Series: Red Queen #1
Published by Orion on February 10th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Length: 12 hours 42 minutes
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This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...
This book has a lot of strong opinions out there about it. For the longest time, I was fairly wary about it because I had heard such mixed things. A lot of people really loved this book and a lot of people really hated it. I had no idea which camp I would fall into! A friend of mine (Jessica!) loves this series though and convinced me to give it a shot. Well, I was completely surprised to find myself in the “love it” camp!!
I loved listening to this on audiobook! The narrator was fantastic and made me fall in love with the characters. She really brought the characters and the world to life for me and I couldn’t put it down! I listened to the whole first half of the book in one day. It’s possible that the talented narrator is a big reason I enjoyed this book. I may not have loved it as much as I did if I read it physically. Still, I really enjoyed so many aspects of this book and I would like think I would have enjoyed it regardless of the format.
I loved that this was a combination of a fantasy world and a dystopian world. I thought it was a really interesting combination and reminded me a little of the world from The Young Elites, which I consider to also be a fantasy dystopian world (but is still very different from the world in this book). There is also an element of DNA and genetic mutations, so there’s a little scifi vibe in there too! Such a unique combination in my mind. I’ve heard that one reason some people don’t like this book is because they feel like it’s a mash up of other YA books and things that have been done before. I can see where people are coming from with that and I can definitely make some parallels with other YA books I’ve read. But honestly, I really liked the way those different elements were brought together and I felt like it was done in a unique way. I loved the competition setting and the different powers all the silvers had. I feel this book is a fresh take on some tropes we have seen before.
I enjoyed the characters in this book more than I expected! I thought Mare (which admittedly is a strange name) was a smart girl who cares fiercely about her family. I especially connected to her relationship with her younger sister. There are multiple love interests in this book and I honestly was so torn about who I shipped and who I trusted! I’m typically a fan of the “best friend turned romance” story line, but the other love interests in this book were so compelling to me that I was truly torn! View Spoiler »So of course I started by shipping Mare and Kilorn! Then Cal came along and I thought he was pretty cute too. Then Maven was so dashing and princely that I couldn’t resist him either! My heart was so torn throughout this book! « Hide Spoiler There was some instant attraction happening at the beginning of the story, but I was able to see past that pretty easily and still fall in love with all the characters. The narrator definitely made me believe the relationships as they unfolded in this book.
This plot is action packed! Things happen one after the other and there were lots of twists and turns that I really enjoyed. The fast paced nature of the story kept me reading (slash listening) and I couldn’t put it down! The major plot twist near the end is something I had my suspicions about, so I wasn’t completely caught off guard. But at the same time, before it was revealed I couldn’t figure out how all the pieces fit together and how it exactly it would be pulled off. View Spoiler »I was definitely suspicious of Maven from the beginning – he seemed too good to be true! But eventually, he was so convincing that I started to fall for him too. I was definitely shocked by the big reveal! « Hide Spoiler So, in the end, I was still surprised to see how it all came together and it still really took me by surprise.
If you like fantasy and/or dystopian and a combination of those settings sounds interesting to you, I say give this book a shot! Who knows, it could work for you because it totally worked for me. I recommend going into the book open minded and you might be surprised with what you find. If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, I definitely recommend this on audiobook. The narrator is amazing and may have tipped the scales for me.