part the differences were well explained between the Reds and Silvers.  There was history given, although I wonder about other things, like how did they get to be different colored blood?  Were they ever the same?  The story was action packed, as well as being very much where it kept me guessing till the end.  While there was one point where I thought someone could not be as good as they were, I was really convinced by the end that they were a good person.  There was just no way they couldn't be.  As for the love story.  Well, yes, there was some. Between both Mara and Cal, the older prince who had first brought her to the Palace.  But as he was betrothed to the winner of the Queenstrial, she began to fall in love with Maven.  And I really thought they were good together.  There was a moment of two when it kind of seemed like maybe a love triangle, but no, I think she was really in love with Maven and over Cal.  Honestly, it could have been called a love square?  Because there was also her friend from back home, Kilorn.  But while it seemed there may be something more than just friendship there.  it never was made to be that Mara had any feelings like that for him.  And so I thought that was done perfectly as well.  And now, I must wait for book 2.  And I don't know how I'll do that!  Love, love, LOVED this book!  Highly recommended to people who like dystopian/fantasy type of stories.