In her debut novel and first book in a new series, Victoria Aveyard takes the reader to a world divided by blood and powers, those who have them and those who do not, but one girl is about to change everything:
Mare Barrow lives in a world where your blood decides your fate. If you are born a Silver you live in luxury and have some form of a power. If you are born a Red you serve in some way or another and if you do not have a skill set by the age of 18 you are sent to the Army to fight the never ending war. Mare's 18th birthday is approaching and the only skill that she has developed is one as pick pocket, but that was the best way that she could help her family survive. There is a revolution brewing that Mare wants to help Mare's life is about to change forever, with a chance meeting with the Silver Prince and his ability to change her life as a maid in the palace. However, Mare is about to change the world altogether, in front of the Silver court a hidden power is released from Mare the first Red to ever to display a power. Mare now is locked in a struggle of trying to protect her family and keep it a secret of her blood color, as well as help the revolution that is brewing as being in the palace gives her a unique access. Mare is just a country girl and is not ready for the secrets, the shadows and dealings that happen in court life, Mare needs to figure out quick who to trust as the Reds are counting on her to succeed and free them from tyranny.
Victoria Aveyard is being hailed as one of the best YA debut authors of the year (actually just saw on goodreads that she won the debut goodreads author award) and I kept hearing about this book so I decided to give it a try. This was a really good read, better than I was expecting, and it exceeded my expectations right from the beginning. I'm not really sure what I was expecting but I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I would personally say that it is a more action packed (and more interesting in my opinion) version of Kiera Cass' The Selection.
I really liked the revolutionary/rebels part of the book as this is a pivotal theme throughout the novel and Aveyard does a good job on highlighting it as well as throwing twists and turns along the way that has Mare questioning not only herself but who she can trust (and by all the way through I mean right to the end). Mare never forgets where she comes from and the hardships that they faced on a daily basis. Mare at times is a typical teenage with her indecisiveness not only with aspects with the revolution but with guys as well (see below), which means she does make mistakes, which is nice as sometimes the main characters in these books are portrayed as perfect.
There is more than a love triangle in this book, not sure what to call it when there are three guys that want one girl, but that is what occurs, and it was at time annoying having Mare question her choice of who she wants to be with, then change her mind and then change it again. I think I have just come to accept ever since the success of the love triangle in The Hunger Games and Twilight series, that YA novels with a female lead are going to have this aspect in the plot in some way (I will say this is the majority, not every book is going to have it, but you have to agree it is a common theme). While the "triangle" is prevalent in this book and does shape the story somewhat, I did not feel like it was the only aspect that that Aveyard wanted to highlight. Best part was that Mare never really becomes the puppy dog eyed love sick girl that is also prevalent in YA novels. Maybe this is due to having some choices that she needs to make, or maybe she just has more important things on her mind, like a revolution and changing the lives of the Reds. Thank you for a nice change there Aveyard.
Aveyard does a great job in setting up a new series that I think fans of the Hot/popular YA novels out there will enjoy this book as well. While Aveyard does not really add anything new to genre, she is able to take some of the best aspects of those popular novels and bring them together for a great read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.