Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queen

3.5 out of 5 stars

I was given an ARC of this book.

This novel is part superpowers, part typical dystopian subjugation leading to rebellion, and part political intrigue. Those with silver blood have amazing powers and lead lives of luxury and ease. Those with red blood are ordinary, powerless, and generally get the sh*t end of every existing stick possible.

Mare is an ordinary red until she very publicly discovers her own superpowers. Suddenly the royal family is facing an upset of epic proportions. With rebellion already fomenting, reds realizing that silvers are not the only ones with powers could push the country into straight up civil war. The royals offer Mare a deal. In exchange for not immediately executing her, she is given the chance to pretend to be silver and marry a prince. She accepts, but is not going to be lead so docilely into betraying her people. Mare must now walk a thin line between rebellion and execution.

The overarching plot has been done before and done in more compelling ways. YA literature is awash with unfair, awful, despotic governments getting overthrown by a ragtag group of rebels. It is about 1/3 of the literature right now. The part that is unique is the inclusion of superpowers. We have everything from telepathy, to water and fire powers, to a female version of the X-men’s Magneto. I love books about people with superpowers. I have spent long periods of time contemplating what my own superpower would be. I appreciate the inclusion of straight-up, comic book style superpowers into one of my favourite genres. It adds a flair that, without which, the book would have fallen flat.

The romance part of the book is typical and the characters do not grown much, but there is one hell of a twist ending. You will not see it coming. It was very surprising and very well done.

The twist ending and the awesome super-power combat scenes made this book a 4. The somewhat dull interludes in between combat made it a 3, so I split the difference. The horror that the reds feel at being ground under the foot of a despotic government did not hit me as hard as in some other works. Maybe I am just becoming jaded to this genre, but I usually feel stronger about these types of stories. This one was a little more tepid than I had expected, but I was expecting quite a bit.

This is a good, solid addition to the genre. It does not break enough of the rules to make it spectacular, but has enough originality that it is still worth a read.


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