Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was one of my summer reading books and I am so glad it was! Usually summer reading can be pretty bland, but this book was classic modern young adult fiction and I loved it!
Red Queen is set in a vaguely futuristic land in which humans’ blood is one of two colors – plain Red, or Silver. People with Red blood are the commoners, the working class citizens, and live in poverty. People with Silver blood are the upper class aristocrats and royalty. Their blood doesn’t just mark their class – Silvers have supernatural powers that, to quote the back cover blurb, ‘makes them nearly gods.’ Reds look up to and fear the Silvers because of this.
The main character is a teenage girl named Mare Barrow, a Red, who works as a pickpocket to help her family. Her brother fights in the national war, just like the other young men in her village (unsurprisingly, the underprivileged Reds are the ones who do actual fighting). After a surprising encounter followed by an even more surprising twist of fate, Mare finds herself in the royal palace, where she discovers she has powers. Silver powers.
Except she’s still a Red.
I loved the descriptive language in this book, particularly when it came to the royal palace and the glittering royal intrigue. However, her use of that same descriptive tone equally embellished the poverty-stricken environment Mare grew up in. It was all so vivid and really just phenomenal.
I also got really attached to all the characters. There was Mare, of course, the dynamic and powerful female lead. Her resentment towards the Silvers was perfectly balanced with her desire to fit in, turning her adventure into an almost Beauty and the Beast-type situation. Speaking of romance, I felt like the friction between the two princes, Cal and Maven, was really well developed. They were both so different in their own way and (if you’re like me) you couldn’t decide which one you liked the best.
Yes, there was death. With rebels and wars and such, that’s really to be expected. The action would go stale at times (as is life in a castle), but it would always pick up with a fresh plot twist or betrayal or returning side character who turns out to be more important than you thought they’d be…
This book was full of technology and medieval customs, looming threats and underlying plots, and gorgeously crafted societies, lands and people. For fans of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, this book is just fantastic.