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?
My Thoughts: (Here there be spoilers)
Where do I begin? I love love LOVE this book!!! I read somewhere that it was tagged as Graceling meets The Selection. Hmmm, I thought of it more as Hunger Games meets X-Men. Am I alone on this?! Anyway, I give this one a definite 5! I can’t wait for the next installment!!
So, Mare lives in a crappy little town called Stilts, passing time before conscription by picking pockets and other forms of thievery. Through a somewhat tragic chain of events, she finds herself with a job in the palace working as a serving girl while Silver families offer up their daughters to marry into the royal family. These daughters showcase their abilities in an in-ground arena with an electric roof barrier. During this spectacle, Mare is thrown from her balcony down onto the barrier. All. Hell. Breaks. Loose. Mare isn’t hurt by the electricity. She discovers that she’s a Red with Silver abilities. She can feel electricity around her and use it as a weapon.
As damage control, (the ridiculously evil) Queen Elara hatches a story that Mare’s real name is Mareena Titanos, a Silver whose parents were killed in the front lines of the war when she was a baby. Thus begins Mare’s life as a Silver, betraying every instinct she has as a Red. But she won’t go down without a fight. She joins the Scarlet Guard (SG) and works with them in secret, all while juggling feelings that she has for Maven and Cal. Maven even joins the SG because he can’t stand the way the Reds are treated. No one should be forced to live in such squalor. She and Maven go to secret meetings and he gives 4 names of Silvers to be killed in order to start the revolution.
At the ball (can’t remember the exact function), the 4 Silvers are shot by the SG and a bomb is set off. After things calm down, Mare and Maven discover 4 members of the SG have been captured and are being questioned in the dungeons. Mare, with some help, breaks out the prisoners and gets shot in the process. She is healed but her blood is everywhere and there is no time to clean it up.
They find themselves up against a wall, with no viable way out. Unless, at Maven’s request, if Mare can convince Cal to give up and choose her over his army and over this war. The SG blows up the bridge between the two sides of the city and Mare, in all the mayhem, confesses to Cal who she really is and what she has been doing. Cal is shocked and heartbroken, obviously. He takes Mare and Maven prisoner and has his army attack the SG, who were hiding in the tunnels below ground. Mare is devastated. All her work, ruined in an instant. Cal (with man-who’s-name-I-forget that subdues abilities) takes Mare and Maven to the King and Queen to be dealt with. During this “meeting” it comes out that Elara and Maven are working together and Maven has played Mare like a violin.
(Honestly, I kind of saw this coming, but I was floored by the execution)
Tiberias is just as dumbfounded as Mare and Cal when the truth comes out, but Elara isn’t done yet. She has all the cameras off and, with her ability, makes Cal kill his own father (this is when I slammed my book closed and called Elara a name or two… or ten.)
Cal and Mare are then sent to fight to their deaths in an arena, against 5 very powerful Silvers: a Nymph, the Samos siblings, who control metals, and 2 other Silvers. With Mare’s abilities still subdued, she isn’t much help, until she cleverly has her subduer killed. With her abilities back, she is able to help Cal and they kill all but one Silver, and that Silver runs for his life. When the guards come in with weapons drawn, they think all is lost until a familiar face appears below deck. Farley and the SG are there and they pull Cal and Mare to safety and disappear.
Mare wakes up on the underground train to find that Shade, her brother she was told was dead, is in fact alive and well! Cal is there, too, but in handcuffs. They are on their way to safety.
Sexual Content: very mild (kissing)
Drugs/Alcohol: mild (only a couple instances, I think)
PS - Film rights for Red Queen have been optioned by Universal!!!