Book Tuesday: ARC – Red Queen

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Title: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopian
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Pages: 320
Buy:Amazon

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

You know how you go into a book and think it’s one thing, but it ends up being something somewhat different than you expected, but still awesome? That was this book!

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From the description I thought it was simply another YA fantasy novel, but I think it had dystopian qualities to it.  It wasn’t bad, but it just threw me for a loop!

Mare is almost 18 and has no prospect for a job which means only one thing–conscription into the army and fighting at the front of the never ending war.  When her best friend loses his job and is faced with conscription–a death sentence for him–Mare is determined to save him any way she can.  A botched plan however, leads her to a chance meeting with the prince who gets her a job at the palace.  Once she gets there, she discovers she has powers never heard of for a Red.  Ones that threaten everything the Silvers control.  She now must play a political game, never knowing who she can trust.  The rebel leader thinks she’s the key to freedom, but her conflicting feelings for the two princes make her question where her loyalties lie.

The first part of the story is a bit slow.  I had some trouble getting into it, especially since I couldn’t tell if I liked Mare or not.  She was smart, but she was naïve.  I did enjoy her by the end though.  Her ability to fight for the ones she loved was admirable.  The two princes were fantastic.  I loved their character development.  Maven was easily likeable with his need to please his father and not live in his brother’s shadow.  Cal, in contrast, struggles with the responsibility he’s given as heir.  And the choices they make are shaped by these struggles.

Like I mentioned earlier, the world building threw me for a loop at first, but I adjusted.  It seemed very fantasy-based from the description, but they had cameras, factories, and other modern technologies such as electricity.  With the exception of Mare, there is magic in the Silvers–healers; fire starters; some can turn their skin into rock, while others can manipulate metal.  They reminded me of the X-Men a bit!

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The caste system was well developed.  The Silvers and the Reds were separated by their blood color (duh), with Reds being the weakest.  I thought the world building could have been better established, but it gave you enough to follow along.

The love “triangle” really doesn’t end up being a “triangle” (my favorite kind!).  From the middle to the end, the story really picks up and keeps you turning the page so don’t give up! You realize that the Queen is one crazy cat.  What she makes Mare and especially Cal go through really has your gut twisted in a knot.

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I will definitely be picking up the sequel.  I need to know what happens next!

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