Review Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Review Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Synopsis: Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
Rating: 5+/5 Stars
Must read! Must have!
Genres: Fantasy, Dystopia, Young Adult
Recommended to: fans of The Grisha Trilogy, Shatter Me, Lunar Chronicles, Throne of Glass, Defiance, The Selection
My thoughts:
“In the stories, the old fairy tales, a hero comes. But all my heroes are gone or dead. No one is coming for me.”
Wow, wow, wow. This book, guys. THIS BOOK. From start to finish, it traps you in and doesn't let go. If I were to pitch it, I'd say it's a successful and addictive combination between The Grisha Trilogy, The Selection, Shatter Me and something entirely unique. Dystopian and fantasy alike, Red Queen will have you at the edge of your seat, questioning every character and falling in love with some of them at the same time. Prepare yourself for sheer awesomeness, because this book definitely delivers.
“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.”
Victoria Aveyard created in Red Queen a beautiful, scary and unjust world. If you're a Silver, then you are born with supernatural abilities that entitle you to riches, education and power. They are the ultimate superiors. Reds are normal human beings, treated by Silvers as the dirt on their shoes and forced to fight their wars so they can live long, happy lives without moving a finger. But in between these strictly drawn lines that divide the powerful from the weak, a Red girl stumbles into the society of Silvers only to discover that she's just as special as them. And this is where the politics, a game of hide-and-seek, acting and plotting start.
Our main character, Mare Barrow, is forced to keep up the illusion of being a Silver in order to hide the impossibility of a gifted Red. But she's far from perfect. It was so easy to hate her sometimes, because she was naive, judgmental and down-right hypocrite. She's wild and indecisive and yet she still manages to learn from her mistakes. But what captivated me most about Mare was her inner strength to keep up the charade in order to save her own skin only to have it risked in a matter of seconds for a good and ultimate cause: destroying the system and making Reds and Silvers equal. This is when I realized just how selfless and ambitious she is and when my endless cheering for her badass demeanor actually started.
“Part of me wishes I could submit to chains, to captivity and silence. But I have lived that life already, in the mud, in the shadows, in a cell, in a silk dress. I will never submit again. I will never stop fighting.”
Let's talk boys, cause that's the icing on the cake and everybody loves cake and icing and boys and -- where was I? Oh yes, BOYS. Mare is betrothed to Prince Maven, but Crown Prince Cal tugs at her heartstrings like no other, even if she doesn't let herself admit it. Cal himself is engaged so you can see why this whole situation might be a bit, um, intricate.
“He does not like to lose. And”—he lowers his voice, now so close to me I can see the tiny flecks of silver in his eyes—“neither do I. I won’t lose you, Mare. I won’t.”
Maven will surprise you with his determination to achieve his goals and to get out of his brother's shadow. He's smart, patient and wickedly cute. I admired him and pitied him at the same time. But, unfortunately, he's no Cal. I don't know what made me love Cal so much from the start, but you could see he's compassionate and just, loyal and selfless. Not to mention pretty hot, protective, brave, clever and funny. Be still, my heart.
Now on the love triangle that is not actually a love triangle. Why? Well, how can I put it? You never know for sure that the boys actually love Mare. And half the time, one might think that she doesn't give a damn about them as well. Then it starts getting even more complicated. Because they use each other, because they betray each other and because they are lying to themselves. It's all a vicious circle that no one leaves unscathed or with their feelings clear. A love and hate storm where everyone switches their sides and lives with a treacherous heart. My dark soul was so so happy with this.
“Romance. We flinch at the word. There is no such thing between us anymore. Not after what we did to each other, and what was done to us. No matter how much we might want there to be.”
The secondary characters were wonderfully nuanced. Julian and Lucas were just great and a true evidence that not all Silvers aren't as stuck-up and arrogant. Kilorn infuriated me indirectly because Mare was getting herself into stuff she couldn't handle just so she could save him. The rest of Mare's family was actually awesome and Walsh, Farley and the rest of the Scarlet Guard have my unwavering respect. There's also the King -- I wasn't really his fan -- and Queen Elara that reminded me of Levana from The Lunar Chronicles (or maybe even Cersei from Game of Thrones). Both have astounding mind-controlling powers, both are wicked, selfish and double-faced vipers and both are easy to hate. As is Evangeline, evil incarnate and the devil's mistress.
Another aspect I completely loved about this book was how the author successfully managed to combine fantasy and dystopia to create a unique world. Although it's just the first in the series, Red Queen introduces us to tons of characters, some good, others mostly bad. And the plot is amazingly well planned, mixing politics with the world-building to ensure that readers won't know what hit them until the very end. The dynamics, the conspiracies, the confusing theories -- spectacular course of action, Miss Aveyard.
“I told you to hide your heart once. You should have listened.”
The beauty of Red Queen is that it doesn't shy away from showing the ugliness of a heart's desire and the betrayals that might entail. The characters are flawed in a beautiful, realistic way and it makes you care for them even if seconds ago you loathed them. There's no black and white in here. There's only instinct, hope, illusion and the inevitable betrayal.
“This world is Silver, but it is also gray. There is no black-and-white.”
There was a big twist that I actually anticipated, but didn't know how many chances it has to actually develop. So when the time came, it was gut-wrenching and still surprising to see it unfold. It finally put things into perspective about who's the real enemy, because until then you don't really know who the baddies are and who is your ally.
“The Guard won’t stop,” I say softly, but I know he’s barely listening anymore. “And while they are certainly to blame, you are as well. There is blood on your hands, Prince.” And Maven’s. And mine.”
The last chapters or so had me devouring page after page. I'm telling you, there are so many things happening that you can't keep up. The amount of FEELS you'll experience for some of the characters will leave you breathless. Sadness? Oh yeah. Pity? Loads of it. Anger? Heck, yes! Pride? Definitely. Now just give me the sequel so I won't die of anticipation and we're all good.
Red Queen will be a definite favorite among readers when it releases next year. It's a thrilling, unputdownable book emblazoned with forbidden romance, paralyzing action and an intriguing game of life or death. Hearts get crushed, loyalties are tested and a new beginning is set in motion. Rise, red as the dawn, and go read it when it releases. You won't be disappointed.
“Many things led to this day, for all of us. A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they’ve written a tragedy.”

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