At the first Dutch Comic Con in 2015, my friends wanted to buy a shirt at a stand. I didn’t feel like waiting in line with them, so I stayed behind at the pop-up store of The American Bookstore. And no, I was not sad about that. In fact, I saw some books that pulled me with their covers, so I put them on my wishlist and added them to my collection over the years.
One of those books was Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. With a beautiful silver cover with a crown that caught my eyes and a synopsis that got my interest, this book had my attention. So on the wishlist it went, and added to my bookshelves very soon after.
It is safe to say I fell in love with the book. So the next year, I asked for the second book, Glass Sword, for my birthday. And the year after that, part three: King’s Cage. The fourth and final book, War Storm, was added to my books in 2018.
And now that my collection is complete, I am going to read all four books. The first two I have already read a few years ago, and they were amazing. Red Queen is one of my favorite Young Adult books, taking place in a world where people with silver blood have special abilities. The main character, Mare Barrow, is a girl with red blood but discovers that she has abilities as well. She has to live at court, hiding who she really is, while learning how to use her new ability.
About the book
Of course, as a good YA book, it has love triangles, rebels, friendships, intrigue, backstabbing, and lets not forget a powerful female character. This is my favorite kind of YA, and (to me) includes books like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and The Selection (also very dear books to me). I always have a hard time classifying books, putting the label of a genre on it, because someone else might think differently about it. When I name this book in the same sentence as for instance The Hunger Games, that doesn’t mean that people who love The Hunger Games will automatically love the Red Queen series. It just means that I think they have the same characteristics and share a similar story line (poor girl, finds herself in a new world where she has to be strong to survive, doesn’t agree with the current ruler, etc.)
With that disclaimer, I end my rant about YA books and start describing the story. If you are interested in reading the books, I suggest that you don’t read along. One of my favorite things about this book is that I was totally surprised by a plot twist – which gave me chills, because most plot twist I can see coming. Not this one. I want you to experience that, without me spoiling it. For the next part a MAJOR SPOILER ALERT is in place, including said plot twist.
Mare Barrow lives in a world that is divided by blood. The common people, like Mare, have red blood. But people with silver blood have abilities. In an accident in front of the king and the Silver elite families, Mare discovers that she also has abilities. To hide the fact that her blood is red, the king engages her to his youngest son, Maven, and presents her as a lost daughter of a dead Silver family. She has to learn how to act as a Silver, while getting used to her new ability. Meanwhile, the oldest prince, Cal, seems to fall in love with Mare while he is engaged to another Silver girl. Mare and prince Maven join a Red rebellion named the Scarled Guard to overthrow the Silver elite. Then Maven shows his true colors (PLOT TWIST!!), as his mother (queen Elara) and him plot against Cal and the king. Mare and Cal have to fight for their lives in an execution, and they get saved by the Scarlet Guard. Together they escape to a Scarlet Guard base, while they learn that there are more people like Mare: red blood with silver abilities.
On the island where the Scarlet Guard has a base, Mare doesn’t feel safe. Because of her abilities, people treat her differently. Prince Cal gets treated even worse, since he is a Silver. Together with a Scarlet Guard captain named Farley, Mare’s brother Shade and Mare’s friend Kilorn, they steal a jet to find more newbloods – people like Mare who are Red and Silver at the same time. Since prince Maven knows about the newbloods too, they have to hurry. Some newbloods are dead when they find them, but still they manage to gather an army. After getting word that the newbloods captured by Maven are being held in an abandoned prison, the group starts a rescue mission. During the battle, they lose some good friends. When the next mission (to the war front, to save children in the war) gets intercepted by Maven, Mare trades herself in exchange for safety for her friends.
Would I read it again?
Yes! Actually, this was the third time I read Red Queen and the second time I read Glass Sword. This series belongs to my favorites, and I will definitely read it again. Every year or so, I pick up these books. And yes, I still enjoy the plot twists, even though I know they’re coming. I just love reading these books!