Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Red Queen

I recently read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This new young adult series is about a girl named Mare Barrow. She is a poor thief from the Stilts, dreading her upcoming conscription on her 18th birthday. For over a hundred years Red soldiers have fought a Silver war, spilling their common red blood to protect their gifted, silver-blooded kings. Mare's story is one of bravery and courage. She stands up for what she believes in and will do anything for the people she loves. That's why it is so important for her to avoid being sent to war. For Mare's people, war means death.

You see, there are two kinds of people in the Kingdom of Norta. There are Silvers (Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies) who have money, power, summer palaces and winter palaces. And there's everyone else, Reds like Mare, whose only purpose in life is to serve the Silvers. They are forced to be laborers, working hard for very little pay. The Reds outnumber the Silvers so why don't they fight back? Silver blood comes with supernatural abilities, powers that Reds don't have. Magnetrons can control metal, shadows can bend light, nymphs can control water, and strongarms have immense strength. But these are only a few of the amazing abilities silvers possess. 
Their blood is a threat, a warning, a promise. We are not the same and never will be. This is the true division between Silvers and Reds: the color of our blood. This simple difference somehow makes them stronger, smarter, better than us. (page 9) 
One day, Mare discovers that despite her Red blood she has a superior Silver ability, an ability that could save her or doom her. Of course Mare makes this discovery in front of the entire Silver community where all eyes were on her! No one can know of her Red blood, so she must turn her back on everything she has ever know, anyone she's ever loved, and lie to the world. Pretending to be a Silver princess, Mare is forced to hide her true identity. 

She has only one choice to make... 
...play along or join the rising Red rebellion. 

No spoilers here! You'll have to grab a copy of Red Queen to find out!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel. Victoria Aveyard expertly creates a world where anything seems possible. She makes the Kingdom of Norta feel like it's the town right next door. Best of all, Mare's story does not end here! After devouring Red Queen, check out the sequel Glass Sword and the novella Cruel Crown. (The action and suspense really builds in Glass Sword!) Aveyard is still writing the third book in the trilogy and I cannot wait to see where Mare's journey ends!

This book would make a great addition to your middle/high school classroom library. The Accelerated Reader level is 5.2 and the content is not too mature for your advanced middle school readers (no need to worry about language or sexual themes in this series). I put 2 copies of this out in my 5-6th grade classroom and they were snatched up right away. My students are making great connections between Mare and Katniss (Hunger Games). One student even said that "Red Queen helped to fill the void left behind when she finished the Hunger Games Trilogy!"