I seem to be on a bit of a young adult binge as of late, particularly in the realm of fantasy. It’s not a bad thing, really. In a way stories help distract me from the things in life that bring me down, and there’s been a lot of that going on the past year. As a result, I’m already several books behind on my reading goal, so I really need to get my ass into gear. Earlier today, I finished listening to the audiobook of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and I absolutely loved it. Amanda Dolan is also an excellent narrator, with a pleasant voice and a perfect pace.
Red Queen takes place in the country of Norta, one of many lands where every day people like Mare Barrow (humans, like us) face oppression from the elite. In a story that echoes the fight for equality, readers are carried along for the ride as Mare, whose blood is red, strives to bring equality to her people when a mishap and mutation put her in the lap of good fortune. The Silvers, or the elite, rule the Reds, and though they look much the same as a normal human, their blood is silver and they have special abilities. It is because of these abilities that they hold themselves superior to the far weaker Reds, forcing them into a life of submission and servitude.
With her new responsibilities, Mare finds herself caught up in a revolution – one where you can expect betrayal at any point. Aveyard’s characters are written in such a believable way that it is difficult to pinpoint their true natures. In the same manner that one might say beauty is only skin deep, the characters of Red Queen all wear masks – or do they?
Many books lose me when there is a lull in the plot. Oftentimes if I feel like I have to force-feed myself several pages, I am far less likely to finish the book. I am also more likely to be lost if the major plot is romance oriented, rather than conflict. While Red Queen does have some elements of romance, there’s never any definite answer as to who gets the girl (I suppose that’s something we’ll see in the later books), and that’s because Mare’s focus is solely on herself, her loved ones, and the cause for which she serves. The main function of the book is to tell the story of the Reds rising up against the Silvers, rather than focus on a forbidden romance, like many of the young adult books I’ve read have done.
I can’t wait for it to be my turn with Glass Sword, the second book in the series. Red Queen has also been optioned for a film, so here’s to hoping it’s at least somewhat as good as the book.