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red queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dustopian Fantasy
Rating:  3.5 Stars

The story follows Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old girl living in poverty with the rest of her cast, those who bleed red. Red blood means that you’re a working, slaving for the better of the people in the silver blooded station above, or worse that you’re shipped off to the lines of a pointless war with another nation who has the same hierarchy based on blood. But one day sees Mare in the Silver Court as a servant, and in an accident she finds she has a dangerous power similar to those that have silver blood.

Over all, the story was pretty interesting. Mare herself has no real skills of her own, at least none that she can sell like her sister’s ability to sew and embroider. Mare’s skills are more solidly in stealing, pickpocketing, and evading the police force that her little town has. But, having no marketable skill means that once she turns 18, she’ll be shipped off to the war to fight like her brothers before her.

Things in her little town start off a little slow, though that’s to be expected some because the author is setting up the world, the hierarchy of the class system, and letting us know that those with silver blood, those that rule, have different powers that make them more than the red they rule over.

Once we get to Court, everything picks up pace, and things are far more than they seem. As in any Court where the strong rule and the weak are usurped, no one is trust worthy, and everyone is suspect.

The intrigue, growth of Mare into herself and her strange new found power is fairly believable and well written. The plot twists were just the right amount of jerky that they kept you guessing, wondering, and at the end, for me anyway, stunned because I didn’t see the final twists coming.

Why then did I only give it 3.5 stars? Because there were somethings that I wish were done better. The description of the world is jarring over all. There’s electricity, there are power generators, there are televisions and cameras, even an underground tram and yet most live in simple houses, travel by boat or horseback, and short of the smaller things electricity isn’t used. So it’s in this odd not quite fantasy with no electricity but not quite dystopian either. From what I’ve heard from others that have talked to the author, it’s supposed to be expanded on and explained better in book two which comes out in 2016, but that’s a LONG way away to wait for a better description and explanation of exactly what kind of world Mare is living in. Setting wise, that should be ironed out in book one. If we live all of book one in it, we should know it.

The other reason is because I found some of the names for the powers a little… trivial. You have a power that allows command over people, down to being able to wipe memories, with just a voice called Singers, which feels quite appropriate given the power. And then you have the ability called Eyes, which is the ability to see into the future. It’s like she came up with powers but didn’t want to really think on names for some of them, and they were last minute additions to just make sure they had names. It makes it feel a little sloppy to me.

Over all, it’s definitely a good read, and I am curious on where book two will go when it’s finally out in a couple years.