My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Narrated by Amanda Dolan
Mare Barrow is a Red. A commoner, with red blood and no super abilities. She and her family are destined to serve the Silvers, the elite, with silver blood and supernatural abilities. Mare’s kind are servants to the upper class, conscripted soldiers sent to die in war, and the workers who provide the luxuries for the elite Silvers. Mare uses her skills as a thief to help her family get by until she meets a mysterious young man who arranges for her to be chosen to serve the Royal Family. But while in her new job, Mare is found to have both Red blood and Silver abilities. Her real identity is hidden, she is trained to become a lost Silver princess, and betrothed to the younger of the king’s sons. But Mare is not content to simply forget the plight of her friends and family, and joins the secret Red Guard, a group bent on revolution. As Mare gets deeper and deeper into the plotting of the guard and the machinations of the royal family, she begins to learn that her teacher in the palace was right: Anyone can betray anyone.
It was a pretty good book, if one with some flaws. The world building in particular is quite nicely done. We see the familiar idea of a world divided into classes through Mare’s eyes, and she is completely ignorant of much of the way even the Silver are divided into strata, with lesser and more powerful houses and abilities. The pacing is pretty good throughout and the action keeps building and flowing, and the inevitable explanations and backstory fill-ins aren’t distracting. The good guy-bad guy dynamic appears to shift at times, and it is not always easy to sort each person into one or the other.
The problems? There doesn’t seem to be a lot of character growth in the main players here. None of them really change all that much over the course of the story. Not that they aren’t interesting, because some of them are, but they just don’t seem to get better or worse. They just are. Another issue for me is the romance. I know this is YA and the heroine torn between loves is a staple in that genre, but it seems that every significant male character is chasing after Mare, and she is attracted to all of them. It’s not a love triangle; it’s a many-pointed star or something. It seems a bit much.
The plot is fairly straightforward, and goes pretty much where you expect. There are characters that are suspicious from the start and most of them fulfill their roles exactly as expected. There is a bit of a twist that adds some dimension to the resolution and that’s a nice touch. Some of the good guys don’t make it, and some of the bad guys don’t get what they deserve. Those types of things give the story a touch of reality, because, honestly, sometimes, life is like that.
Overall, this is a pretty good book, and an enjoyable listen. I will probably read more of the series.
Available now :
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