By Victoria Aveyard
BookMattic's Rating: 3.5/5
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.11/5
Step into a world in the far future where the human race has been split into Red and Silver, where Reds are normal people like you and I but live in poverty and are slaves to the ‘Godlike’ Silvers who have special abilities such as being able to shoot fire out of your hands or being able to move anything that is metal with your mind, kind of like Magneto in X-Men. They're not called Red and Silver just for the heck of it, Reds have red blood and Silvers have silver blood.
In Red Queen the main character, Mare Barrow and her family live in a suburb called the stilts. It's basically the ghettos where all the Reds live just outside one of the many bustling Silver cities where life is luxurious. Mare, her three brothers and one sister and the rest of the Reds live two purposes, either they serve as servants to the Silvers doing specific jobs, or get conscripted at the age of 18 to fight in a war with the Lakelanders that has been going on for a hundred years with no apparent end in sight. Most Reds know that getting conscripted means death.
It turns out that all of Mare’s brothers get conscripted but fortunately Mare has a chance meeting, unknowingly at the time, with the Silver Prince Cal disguised as a Red. He feels bad for her and puts her name in to get her a job at the palace as a Red servant which saves her from having to go fight, and inevitability die in the dreadful war. As the story goes along Mare finds out in a very public manner during a battle in an arena, kind of reminding me of Hunger Games here, that she has the ability to control electricity. The Silver King and Queen see this with their own eyes and decide to come up with a plan to hide her true identity as a Red, and engage her to marry the second Prince, Maven.
Mare has been forced to leave everything and everyone, including herself, that she has known and loved her whole life to pose as Silver, she despises Silver, yet she is bound to have to marry one because she knows that her family’s life is at stake if she doesn't submit to the Silver King and Queen.
I could go on describing the story but I don't want to give away too much detail. There are a few critiques I would like to mention however. This is a story meant for teens since it's a YA novel and therefore the language isn't difficult to understand at all. The author Victoria Aveyard uses a tactic I rarely ever see. She writes in present simple tense most of the time. Most novels and stories are written using any of the past tenses. To me it was very hard to get used to this and felt unnatural to the rhythms of the story. Also the underlying conflict between the upper class Silvers and common Red slaves with a rebellion thrown in the mix where the hide out of the rebellion leader is in a place that was destroyed long ago reminds me WAY too much of Hunger Games or Divergent.
Mare is an interesting character and strong heroine who is not afraid to make the wrong choices even if it means death but too many aspects of the book remind me of other stories that have already been written. There are some twists to this ‘Hunger Games’ type story, and no it’s not exactly like Hunger Games or any other book, as the characters have abilities which does make the story very entertaining and unique. Red Queen is an adventure that many people will enjoy and some won't so much. In the end the story gets a little predictable. Let's hope that Glass Sword puts a little more effort into the originality of the story.