Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

4.5/5 Stars
Published by HarperTeen
Published February 10th, 2015

Synopsis: Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood - those with common, Red Blood serve the Silver blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. 

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard - a growing Red rebellion - even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. 

Holy cow! This book was freaking fantastic! Red Queen is Victoria Aveyard's debut novel and it opened at number 1 on The New York Times young adult best-seller list, making her the first author to have her book debut at No. 1! This is one of the few books I've read that has kept my mind reeling - five hours later and I am still in awe of what went down. Red Queen has been compared to The Hunger Games and The Selection Series, but it very much stands on its own. There are many aspects to this story that sets it aside from a lot of the books that have been published in the past few years.

The writing style, for one, is very unique and almost taunting, as if it beckons to draw you in (then ruin you slowly). There is a lot of emotion that goes into the words, which is evident from the moment you begin the book. This leads to wonderful world building and character development, two of my 'make or breaks' when it comes to books. Victoria Aveyard discussed that the setting of this story is based off the northeastern United States in a couple centuries or so, making it especially interesting to try and imagine this dystopian world. There is a lot of potential for further development in the next installment, so I am very excited about that.

Now let's get on to the characters! Red Queen has such an amazing cast of characters, all of which with different motivations and personalities. Mare Barrow, I feel, is one of the best developed characters I've read about. I liked how she handled her situations, despite how difficult it was for her to adjust to this new environment. She was not afraid to be vulnerable and fight her emotions head on. Plus, I found that she was flawed and made mistakes. There were people who did not like her and did not forgive her for what she did, which made her character all the more relatable. Cal and Maven were both such wonderful companions to Mare, it almost reminded me of Celaena with Chaol and Dorian from Throne of Glass. Cal and Maven really added a lot of depth to the storyline. There was so much not revealed as soon as we dived into the book, so as the story moved along, watching them develop was really eye opening.

What I especially liked was that the romance was not the main focus of the plot, which makes the story even better. The plot is dramatic and so complicated, it's hard to keep up with what is happening. I found myself reading passages over and over because it was just so good! It is action packed, filled to the brim with turmoil, and there's magic! Who doesn't love magic!? The incorporation of this element of magic made the book so interesting to read. I loved learning about the different noble houses and their abilities, plus meeting the side characters from those houses was an added bonus. The magic made me crave a moment in their shoes. There was also this crazy plot twist I did not see coming, which opened up a huge door of opportunities for the next book. Overall this book was utterly fantastic and it makes me hope that one day I'll wake up with the power to summon lightning - then I'll be the little lightning girl.