A Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard…
Victoria Aveyard shocked the dystopian YA Fiction community when she published her book titled Red Queen midyear 2015. The book, set in a fictional time period somehow perfectly encrypted with the dark features of steampunk and the futuristic interpretations of technology and knowledge, allows the reader to be caught up in the fantastic fantasy of it all. She manages to incorporate the brutality and beauty of war and royalty like the famed book series and television show adaptation Game of Thrones; she gave different families within the series, names with houses assigned including colors and different powerful abilities. These abilities, as I read, kept reminding me of something out of the X-Men movie series: with the power of lightning, mind control and invisibility as well as some kick-butt awesome moments of fighting and training.
Mare Barrow, a ‘Red’ girl who lives in a village must learn to overcome the terrible standards and war-torn country she’s been born into; she is automatically disadvantaged because of the blood that runs through her veins. Titled as one of the Reds because of her heritage and her blood, she mourns the memory of her brothers who had been sent into a war that’s been waged for a very long time before the book even begins. Most of the young children of the nation are drafted into the war at a certain age unless they are apprenticed for a certain talent, which her sister has, granting her immunity from being shipped off to war. This element of tension holds her to a different standard, as she believes, and feels more useless to her family because of this, resorting to thievery. Mare, unfortunately, is almost at the age where she is ready to join the fight, as well as her long time friend, side-kick and tormentor, Kilorn. The war, controlled by those known as Silvers, are the bourgeois of their society. With rich and lavish exploits of power and control resembling that of Rome with parthenon’s dedicated to combat. The Silvers are named due to their blood which runs a lustrous silver hue.
The book is dark with themes of violence, war and rebellion. For Mare, the fight between life and death is much more difficult when she discovers she is different–but different doesn’t even begin to describe it. With people starving around the country and ruthless leaders around every corner, Mare will become a symbol of more than just Red and Silver blood. She will become more.
Easy to read, the juicy text and inner monologues of the protagonist is told in the first perspective, allowing certain factors to come into play and surprise us as readers into a shocked state of lethargy. Entropy surrounds the lavish kingdoms of the Silvers, allowing corruption and the derailment of the true standards that have become lost to time.
Of course, Mare must choose between what she knows and what she fears the most, what she is and who she may become, but she knows that she symbolizes a revolution on the most epic proportions.
If I said anything more, I’d be giving tremendous spoilers.
Not overridden by the concept of love but rather by the concepts of human nature and the wickedness that comes with power, those who enjoy political maneuvers and edgy/mysterious texts will greatly enjoy this action packed saga.
Although set in YA Fiction, like the book Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the series itself, it wraps around the harsh truths of life and doesn’t shy away from being graphic. War is symbolic, beautiful and gruesome and Victoria Aveyard manages to make it all seem like a seamless choice of family and burden.
If you read the book, I encourage you to write your reactions to the plot twist of epic proportions below! If it helps, this is how I felt…
Although the pool of readers of Aveyard’s work seem divvied between adoration and aberration, I give this book a solid 5/5 for being unique and creative, dark and witty, among other things.
For more on Victoria Aveyard: http://victoriaaveyard.blogspot.com/
Go read the second book after you gobble the first, Glass Sword, and read the summary here!: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23174274-glass-sword
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! 🙂