I really overdosed on the dystopia, my dears. I am so tired of the masses who nod like zebras doing what they’re told until some unwilling teen anti-hero is forced to do something about it. Bleak, depressing, sometimes crazy worlds are run by self-important scientists or ego-maniacal leaders who oppress the masses into either a bland, guileless lump of yes-men or a terrified and helpless group of donkeys who keep their heads down so they stay attached. It’s no wonder that I did a quick 180 into the world of YA contemporary. I needed a palate cleanser, for sure.
And then, along came Red Queen.
I’ll admit it: the cover is what initially drew me in. Every time I saw it on the internets, it called to me. And since I couldn’t escape from its siren song, I knew I had to see if it would pull me back in to the genre. At first, I scoffed. It wasn’t doing the trick. But slowly, deliciously and mysteriously, it got me.
While standard dystopian memes are present, at first you can’t even tell in which century it takes place. Then there are clues, such as the mention of steel. Then electricity. It’s as if historical fiction, steampunk, SciFi and Game of Thrones wrote Ben Hur together while sharing a cup of tea that was strained through a razor blade and an old sock. In a good way.
The Stilts is where the Reds live in Mare Barrow’s world. The Silvers, named so for their silver blood, are the royalty and the wealthy. The Reds are the poor, living in squalor and fighting the wars that the Silvers start. Those teens who aren’t apprenticed get sent to the front, and that’s where Mare’s three older brothers are now. Mare will soon follow, but until then, she will continue to steal so her family can eat. But one day, she tries to pickpocket the wrong man, and he catches her. Curiously, instead of turning her in, he releases her. And gets her work so she won’t have to go to the front and fight the Lakelanders.
The Reds have a closer enemy than the Lakelanders, and it’s the Silvers. Silvers possess amazing abilities that have kept them in power for too long. And when an accident causes Mare to discover her own shocking strengths, will she be able to use them to help the Scarlet Guard overthrow the status quo…and possibly her benefactor? And is she the only one like this, or are there others?
As I tweeted the other day, it has been a while since I have started a series where I was impatient for book #2; but, alas, it is another year until the sequel. So, in the meantime, I suggest that author Victoria Aveyard, who is also an LA screenwriter, get started pitching this book for a movie series.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was published February 10, 2015 by Orion. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher, the Author and NetGalley.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Fantasy Romance Series
Ages: 13 and up