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 …
I´ll just take a deep breath and try to make this into a neat and organized review (keyword: try), although all I want right now is to run around screaming. Guys, this book blew me away. Seriously, after reading it, my brain kind of just got up and went on a vacation because WOW.
With each thing that happened in the story, I just felt my heart swelling like I´m so happy that I´m reading this book, it´s so so so good.
This will be SPOILERY, so I wouldn´t recommend reading this if you have not read the book.
But man, this story has got everything; from gorgeous princes to explosions to social critique… it´s a big ball of well-planned and beautifully written awesomeness.
As much as it involves a whole lot of supernatural things (ie. Cool powers and people with silver blood) it also builds up around some pretty realistic scenarios. The Reds are very, very poor and have barely nothing, looked down upon as if they were something nasty stuck to the Silvers´ shoes. There´s a scene where Mare is going along the river in a boat, and she watches all the Reds who are forced by the whip to attend the King´s boisterous parade… I felt my heart clenching, and their suffering mirrored so much that has happened in our world, that it honestly made me cry. And yet, their lives are filled with warmth and emotions, while the Silvers are like predators circling each other. Royals and nobles, their lives filled with privilege, tricks and secrets.
My level of excitement while reading this book was so high that apparently I forgot how to write. My notes are an absolute mess and as I was trying to decipher what “caottlo” meant I noticed a tiny little square drawn in the corner, which made me remember the whole love square thing that Mare has going on. Not a love triangle, oh no, but a love square. There´s Mare, our coolbeans, badass, stubborn, AWESOME main character, and then there´s Kilorn, the boy back home, Cal, the loyal and brave heir to the throne, AND Maven, the charming prince in his brother´s shadow. Maybe it shouldn’t be a square, but more like a maple leaf with three tips, all connecting to the stem… Anyway, it´s four people, their relationships all woven together in ways too complicated to explain. And, our magical author managed to write this leaf thing in such a way that I was constantly changing opinions about who I wanted Mare to end up with! But worry not, the romance is not the main focus of the story, it does not consume Mare´s every living thought, quite the contrary, it´s kind of in the background, poking its head out every once in a while. Mare literally uses it as a means to an end (which is kind of mean to the boys, but it was a freaking revolution!).
And yes, the revolution: Rise, red as the dawn. The Scarlet Guard, besides its violent approaches and rather dramatic entrances, gave Mare another goal besides surviving. But sometimes, as I read about it, I just felt like they were no better than the king; too violent, too proud. To be honest, everyone´s too proud in this book. Just as the king´s motto says, “Strength! Power!”
I was incredibly curious about the Ruined City. The few times it was mentioned, I felt like there was something more going on… I was getting very District 13-ish vibes from it, and boy, was I right. There are a few things that I´m super excited about seeing in the next book, the Ashen Lands is one of them, and the fact that Mare can create electricity, not just manipulate it. Can´t wait to meet the other Red+Silver people running around their world.
One thing, though, that kept bothering me was the fight in the Bowl of Bones. Don´t get me wrong, Mare was awesome, creating a lightning storm and shocking everyone out of their wits, but aren’t water and metal great conductors of electricity? All those times she shocked metal-covered Evangeline and the very wet nymph, shouldn´t they just have continued being electrocuted and passed out/died? I don´t know, though, I could be wrong…
Ladies and gentlemen, we have gotten to The Part. The part of the review where I just freak out, because holy crap, THE PLOT TWIST. Aefhkugrfkurqggajbfjkagfgwegfeef I HAD NO IDEA, absolutely no idea that it was going to happen. Even though this is a spoilery review, I refuse to explain the plot twist, because I know there are people who go around reading summaries and other things before reading a book, and I´m not going to be responsible for ruining the incredibleness that is this surprise. I just plain out burst into tears and started sobbing while reading it because HOLY SCHMUCK. WHAT THE HECK.
Victoria Aveyard, you are a mastermind genius and I applaud you with all my might. Five out of five stars.
P.s. The cover is gorgeous and incredibly photogenic, just look at it.
P.p.s. This is a bit out of place, but I feel like I should point out that the Silvers can´t blush, they kind of just get pale, because their blood is silver. How cool is that? What a nifty little detail, good job Victoria.