Friday, April 5, 2019

Review: Red Queen Books #1-2 (Red Queen, Glass Sword)

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities...If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

The Red Queen series is a quartet of books, including two novellas, by Victoria Aveyard. This post contains reviews on the first two books: Red Queen and Glass Sword.

Red Queen is the first novel in the Red Queen series. Here is the synopsis:
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.

Glass Sword is the second novel in the Red Queen series. Here is the synopsis:
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
I stumbled upon this series through an Amazon recommendation. I had heard of the series over the years, but never had the time to start on it until this month. I will say this is the next best series since The Hunger Games. Through a twist of fate, Mare Barrow finds herself taken her from her poverty-stricken Red community to a luxurious Silver world. Despite the glamour and magical abilities, Mare quickly finds herself surrounded by families where glory and power reign supremely--and the weak and less powerful succumb. Seeking to escape this life of treachery and deceit, it will take a Silver prince, who has fallen in love with her, to escape this maddening world.

I love the world-building in this series as it takes place in a distant future where mankind has fallen to a powerful elite whose blood--Silver blood and magical abilities--makes them unique and superior to the majority red-blooded humans. But as Mare will find out, a new race of humans is emerging that will challenge and destroy everything that the Silvers had built to control the kingdoms. Meanwhile, readers must not forget that Mare is just like any teenager. Unable to return to her old life as a poor girl in the Stilts, she struggles with controlling her emotions, leading the mission to protect others like her from the royal family, and accepting her own romantic feelings for the Silver prince who protected her throughout this dangerous journey.

This series is not for the faint of heart. The books have been averaging 450 pages -- which is a lot for a young adult genre. Readers will encounter victories and setbacks, and the characters will face sacrifices and even death. So far, I recommend the series.

Stay tuned for my next reviews on this exhilarating series, Cruel Crown (prequel novellas that take place before Red Queen), King's Cage, and War Storm.

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