In the depths of winter, at about 2:30 on the afternoon of Wednesday January 13, avid readers of the book club met to discuss their latest novel: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard. After delectable cupcakes and juice were quickly consumed, the members focused their attention on the heart of the meeting, which involved pondering themes, chatting about characters, and debating the good and bad aspects of the novel.
Red Queen is a fantasy novel which was published in February 2015. It tells the classic rags to riches tale in which a young teenage girl, Mare Barrow, is born into a poor family but soon gets a job in the nearby castle and becomes engaged to one of the princes. However, the real story is much more complex. Mare lives in a world where all people are divided based on the colour of their blood. Those with supreme wealth are referred to as “silvers” because they have silver blood, and those who struggle daily in poverty are the “reds” because they bleed red. Historically, the Silver people have always conscripted the reds to fight for them in various wars. Mare is a red, but she has supernatural abilities, such as she can conjure lightning from within her. After meeting the disguised older Silver prince referred to as Cal, Mare soon finds herself being forced to work in the castle. She becomes engaged to Cal’s younger brother, Maven, and as she becomes accustomed to the new Silver environment, she increasingly finds herself caught between the world she was born into and the world she presently inhabits.
Overall, members agreed that the book seemed very predictable in that Mare happened to get a job in the castle, and then also just happened to become engaged to one of the princes and instantly become entangled in various conflicts. But in general, book club members agreed that they did enjoy the novel. It was suspenseful, had a likable main character, and told a great story about the perception of identity. The next book club meeting will be on Wednesday February 24 at 2:30pm in the library, to discuss perceptions regarding Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key.