Sunday, January 18, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Avelard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 
  • ISBN-10: 0062310631 - Hardcover $ 17.99
  • HarperTeen (February 10, 2015), 400 pages. 
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program

The blurb:
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.
To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into 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 her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.
From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

I'd been drawn to Red Queen largely because it was described as similar to "Graceling" and while the lead character, Mare, does have special skills that are both unexpected and not immediately apparent, Red Queen doesn't deliver the same level of excitement or wonder.

In Red Queen, there are two main classes, the silver blooded and the red blooded.  The Silvers have power and wealth and each Silver has one special power.  The special powers enable them to draw upon their physical world and to perform amazing feats.  The Reds lack this magical ability and are removed from power as well as riches.  Mare is a Red who holds a unique power and to maintain the social order, those in power decide that Mare should be disguised as a Silver to shield the truth that a Red can wield magical power as well.  Mare's power is so great that the King betroths her to his son, the Prince, to maintain this fiction and co-opt her.

Mare is brought in with young Silvers to train and learn how to master her powers.  There's plenty of young romance brewing but I found that I didn't care about Mare.  While Red Queen has the building blocks of a strong adventure story, I had hoped for more.

About the Author:
Victoria Aveyard recently graduated from USC, where she majored in screenwriting. She has sold several television pilots and feature-length screenplays, and is currently represented by the Hollywood management company Benderspink. Red Queen is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles, and you can visit her online at