In Red Queen by Aveyard, being strong in tough situations can help the oppressed rise to strength.
Aveyard writes, “The merchants are distracted, careless, and it’s easy for me to take whatever I want from their wares.” This is essentially how the beginning of the book starts. Mare Barrow is a young girl who is trying to make it in a world where she is seen as less. She grew up in the Stilts, a town full of poor Reds. The world she lives in is divided by Silvers and Reds. Reds are normal people who don’t have any supernatural abilities. Silvers, on the other hand, are superior with their special abilities to control fire, nature, water, wind, etc. Mare tries to survive in a world without any talents of her own. So, she turns to thievery. To help support her family before she is sent to war when she turns eighteen.
When I first read this, it threw me for a loop because I didn’t understand her initial thought process. Why would you steal from the poor when you are poor yourself? Why wouldn’t you take from the rich instead of the poor? For me, I’m a person who would never take something from someone in the same, or similar situation with me. But, I can understand wanting to support her family, I just didn’t agree she went about doing so. However looking back on the text, I can see that the government put her in this predicament. So, she did what she needed to do based on what she had access to.
Meanwhile, after finding out her childhood friend Kilorn will be sent to the war, Mare tries to come up with a plan for their escape. However, that whole ordeal doesn’t quite work out for them. Honestly, I didn’t think it would in the first place. The reason being that being transported somewhere safe cost more money than she had. Her sister, Gisa, who had a sewing job in the city with all the Silvers, decided to sneak her in. And you can pretty much guess how that ended up for them. She meets a man after that ordeal and he ends up getting her a job as a maid at the castle. She thinks it’s by the help of her brother. But, surprise, surprise! It was the prince behind it all.
Of course, it honestly wasn’t that much of a shock to me. What kind of random rich guy just shows up and gives you money? Why does she not think more on the fact that she randomly got a job at the castle? The fact that these events happen is not a coincidence. When she’s there though, her powers end up being exposed. Which leads to blackmail amongst other things. She ends up having her true identity hidden with a silver accepted back story and she gets engaged to the prince’s brother. Who is also a prince, but Maven, isn’t really what she wants. It’s Cal, which of course leads to more issues in the relationship side of her life (aka a love triangle).
Mare forms an alliance with her husband-to-be to try and fight against all the Silvers and get liberty for the Reds. This ends up with a lot of bloodshed and another alliance with the scarlet guard, who are a sort of group that are attacking Silvers until they get what they want.
In conclusion, let’s just say that I didn’t have a good feeling about Cal or Maven and trusting the Silvers came back to bite her in the butt. Maven even said in the beginning to keep her heart hidden. Mare didn’t do that and in the end she has to face the consequences of her actions. Which can make the Reds lives, better or worse. However, there is hope that Mare may be able to right her wrongs and win the fight for the equality that the Reds deserve.
In my opinion, Mare did a lot of things that wreaked havoc on her life and others, that could’ve easily been avoided. Red Queen to me was just another dystopian novel with the constant fighting between people and their differences. Her strength mimics Katniss and her blood and abilities mirror the divergent mind of Tris. But, it didn’t bring anything new to the plate, I felt as if I was reading every hit dystopian novel. Just in a recycled form, where the setting was changed and the characters bore different names. With that being said though, Red Queen is still an enjoyable story that represents how people continue to fight for equality, that continues even in today's society.