Image and synopsis from Amazon:
“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. There, 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 sweeping story of palace intrigue, class hierarchy, and deception will keep readers hurtling along, desperate to find out Mare’s fate. Her honesty and determination, quick wit, and no-holds-barred attitude will surely make readers fall in love with her.”
I read this book a few months ago and had some notes written but it took me a while to finally get around to compiling a review 🙂
I know there is a lot of hype around this book and it was unfortunately just okay for me. I read it in two days so it absolutely held my attention and I can say that it was a fun, quick read. However, I had a hard time connecting to the characters. The premise was wonderful and potentially set up the book for an exciting dystopian fantasty, but in my opinion the execution did not live up to the premise.
Mare lives in a society that is divided up into Reds and Silvers. Reds are considered the lower caste and are poor. The Silvers are wealthy, some royalty, and all have special abilities. The Reds are not content with their lower status and there is also brewing rebellion throughout the story. Mare, a Red with abilities like a Silver, is caught in the middle and has to make some very difficult decisions.
The story itself was a blend of medieval fantasy with X-men like powers and Hunger Games-esque arena action, which was all very exciting for me! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different types of power the Silvers had and reading about Mare developing these powers as well.
Mare did not seem to change much throughout the book and I had trouble connecting with her as a character. She tended to have strong emotional reactions towards certain situations (Cal, for example) that I did not completely understand the motivation behind. She was overall just a very bland heroine for me. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her either.
The world-building was confusing at times. I felt as if places and regions were haphazardly thrown in without explanation. I had trouble visualizing Mare’s surroundings multiple times throughout the book. She often spoke of these amazing inventions, like Cal’s bike, and places like the arena, but I could never really see it. I am hoping that we will get to see more of Mare’s world in the second book.
I did enjoy Cal and Maven as characters and appreciated each of their roles in the story. There are some great interactions between Mare and each of these princes. The ending was also quite exciting and sets up the next book nicely. I am curious to know what happens and will eventually pick up the next book. Although I felt like it was lacking in certain areas, this is without a doubt a quick, exciting read if you are a fan of dystopian fantasy.