In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.
Mare Barrow is a Red. In a world full of Silvers with unimaginable powers, being a Red means a life of poverty, struggle, and conscription to war on your eighteenth birthday. Seventeen-year-old Mare lives her life as a pickpocket waiting for her conscription until she discovers she is something different, something special that takes her from living under the rule of a Silver fist to living among them. As Mare is forced into a world of luxury, wealth, and ways she never could have imagined, she tries to navigate her new surroundings and learn the rules of this world. And most importantly she tries to learn who she can really trust.
One of the things I absolutely love about this book is the way Aveyard expresses the complexity of a world divided by power. Reds are without powers while Silvers carry superhuman X-men like abilities. The impression that the Silvers’ rule is absolute comes across to the Reds who are under their rule, and the readers. Then the mask peels back and a world in which power balances on the edge of a blade takes the forefront. The strong are not all powerful and the weak are not completely without power. That’s a recipe for deceit, unusual alliances, and rebellion.
While Red Queen features some of the typical aspects of the YA genre (the love triangle, the girl who doesn’t realize how special she is, etc.) the political subplots and power ploys proves to be an interesting twist. This is a more subtle and intellectual battlefield. One where power truly is the most dangerous game.