Love at First Sight – Find a book with a cover you fell in love with at first sight.
This theme was right up my alley. My best friends know that picking books by their cover is one of my favorite ways to find a book and odds are high they can pick one for me because they know my type so well. These days I spend more time listening to or reading books on my kindle so the covers are not always the biggest factor but they still have to get my attention. And this one definitely does!
Imagine a world where you believe there are two kinds of people – Reds, typical red-blooded humans who serve as the working class, and Silvers, silver-blooded elites with magic abilities. Mare Barrow is a Red – until she discovers in front of the King, Queen and a huge audience – that she has magic abilities. The King and Queen launch a cover-up operation: Mare becomes Marina, a long-lost Silver who was raised as a Red, and so they can keep tabs on her they betroth her to their younger son, Prince Maxon. This less than flawless plan is complicated by a rebel faction who are sick of seeing the Reds suffer at Silver hands.
What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?
I love a story where someone discovers powers they didn’t know they had. It was fascinating to watch as Mare uncovered pieces of history and navigated her way through the Silver world while trying to get a grip on her abilities. I was cheering her on the whole way! That said, this book is a slow build and was clearly designed to be a series so it feels long as you’re reading it. There were times I was amazed to be only to the halfway mark because it felt like it should have been near the end. This was good and bad.
How did you relate to/care for the characters? What’s your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?
Mare is the YA heroine I always wanted to read about. She’s a strong female lead who doesn’t come across as obnoxious and isn’t purely motivated by getting a cute boy to like her. Her main priority is to survive so she can protect her family. Though Mare gets help from people around her throughout the story it doesn’t seem like she sits around waiting for people to bail her out. I also really liked that she goes along with what she’s told to do just enough of the time that it feels realistic for someone who’s genuinely out of her element and scared but knows she needs to take action.
That said, there is a weird relationship triangle between Mare, her fiance Maxon and his older brother, Cal. The romance felt really secondary to the plot though so you won’t be picking this up because of the dreamy love story or anything like that. Mare and Cal are the natural match but he’s the Crown Prince and engaged to someone else. He’s also everything Mare hates about the Silvers, and I really wasn’t convinced she had feelings for him despite what the book wanted you to think. Maxon starts out as awkward but becomes an ally and I hoped over time they would really and truly fall for one another. Again, I wasn’t convinced there were deep feelings there, it felt more like they were going through the motions but laying a foundation for something real.
I made the mistake of reading a review that spoiled me on one major plot twist but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment – I knew it was coming but I was still every bit as angry and frustrated when it happened as I would have been. I think it may have helped with the suspense too. This was the first book I’ve read in a while that really had me screaming and cheering out loud as the twists escalated.
What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular TV show or movie with it’s themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now?
I would almost call this series the YA version of Game of Thrones with way less adult content and slightly less murder. It’s still dark and twisty with supernatural elements, lots of fight scenes and violence that’s horrifying and visceral (way too real, even with silver blood that I can’t quite picture). The marketing team mentioned The Selection series in the blurb, but the only real similarity is that they both revolve around a teenage girl (with similar names, admittedly) from a lower class family who ends up engaged to a prince. If you wanted it to be like The Selection you would be disappointed.
You could also draw comparisons to The Hunger Games series, but I prefer Mare over Katniss, hands down. If you liked Hunger Games you might enjoy this book.
You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages?
The cover for this book is gorgeous and features the main elements of the book – a crystal crown dripping with bright red blood. It’s brutal but accurately conveys the main elements of the story. Since I listened to the audio book, I can’t talk about any other design elements but I will say that I loved the narrator.
How many out of five do you give this book? Would you recommend this book to a friend?
I gave this book 4 stars and definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre, unless you’re looking for a nice love story to along with your bloodshed.
Collaboreads is a monthly link-up for book lovers hosted by Rachel and Kristin. Every month there is a new prompt or criteria for picking your book for the month. Then you read and review! I’d love to have you join us next month! In the meantime, tell me in the comments about the last book you read or hope to read soon? I’m always looking for recommendations!