Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Monday, March 2, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
Pages: 383
Song I Played While Reading: What Kind of Man by Florence + The Machine
Rating: 5 stars

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.

Holy GUACAMOLE. Let's just take a minute here to appreciate this cover. This is simplicity at its finest. And now let me try and portray just how amazing this book is. 
It's flawless from start to finish. We've got an amazing set of characters that are so complex and flawed that no one is who they appear to be. We've got stunning writing, which makes me want to crawl into Aveyard's head and live there. We've got plenty of hotties (don't be discouraged; love is not really the main concept here). We've got an amazing narrator who knows her weaknesses and strengths, and uses them to her advantage. I mean this book hits all of those notches and more. What more could you ask for? 
This book has aspects of X-Men, The Hunger Games, The Grisha trilogy, and Wither (the first book in The Chemical Garden trilogy), so if you're a fan of any of those grab this book immediately. Even with these comparisons, this story holds its own. I can't wait to see how it progresses!

I'm struggling to write this review. I have so many things I want to say right now but can't pull them all apart to form a coherent thought. SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK. GAH
Lets start with guys.
I loved them all.
This is one of the few times where I don't have a preference for who the narrator picks. I was 100% okay with her being with Cal, Maven, or Kilorn. I knew Kilorn wasn't really in the running, but I still thought he was awesome. The top two contenders were Cal and Maven, and the fact that they're brothers makes it SO. MUCH. BETTER. I was taken off guard with how likable Maven was. He was a little brat in the beginning but quickly warmed up (no pun intended) to Mare and I loved him. I STILL love him. Even though he went to the dark and bitchy side (something I never in a million years saw coming and almost cried over), I have hope. Thought Mare believes it was all a lie, we see in his eyes he felt something for her. 
Cal was trickier. At some points I liked him, but at other times I didn't. Which is unusual cause he's the kind of character that I always root for, but.. I don't know. I can't put my finger on it. I was, however, drooling slightly at the end when they were in The Hunger Games situation and he was blasting his fire all over the place and willing to protect Mare, even though she ruined his life. And right at the end, when he's wrapping her up in his warmth to comfort her in the train, and they both look at each other and know they have the same goal (lets not discuss that, shall we?), it was smoldering. I was just picturing him and urghf, my mind got carried away. 
I really liked how the love triangle simmered during this book. You knew it was there, and there were little points in the book when it was mentioned, but you kind of forgot. I did. I could picture Mare and Maven being best friends. And speaking of best friends, I for sure thought Mare and Lucas would hit it off and be comrades in the Red Guard. They started off being sarcastic and nice to each other and theres NO better start to an epic friendship than with that. So the tears weren't a surprise when he was killed. It was heartbreaking, knowing that he was killed just because he looked the other way. No one deserves that. 
Okay, now lets discuss my favorite part of the book: THE POWERS. Epic and insane don't even come close to describing how cool the powers were. I figured there would be the usually 3-5 different kinds; fire, water, mind control, greenery, and a healer of some sort. I started writing them down in my journal, just so I could keep track of them, but quickly lost that battle when we got to the Queenstrial section and the princesses were demonstrating their powers. IT WAS SO FUCKING COOL AND STRAIGHT OUT OF X-MEN. 

"The electricity, the Silvers, and the shouts blur in my head as I watch nymphs and greenys, swifts, strongarms, telkies, and what seems like a hundred other kinds of Silver show off beneath the shield. Things I never dreamed possible happen before my eyes, as girls turn their skin to stone or scream apart walls of glass. The Silvers are greater and stronger than I ever feared, with powers I never even  knew existed. How can these people be real?"

My thoughts exactly. I was drunk off my giddiness. It was pretty apparent what Mares powers were during that Red bloodbath at Summerton, but I assumed she was a whisper when her and Kilorn were at the Feats of First Friday. Everyone was so awed over that power, and I still thought there were a select bunch of them, so I thought "Of course our heroine is going to have the scariest power of all." Sadly I was wrong. Electricity is wicked cool though, and I would totally take it. It would've been pretty ironic if Mare had a water ability, or even ice. That could've quickly shut up both our guys if they ever pissed Mare off. 
So much happens in this book, but Aveyard manages to weave it together with enough wit and action to keep my interest piqued. The ending is almost a cliffhanger, something I probably wouldn't have minded, but I loved the epilogue and how we get to meet Shade. I liked him from the beginning, so I'm beyond excited that he's going to be helping the cause and supporting Mare. She needs it. 
"In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don't believe that.
The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind."

"Dear family, I am alive. Obviously."

"I turn away, leaving him on the balcony to think on my words and, hopefully, drown in them."

"His kiss is not at all like his brother's. Maven is more desperate, surprising himself as much as me. He knows I'm sinking fast, a stone dropping through the river. And he wants to drown with me."

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