I re-read this in preparation for Glass Sword. I usually like to re-read series when I get another installment, but with this one I thought it would be even more important as I really only remembered the major plot twist. Well I was refreshed on many small events and individuals, but like I mentioned in my Novella reviews, I was not as enamored by Aveyard’s writing as I was the first time through.
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
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?
I was worried this was going to be a lot like Red Rising, and so I was really glad when it became clear that wasn’t the case! The idea of abilities being the determiners for the separation of the groups, as well as the physical color of blood was intriguing. There is also really good world building that makes it clear it is nothing like Pierce Brown’s series, which this was compared to a lot in it’s early release days.
I also liked how hard the road the characters had to go down was. We see things working out a lot in YA books, and this didn’t stick to that mold. The relationships are littered with obstacles that I’m not sure will ever be overcome (though my fingers are crossed) and everything comes with a price. While I still think this is the case in general, I do have to make a new note: It drives me crazy that all three of our main male characters are enamored of Mare. We can’t have any platonic elements? Also, I felt that Mare was way too distracted by her feeling for the brothers a lot of the time.
Mare, is supremely flawed; she is stubborn and self-righteous and naive. I will say though, no matter how infuriating Mare is, she is still somehow likable. She’s so obviously in over her head, yet she thinks she has all the answers, but I think what redeems her is that she’s quick to live up to her mistakes. Cal has been groomed to uphold his fathers legacy and can’t see any other alternative to follow, fighting against his inherent good nature. Maven is complex and slippery and you never know who’s side he’s really on. And you never truly know who the “bad guy” is. There are tiers of baddies, and its really interesting watching all the characters choose who to stand behind and how they justify the actions of their chosen leaders.
Everything is thrown upside down in about the last 50 pages and I loved it! Aveyard definitely has a talent with the plot twists and cliff-hangers, but I would like to see her move past that in the books to come. There is also one major issue I had with the writing in this re-read, All the italicized internal dialogue. It was not necessary! She would do a wonderful job showing us the emotions and the climate around Mare, then throw in an italicized sentence that tells us exactly what she just showed us. It became very distracting and I ended up skipping over those passages. I also didn’t see the point of internal dialogue when the story is told from Mare’s POV, in the present tense, it’s all her thoughts anyway! Anyway, I am still looking forward to see how the story moves forward. I hope to see a much smarter and grown up Mare in the next one, she’s had to learn a lot the hard way in this book and I want to see her grow from it all. I think it will be interesting to see how Cal works to accept his new role and I hope he and Mare can work together. I have no idea what to expect from Maven, and can’t wait to get to know some of the other characters better.