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Monday, May 16, 2016

Lefty's Lowdown: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
(Red Queen #1)
Published: February 10, 2015 by HarperTeen
Source: purchased
Summary from Goodreads: 
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.
 I scored this baby for $1 at a LGBTQ thrift shop I was volunteering for in Atlanta. If that doesn't set the groundwork for a good find, I don't know what does. And a good find it was! Red Queen was everything I was hoping it would be: intense, with a sharp-tongued heroine, a bad case of social stratification, magic and charming boys! Right from the beginning, I was, in the words of my Goodreads status update, hooked so hard.

So, I'm not really sure if this book is considered dystopian or fantasy? I guess it does not really matter, because the bottom line is the world that Victoria Aveyard has created is utterly engrossing. The concept is that there are two different types of blood in the world. The Silvers are royalty. They have magic and money--and closed minds. The Reds are considered lesser. They scour for work so they don't have to fight in the ongoing war. Mare, the aforementioned sharp-tongued protagonist, doesn't have any skills to land her a job, though. She's a thief, and a damn good one. That all changes when she tries to steal from the wrong person. Mare lands a job at court and she learns about the cutthroat nature of the royal Silvers. Like I said, excellent world building. I couldn't help but be sucked into the politics and the society and the unique magical aspects. Seriously, I loved learning about the different types of magic in this world. Aveyard's creativity really shone when she developed the Red Queen universe.

Earlier, when I mentioned the charming boys, I wasn't kidding. There is somewhat of a love triangle present in this book, but it's not the annoying kind, I assure you. There's Cal and Maven, and I don't want to tell you much about them because that will give some spoilers that you need to experience for yourself. But just know that they both have their moments of glory, and while I didn't want to like one of them, I couldn't help but be charmed along the way. And then there's Kilorn, who is Mare's best friend, and not really a romantic interest. But I loved him. He is scrappy, and clearly cares about Mare. As of right now, I am Team Kilorn.

Red Queen is a book that calls loyalty into question. A book in which you're never sure what's true and who to trust. A book that is fast-paced and ensnaring. A book with strong writing and twists that will keep you turning pages faster than your fingers can handle. Red Queen is a great start to what I'm praying will be a dynamic series. I cannot wait to get my paws on book number 2.

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