Published by Orion on February 10th 2015
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
This seems to have been the summer of reading some awesome books and Red Queen certainly is towards the top of that list. Mixing magic within a world where only the Silvers can do magic and the Reds are lowly humans, forced to slave away at lower end jobs and be drafted at a specific age to fight at war. Mare is a thief and provides for her family by stealing from the wealthy. She knows that she is bound for the war in a couple of months, but her little sister has a specialty in embroidery which the Silvers treasure. Mare does not care for her own future, but when her longtime friend loses his job as a fisherman’s apprentice, she knows he will be sent to the front asap.
Mare must find a way to steal enough money in order to smuggle her friend to safety. A series of events leads her down a different path, ending up at the palace and realizing she has a magic she has never been aware of. Unfortunately, this display happens in front of all of the Silvers gathered in the palace. To cover up a Red having such a power, the royal family decides to parade her as the daughter of a dead family that has a similar power. Now she must learn to become a princess, as they betroth her to their youngest son.
More than learning to act Silver and like royalty, Mare must learn the truth behind those she is staying with and all the intrigues that come with court life. She also struggles with the fact that she truly fell for Cal first (who saved her a couple of times) and now has to learn how to care for Maven, the younger brother. I truly loved all the political and emotional twists this book had. There’s so much depth and character built into this world that I could not help but fall in love with it.
There is also a ton of action, some budding romance and some serious plot twists that I suspected but in the end was just as surprised by several others. It has quite a killer ending, so I would suggest waiting until at least book 2 is out to read this one. I’m dying to find out what happens next!
Mare is a very smart character as in she feels strongly but knows when to pick her battles. It’s nice to see someone that careful when in such a precarious situation. I also loved Cal, who is definitely the prime example of a dreamy love interest. He’s quite the princely type and I love that he doesn’t betray his family even when his love interest tries to sway him. His loyalty is endearing and his principles unmoving in a way that befits his character.
You really just need to read this book, especially if you love fantasy.