Sunday, 17 January 2016

YA Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This Christmas when Red Queen turned up in our Christmas stocking we couldn't wait to get lost in it's pages. Described as Divergent meets Game of Thrones, the debut novel of Victoria Aveyard had our immediate attention! A Screenwriting graduate, Victoria struggled to find meaningful employment and wrote Red Queen during her first year out of college. 

The book blurb reads:

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 ...

Incredible fan art by Nixitnart
In the opening chapter we were concerned that Mare was too similar to Katniss in The Hunger Games, as both heroines live in poor societies where they are suppressed by a cruel upper class and must turn to thieving to survive. BUT fear not, Red Queen quickly asserts itself as a unique world and story. 

In the book society is broken down by a class divide between silvers and reds which is based on the colour of blood, those with silver blood have superhero abilities whilst those with red blood are mere mortals. The powers the silvers possess are wide and varied but each silver is born with just one special ability, which will generally run in their family. Silvers live lavishly enjoying wealth and luxury that costs them nothing but the lives of meaningless reds.

Our heroine Mare is a red who smarts at the unfairness of the system that so many reds are afraid to question. But Mare soon discovers that she is not a powerless red as she had been led to believe - Mare is something more. Discovered by the silvers, Mare is brought to live in the palace and is forced to masquerade as a long lost silver. 

Engaged to a prince, Mare must play her role and live her life as a charade or risk execution. We don't want to say any more about the plot as the story deserves to be read without too much knowledge but suffice to say this book is up there with the greatest YA fantasy novels we've ever read and we already have the second book in the series Glass Throne pre-ordered. 

Fans of YA literature with a strong female protagonist, dark and intriguing love interests (TWO princes anyone!) and a surprising and captivating plot should pick up a copy pronto. 

If you have read and enjoyed Red Queen, you should also love Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Vendetta by Catherine Doyle .

Victoria Aveyard and Elizabeth Banks
Red Queen has already been optioned to be released as a film by Universal Studios and is rumoured to have Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect) attached to direct, 

To find out more about author Victoria Aveyard and her debut novel Red Queen check out her facebook and twitter.

Red Queen is best suited for ages 14+ and is available for purchase now. It is published by Orion Books and retails for around €6.99.

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