(cover and description from Goodreads)
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?
When I add an asterisk next to something, it means scroll to the end of post for additional, somewhat-spoilery comments.
It sums up the story perfectly with the colors and starkness.
The concept isn’t new – rich/powerful (Silvers) vs the working class (Reds) – but the book has an interesting spin on things by giving the Silvers “abilities.” And what fascinating (and deadly) abilities they were, although I didn’t entirely understand how the blood divide began. There wasn’t really a place where all that could be explained, but I’m hoping the next book dives more into the history of things*.
The main character (Mare) is likeable most of the time – loved her close-knit relationship with her family (esp her dad and sister) and the fact she had bite to her personality (at least initially). But I did question how quick she was to trust people – she grew up under the boot of the Silvers and stole to help keep her family afloat, so it seems like she should be naturally suspicious of EVERYONE, no matter what.
As for other people, I was strangely pulled toward Evangeline and The Panther and I hope they pop up again**.
I made predictions over what would happen (who to trust/who would live***) and I was right, but there were enough twists and turns that I doubted myself a few times. And I didn’t predict the actual fallout**** which was cruelly clever.
The ending set up the next book and I’m looking forward to reading about the search, but I’m wary about a potential love triangle/square between Mare, Kilorn and whoever else. Kilorn, in general, felt sorta forced***** into the story and I wish he’d been written as Mare’s brother instead because there’s too much else going on without shoving a rich man/poor man storyline into things.
Other than the Kilorn bits, the only real issue I had was all the sneering/smirking/muttering/murmuring. Those words were used so much it was actually a little distracting.
I wasn’t blown away by the book, but I liked it and I’ll probably pick up the next one in the hope it gets more into backstory and that there’s plenty of action/fight scenes because those were my favorite parts.
Scroll down for spoilers…
There be spoilers below!
*I want Julian to explain all this because he (and Sara) better still be alive!
**Yes, I know, Evangeline was borderline psycho, but I’m hoping she eventually becomes an ally, because she’s the kind of fierce crazy you’d want on your side. The same with The Panther – there’s definitely more than meets the eye with her.
***Shade. I knew it!
*****I wasn’t entirely sold on any of the “love” stuff – it all felt a bit forced and Mare came across as wishy-washy. More than a few times I wanted to yell at her, “Come on girl, you don’t have time for this BS, get back to The Scarlet Guard business!”