Well, fair readers, cabin fever has officially set in. I have been snowed in all day and am not enjoying it in the least but, the plus side of not being able to leave your property? You get tons of reading done! And I started and finished one of my favorite books of all time that will most definitely be going down in my hall of fame.
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.
What a homicidal synopsis (meaning killer, for those of you who haven’t seen my other blog posts). I ordered Red Queen long ago and honestly completely forgot it was coming out in February until it just showed up in my Kindle and I thought: Oh yeah! I forgot I ordered this! So, I looked it over for a couple days, thinking, I really should read the other books first … And I wanted to ― I so wanted to ― read the others first but Red Queen grabbed a hold of me and I was totally sucked into the dangerous world of Mare Barrow.
I’ve read the other reviews of Red Queen and I agree with most of them, however there are those that say that the book can be boring, so I am going to go ahead and set the record straight.
THIS BOOK IS THE FARTHEST THING FROM BORING.
Aside from my well-known favorite, The Infernal Devices, this book held me and captivated me like no other. At every second, I was anticipating the next turn. There were a couple dry paragraphs but that was it! And if we cannot stay focused and suffer through the few boring paragraphs in this book, we do not deserve to read it!
That being said, I’ll continue.
Mare was genius, absolutely genius! Her character seemed slightly boring, slightly dull. She was born in the slums of her country and had a homely appearance, as far as I could tell. She was never described as beautiful and her hair was said to always look terrible and she often complained about not being as beautiful as her younger sister. She seems like a background character! Of course, this is far from the case, as Mare is the storyteller.
Young Mare is a thief and she steals for a living. Her family knows it and so do others around her. She often trades through the black market or the underground, as some call them. Most of Mare’s family has been conscripted into the military by this point and she is always eager to hear from her favorite brother, a boy named Shade. Mare is fairly content with her life, even with her fate, because in her small town, without a job, everyone is conscripted into the military after age 18. And Mare is rapidly approaching that age. But she is resigned to her life and fate. That is, until best friend Kilorn’s master dies and Kilorn suddenly has no job. Being past the age of 18, Kilorn is to be conscripted. Effective immediately.
Desperate to find a way to save Kilorn, Mare tries to find a way to smuggle him out. She comes in contact with a woman named Farley, who claims to be a part of the “Scarlet Guard,” and agrees to smuggle Kilorn and Mare out of the city, for a lofty price. Mare agrees to the deal and convinces her sister to bring her to where the Silvers, an elite race of people ― people that rule over the Reds ― have their largest marketplace. Why? Because Mare is going to steal from them.
It’s quite the complicated plan, but Mare thinks it’ll work. As you can expect, things go awry. Mare learns that Farley and the Scarlet Guard are behind several bombings that have wrecked the nation. And then, to top it all off, Gisa, Mare’s little sister, tries to steal for Kilorn and is caught. Mare tries to help her but the guards break Gisa’s hand anyway, which means Gisa will never be able to work again meaning … she’ll have to go into the military, too!
So, when Mare is feeling quite terrible for getting Kilorn’s hopes up and completely obliterating Gisa’s future, she goes to a bar to try to steal from her own people. That’s when a handsome stranger shows up. And guess what? The handsome stranger is a prince! He gets Mare this awesome job at the palace and that’s when everything goes downhill.
Mare learns that, though it doesn’t seem possible, she has powers of her own. Powers only Silvers should have! Because of this, the king concocts this crazy scheme to paint Mare into Mareena, a lost Silver princess. And then he declares that his son will marry her. Not the son that got her the job at the palace, the charming prince who met her in the bar in her town, but his younger son ― the son that won’t be king. Like Mare isn’t good enough to rule alongside Cal. Ugh. And besides, Cal and Mare would have been beautiful together!!!!!
Throughout this incredible story of loss and betrayal, Mare continues to be a brilliant character. It isn’t that she is moral or righteous or sweet or compassionate ― not that she doesn’t display these attributes ― but it’s that she’s real! She acts like a real person would in her situation. She betrays just as much as she is betrayed. Of course, she doesn’t love it, but she has to in order to keep herself and everyone else she loves safe. But it won’t be easy, because she has been told to trust no one. And she is trying so hard, but how can she not trust someone she loves?
Ugh, okay, this book has me totally in pieces. I love the way it ends and hate it. I have never felt so much heartbreak as I felt in this book and guess what? I learned something about myself! I learned that I am a hopeless romantic and the reason I don’t have a boyfriend is because my expectations of men are too high. Why? Because I expect them to be like the characters in the books I read.
Dear guys: I recognize you will not ever be like the charming William Herondale (Infernal Devices) but can’t you please try?!?
Mare’s ability to trust drove me absolutely insane! The whole time, I was caught thinking, “She’ll remember that she can’t trust anyone here in a second …” But the longer the story went without any change, I began trusting! And that’s the worst thing ever, when the reader begins to trust the villain, begins to sympathize with them. I was so worried, insanely worried, but I can’t tell you why because that would be a total spoiler! But it’s so tempting because I can’t believe she fell for him and totally cast away the one I wanted her to be with and WHY, MS. AVEYARD, WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?
All hope is not lost, though. At the end, it is redeeming, at most. Maybe she’ll be with him after all.
See what I’m saying? I didn’t know I was a hopeless romantic until this book totally broke me apart! I can’t believe it ended like that. I’m in tears. Not really, but I should be.
If I were to complain about one thing, it would probably be that Cal was not defined enough. He did not have enough depth to his character, which was sorely disappointing. I can only hope that in Book 2 (because there must be a Book 2) more thought is put into his character.
I think more than anything, this book made me angry. White-hot, tear the book apart angry. But I wasn’t mad at the book; I was mad at the characters! Sometimes mad at Mare but it was unusual. When you read the book, you’ll understand the depth of my hate towards certain characters.
Including one named Evangeline. She wasn’t the source of all my hate, but she definitely deserves a little paragraph of her own. The little witch thought she was perfect and could do no wrong and continued to insult Mare and gloat that she was marrying Cal and Mare wasn’t.
Okay, so part of me wanted Mare to respond with dignity and turn her nose up to Evangeline and tell her everything that witch needed to hear while another part of me wanted her to respond like:
Unfortunately, Mare did neither of these things.
Really, other than Cal’s slightly (and I stress slightly because I freaking loved his character) underdeveloped personality, everyone and everything else was absolutely genius and I can promise you I’ll be among the first to buy and read Ms. Victoria Aveyard’s next books. This is definitely one of my top 10 favorite books in the world and I would recommend this book to anyone.
What’s on your bookshelf?