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I decided to read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard after it was recommended to me by a number of students. Let me just say I am SO glad I did. I couldn't put the book down, even getting up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to finish reading it (I know, I'm a loser). Red Queen is set in a futuristic society where one's blood determines their status. Red's are regular humans, like us and Silver's are gods (or humans that have evolved into gods) and have supernatural powers such as the ability to manipulate fire or read minds. Reds have become slaves to the powerful Silvers, who oppress them at every turn. The Silvers are ruled by a monarchy and want for almost nothing, while Reds are barely able to put food on the table. Silvers live in excess while Red's starve to death.
Red Queen follows Mare Barrow, a Red who has learned theivery as a means for providing for her family. When she pick-pockets a boy who she assumes is a servent, she finds herself being summoned to the castle. She thinks she is going to be punished, but ends up getting a job as a servent for the castle - a job that will provide much better for her family than pick-pocketing does. Imagine her surprise then, when she realizes that the person who gets her this job is the boy who she tried to steal from, and is no Red at all, but the future Silver king. When she sees him presiding over the Queenstrial battles, she is so shocked that she loses her footing and falls into the arena. She should die from the electrical shock of the lightening dome that protects spectators for the gladiators in the arena. Instead, lightening shoots from her hands, revealing to Mare an unknown power of being able to control electricity. But, Mare is a Red. She shouldn't have powers. Now Mare finds herself in a predicament. She's a Red, but she has powers like a Silver! Her existence threatens the power of the royal family and as a cover, they invents a story for Mare, calling her the long lost daughter of an ancient Silver family. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Mare finds herself now living in the world of the Silvers, pretending to be something she's not - a Silver. One drop of her red blood could cost her life, and she has enemies everywhere she turns. Who can she trust and how is she going to make it out alive? Read and find out.
While none of us live in the world of Mare Barrow, we can all relate to her main conflicts in the book. Essentially, she is trying to fit in where she don't belong. She doesn't always know who she can trust, and at times she feels betrayed by those she thought she could trust. Sound familiar? While the stakes might be higher for Mare (her life), we can all relate to this feeling of not belonging, not knowing who to trust and feeling betrayel. Whether it's in school, with our friends, or even our family, we all have those moments where it seems like the world is out to get us. In those moments it's hard to know where to go or who to trust. Betrayel is a feeling we can all relate to at some point or another in our lives. If you haven't already, it's likely that at some pointin your life, you will feel betrayed by someone. Whether it's a friend who promises to keep your secret and then doesn't, or something more serious than that, at some point we will all feel that gut-wrenching disappointment. When we do, like Mare, we will wonder who can we really trust. This is why this book was so interesting to me. While I don't live in Mare's world exactly, I can relate to the feelings that she's having as she endures the conflicts of this novel.
This novel could be considered dystopian literature, and it's one reason I decided to read it now while we are doing our dystopian novel studies. As we discussed in class, one feature of dystopian literature is the relatability of characters to young adult readers like yourselves. YA readers like that the main characters in these novels tackle problems head on and without regret. We want to emulate their actions in our own lives (obviously with less drama and death, but with the intent of standing up for our beliefs). Much like Katniss Everdeen and Tris in Hunger Games and Divergent respectively, Mare Barrow gives readers a character to relate to, look up to, and ultimately root for. So, if you're in the mood for an action packed book that will keep you flipping the pages, pick up Red Queen and give it a read.