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?
Release Date: February 10, 2015
When I first heard about this book, I had a distinct feeling that it would be a big deal. Granted, I also thought it was going to have something to do with Alice in Wonderland, but that was just wishful thinking. Either way, I can’t imagine how Red Queen cannot be hugely popular. Not only did Aveyard sign a three book deal and the movie rights were purchased by Universal before the book has even been released, but the narrative is filled with all the aspects that are super popular in young adult literature right now: futuristic, paranormal, and filled with social injustice. So yes, Red Queen is going to be a big deal.
Aveyard has created an excellent story world that pits blood against blood: Silver and powerful versus the Red and weak. It is set up very much like the standard ideal of the bourgeoisie and proletariat, just like this quote from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — bourgeoisie and proletariat.” I admire that the narrative reflects such adept use of political theory in this notion, whether it was intentional or not.
I also really liked Aveyard’s stress on how important the family unit is throughout this narrative, and how Mare, no matter what, was constantly thinking about those she cared about at home and what she could do to help. Whether it was thievery or sacrificing her identity to provide for her family and bring her brothers home from war. Again, the way that Aveyard has the Red blood’s society set up is that children are either apprenticed and in training to make money and a livelihood by serving the Silvers or they are forced to serve in the army, which also serves the Silvers. I love it because this too can be interpreted using Marxist literary theory, “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.” Reds are forced to work to provide for Silvers and their families = money relation. So many kudos to Aveyard for this.
Overall the story building in Red Queen was phenomenal. Aveyard set up enough of the background to make the story-world feel complete, but that there is still a lot of information that the readers don’t know yet. There is a love story, but it most definitely takes a back seat to the political, familial, and court intrigue aspects of this novel, which is a breath of fresh air. Also, I kept imagining Mare looking a bit like the Red Queen from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, mostly because they shared a similar rags to riches story, and let’s face it, Emma Rigby is gorgeous. I cannot express to you how much I enjoyed this novel and how excited I am to see where this story goes in the subsequent installments.
I leave you with this quote by Karl Marx:
“Let the ruling classes (silvers) tremble at a […] revolution. The proletarians (reds) have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
The use of Karl Marx’s works in this review serve to apply as literary theory.