Release date: February 10, 2015
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.
First word that comes to mind – ah-mazing! It’s like The Hunger Games, Stolen Songbird and A Game of Thrones rolled into one. The world-building was post-apocalyptic and dystopian – set maybe centuries into the future, with monarchy having a stronghold on the population. The two races – Silvers and Reds, are different only in the color of their blood and the fact that Silvers are like hereditary X-men. So they have power and the families have powers, and this makes up the court, and the Reds are basically Panem districts who are oppressed by the Capitol Court.
Mare lands in a position of power, as a princess betrothed to the second prince, so the monarchy can keep a watch on her and use her to twist the story of the appearance of her powers, which is an anomaly among the Reds. What ensues is a deadly Game of Thrones, as she navigates hiding her true bloodline, from the courtiers, while also helping the rebellion. She thinks she is manipulating the pieces because she has a greater stake, but she starts getting in way over her head when she starts falling for both the princes. Betrayal had to happen, and – basically, it is pretty exiting and the plot is full of surprises. You would have to read it to know it, and that’s all I am going to say now!
Character writing was pretty good – and considering it is a game of manipulation and betrayals, there are so many shades of gray in the different characters. Mare, especially, having to maintain her mask and keep her true feelings hidden, when she is such an open book most of the times. Maven, well, he was pretty intense and interesting and Cal was, well, complicated to say the least. Evangeline was the regular bratty-princess you encounter in almost every fantasy novel, only with the added advantage of being lethal. World-building was also pretty good, and pacing and plot were executed flawlessly along with it. For such a mash-up of sci-fi, magic, and politics, it blended so well that it was quite real. Honestly, in the few times I did take a break I was itching to go back to the story. Brilliant book and high hopes for this series!
Received an ARC from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. Receiving this galley does not affect my opinions or review in any way.