Mare Barrow is a Red who lives in the poor parts of her city with her family. Her country’s social order is determined by blood color; Red for the commoners and Silver for the nobles who also have special abilities. Mare’s three older brothers were drafted for the war, and since Mare doesn’t have a job, she will also be drafted when she turns eighteen. In a desperate attempt by Mare to save her friend, Kilorn, from being drafted after he lost his job, Mare’s younger sister, Gisa, gets injured and loses her job as well. That night, Mare meets a stranger who offers her enough money to save both herself and Kilorn from being drafted. The next day, Mare is summoned to the castle to fill in as extra help for Queenstrial, a pageant where noble Silver girls display their abilities in hopes of being chosen to marry the Silver prince, Cal. By a twist of fate, Mare is forced to stay in the castle as a Silver after it is discovered she has abilities, even though she is a red. As Mare pretends to be a Silver in the castle, she learns many things about the two princes, her abilities, and the power and greed of the Silvers as she strives to keep up appearances while also trying to do what is right.
I loved how the author used a ton of imagery and metaphors, usually relating to the color red, and it gives the book more depth because rather than just description and dialogue like a typical book, the uses of these literary devices gives the book a more poetic feel. The book was well written and riddled with plot twists that left me up late at night trying to figure out what would happen next. While some of the betrayals left me heartbroken, the hope at the end of the book of better things to come left me feeling excited to read the sequel. I also loved the author’s take on social injustices and hierarchies. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure.
The most memorable thing about this book would have to be the motifs of red, silver, and blood. These things come up many times in the book as the main character deals with acting as someone she is not , a Silver, while also trying to be her red blooded self. The symbolism in the book using red and silver was also really unforgettable.
Reviewed by Dorothy, Grade 11, Gayton Library