Series: Red Queen #1
Publication Date: February 12th 2015
Source: Orion [Netgalley]
The closer it got to the release date of Red Queen, the more fantastic reviews I saw. I was saving this one for closer to it's release date - since I had tons of other review books to read - but trying to resist picking it up a lot sooner was extremely hard. Red Queen was a fantastic read. As soon as I picked it up I was hooked. I didn't want to put it down and kept trying to find half an hour to fit in another chapter or two during my busy week - I couldn't get enough!
Red Queen takes place in a dystopian fantasy world that is divided by blood. The Reds are commoners. The work hard and are very poor. They're ruled by the Silvers who are like royalty and have powers. Seventeen year old Red girl Mare Barrow is doing everything she can to help her family. Her older brothers have all been shipped off to war and on her eighteenth birthday, Mare will be next. One night when pick-pocketing, Mare comes across a strange and intriguing guy who helps her. The next morning she's taken to work at the Silver palace and discovers that the guy who helped her is Prince Cal, the heir to the throne. An accident at the palace causes Mare - and everyone else - to realise that she's special. Mare may be a Red, but she has a Silver power. The Silvers hide Mare in the spotlight and she's instantly betrothed to Prince Maven. Mare soon finds herself part of a resistance group working to bring down the Silver regime. Mare is playing a dangerous game and she must try to figure out who she can truly trust.
I completely adored Red Queen. I didn't have a lot of spare time when I picked it up, but I found myself bringing my kindle with me everywhere trying to squeeze in a couple of minutes of reading or a chapter or two - it was just so good!
Mare was a brilliant main character. I admired how much she wanted to protect her family. She stole for them and wanted to make sure they were comfortable before she was conscripted. Mare could be a strong, determined, powerful and fierce character, but she also had moments of weakness and naivety which made me love her more. She follows her heart a lot which gets her into quite a bit of trouble.
While there were three sort of love interests, I only really cared about two - the two Princes Cal and Maven. Cal and Maven are completely opposites - Cal is more outgoing, determined to prove himself while Maven is a lot softer and more caring. But all is not as it appears with the Princes, there's a lot more to them both. Kilorn - Mare's old friend from her village - was love interest number 3, but in all honesty, I don't think he stands a chance with her. Not one bit. He's more of a friend to Mare, but he seems to have more romantic feelings towards her which I don't really think Mare will reciprocate (I really hope not).
The story line was fantastic! I loved finding out about both the Silvers and the Reds and the world they live in. I was completely fascinated by it. I loved Mare's involvement in the resistance group. She's determined to bring down the Silvers and save her people, but she also starts to form relationships with some of the Reds and realises that not all of them are terrible. But she does what she has to do for her people. I adored seeing Mare train with her power - she was a complete bad ass with all that electricity - and seeing some of the different powers that other Silvers have was also extremely fascinating.
The main thing I adored about this book was the ending. The twist! I may have had to re-read a certain scene over and over again around 5 times because I just couldn't believe it and I was extremely heartbroken! I may have teared up slightly because I really wasn't expecting that and I'd became extremely invested in something that completely broke apart when the twist happened. It was definitely a killer twist, but it let to even more awesomeness right at the end of the book. A big face off at the end full of Silver's and Mare fighting and showing off their fantastic powers again - I need more fight scenes because they're awesome! I need book 2 after that ending because I'm dying to know what's going to happen next!
Overall, Red Queen was a fantastic debut novel full of twists, surprises, betrayal and some of the most awesome fight scenes you'll ever read. It completely lives up to all of the hype and the wait for the second book will be a hard one.