This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .
A dystopia book with magical powers, a high fantasy universe and a love triangle that isn’t the focus of the story. I really loved how Aveyard took common tropes (admittedly, tropes I like) and gave them a new spin on it.
Mare is the main character and she’s a fairly typical YA heroine, but I still found her likeable and realistic. There were a few instances where I wanted to shake her and point out that she was being manipulated but it worked for her character, especially considering she’s seventeen and has been fairly sheltered (from politics and manipulation, not from hunger and pain). I didn’t particularly like her best friend (I forget his name) because it felt like he really wasn’t involved or necessary for the plot, but I really liked Mare’s family and their interactions and relationships between each other and I hope I see more of them in book two. Cal and Maven and their parents were surprising, especially Maven because I wasn’t expecting him to have such a big part in the book. I do wish Cal’s fiancee had been someone other than ‘powerful, mean girl’ because that did feel very cliche.
I loved the world-building, from the Silvers and the Reds and the different powers, as well as the different parts of the country and the war that was ongoing. It made Cal’s reasoning and character so much more realistic, because you can see why he thinks that but then you understand exactly where Mare was coming from as well (although as a reader I was more inclined to Mare’s side for obvious reasons). I really loved seeing the different powers and how they could be used, as well as how Mare’s power developed and grows throughout the book.
The plot itself was a little predictable at times, again it felt very tropey. I did like the dystopian aspects, especially seeing it from both the Reds POV and the Silvers POV, and how the system was set up with the fight for Queen and the war and conscription. The ending took me by surprise, not just what happened but how it happened. And I did like the conversation Cal and Mare had right at the end of the book.
Apparently, this was quite a hyped book but I wasn’t around on Booktube or book blogging when this book so I missed a lot of the hype which I think helped me to like this book a lot more. 4.5 stars!