Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'd heard so much about Red Queen, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I originally thought (because of the title) that it was a retelling of Alice and Wonderland from the Queen's perspective, however that is not true. Red Queen is a dystopian fantasy book about a girl named Mare, who grows up in a "Red" family in a world where people are divided by their Red or Silver blood. The Silvers have all the power and magical abilities, whereas the Reds are conscripted into military service. Mare, however, is sent to the palace to work for the royal family and discovers that she has mysterious magical abilities that should be impossible. She is then betrothed to a prince and begins to try to help her people from the position she acquired. Whilst this is happening, a rebel group called The Scarlet Guard is trying to save the Reds from oppression and build a new, fairer government.
Overall, I really enjoyed how all of the characters were rounded and well developed. The story always kept me on my toes, and I could only speculate what would happen next. Mare's family was a huge part of the story, and I could really tell how motivated she was to help them, despite their disapproval of how she made money for her family. I found the relationship between Mare and Cal/Mavin to be a trope, but I won't reveal any more for the purpose of making this review spoiler-free. The friendships in this story, particularly between Mare and her best friend, and Mare and Cal, were very central to the story and added a lot of depth to her character. There was one thing that annoyed me about the story, though, which was the use of the phrase, "I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding". The ending (basically the last hour of the audio-book) completely blew me away, and really made me love it more, which contributed to my five-star rating. I definitely recommend you give it a try if you love stories with strong female characters, fantastical elements, and well-developed characters.
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