The Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
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The Red Queen is difficult to define in words. The feeling that I have is that when merging numerous clichés of youth literature, the author has managed to create something surprisingly innovative.
The story has adventure, love triangles (between two brothers and a split hero), a strong and decisive main character and a plot full of social reflections: abuse of power, racial segregation, policy views that contribute to keep the population under sovereign claws, and the constant threat of a revolution … that is, everything that we commonly see in current dystopias.
However, the major difference from other books is the authors writing. It is electrifying to the point of making the reader want to devour the book, especially with little surprises throughout the course of the book.
So perhaps the mystery behind the book’s success is that the author has even put predictable elements, creating a compelling universe, engaging characters, a cute romance with an impossible man, and a clever and challenging political plot. I know it sounds impossible, but the fact is that this mixture of influences worked so well that I could not stop reading.
The work revolves around a dystopian society that uses the monarch system. The kings and nobles are the silver line. The color of their blood is defined socially and is also featured as special. The silver are commonly known as descendants of the gods (every large family has a special gift). They can: manipulate fire, water, air, plants, iron and many other elements. They are strong, powerful and feared by those who have no power, in this case, the red blood. Most of the population has blood red who are poor living and serving the whims of the silver.
The problem is that they cannot change the lives they lead because they know they will never win a fight against a silver. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks until the appearance of Mare Barrow, a red-blooded young woman with powers worthy of a silver. She is a young thief who steals to take care of the family, a red blood that does not have high hopes for the future, a servant that by going to work in the royal palace discovers the possibility of being someone different: a rarity, a threat to the nobility, and even a symbol of rebellion.
As I said the book is similar to many other stories such as The Selection, Hunger Games, and X-Men. For this reason, there are many times where it is impossible not to think “I’ve read this before,” but I did not feel uncomfortable, at least not completely. The fact is that the author managed to create a universe so engaging – both politically and romantically -that the influences became positive experiences .
I did not see the clichés as copies of other stories, but as boosters for something incredible. So much so that I cannot define how engaging the government setting in this story is in words. It is complex, well developed and filled with lies – all worthy of the monarchy and its manipulations.
The romantic part is as it should be: a backdrop for the government fight that the main characters faced since they were children (Mare as a red blood saw the suffering inflicted on her people and wants justice, and the two silver princes that lead a life of pawns are in a war for power). So the main conclusion is, that even though the book is surrounded by influences for me, it was unique and exciting from beginning to end.
To summarize what made me love the book, the author used good influences to create a great story. Overall, the book won me from the beginning and I'm dying to read the continuation. I'm afraid of what will come, but I think I will like it. So for the doubters, the tip is: read. The book is of the “love or hate” style, so it's always good to take a chance and find out for yourself the secrets that the pages reveal.