Source: ARC from Publisher
Add on Goodreads
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
This is an incredibly hyped book but lately, some negative reviews have been popping up that had me worried. One of my friends adored this book though so I knew I had to at least give it a shot. Was it worth it? That’s a hard question to answer. This is one of those books in which the ending plays a major part so for some people, there feelings towards the book could be completely changed by the ending and for some people, the ending might come too late. I was somewhere in the middle.
You see, this is a perfectly good book but the reason it’s good and not great is that so much of it feels like I am reading some variation or another of books I've already read. With elements reminiscing those of The Hunger Games, The Selection (from what I hear) and even elements of Divergent (and probably some other dystopias I cannot think off at the moment), it feels slightly unoriginal but I have to give Victoria credit, she does make the story her own in ways. The problem was that some of the similarities were obvious and so that hindered my enjoyment of the book.
Mare is not a character I can say I love but one that intrigues me. She makes a lot of questionable decisions but for some reason, I still liked her. There is something about her that made me feel like I could understand her. She is desperate to find some comfort in this unfamiliar world that has been thrust upon her and it makes sense that her need for comfort will make her blind to certain obvious truths. Certain things that happen towards the end of the book definitely make me think that she is someone who is going to undergo a LOT of development over the course of the series and someone who will manage to win our hearts. I am looking forward to seeing her develop and shed her naivety.
The secondary characters are all an interesting bunch and I will leave it at that for reasons you may better understand once you have read the book.
I will; however, talk about the two brothers, Maven and Cal. Nothing as is seems with these brothers. Anything could be true and as a wise man one said, trust no one. The brothers are an interesting bunch and I liked getting to see the kind of people they were deep down but more importantly, I liked that neither of the two were perfect!
The thing more of you will be intrigued about is how these two brothers are involved in the romance. The romance is… interesting but more importantly, it’s not a romance. It’s politics. And no, Mare is not necessarily the victim in this case. It’s very complicated and there isn’t technically a romance in this book. Romance takes place but there is almost no development so I never saw it as a romance (no matter the fact that a certain word was used).
The world building is interesting if not entirely unique. I wanted to know more about the silvers, these god like creatures who hold power over the reds. I want to know more about the war. Really, I just want to know more and I hope that in the books to come, we will get to find out more!
The plot was also set up in an interesting way but one of my major problems were the rebels. Not the idea of them but rather their drive. There was something about them that just didn’t work for me and for that reason, I wasn’t entire sold on the idea of the rebellion.
It was the ending that made me see what the big deal about this book was. I have to admit, I wasn’t surprised by the ending, I KNEW something was off but at the same time, I was very interested in the affect the ending had on our characters and that’s what made me incredibly happy. The way it brought them together is interesting and I won’t say more because spoilers.