Summary: In the land of Norta, people are either Reds or Silvers. Silvers, people with silver blood, are the privileged elite in every way, including the fact that they have special magical powers or abilities. Reds, people with red blood, are normal human beings, and in this case are subjugated, oppressed, forced into poverty, slavery, or death on the front lines, fighting the Silvers' wars for them.
Street-smart Mare Barrow is a Red, with no special talents other than her ability to pickpocket, but when a failed attempt coincides with an attack staged by the Scarlet Guard (the Red rebel organization), her life changes forever when she reveals herself - in front of the Silver royal family - to be a Red with a special ability, something that is practically unheard of.
Now trapped in the Silver world of nobility, political intrigue, and the fight for justice and equality, it isn't long before Mare realizes that she is in over her head as she is forced to take on a Silver identity.
Thoughts: Epic! So epic! I've had this book a while, and just never got around to it, but since the sequel just came out this month, I finally decided to dive in. If I'm being honest, it took me a few chapters before I REALLY got sucked in, but once I reached that point, I was a total goner, and hence, me typing this review at 3 in the morning when I KNOW I should be sleeping (because I stayed up until 2am yesterday too, to read a book).
There's a lot to deconstruct here. It's a fantasy novel (because, magical powers), but it has just as much in common with, say, The Hunger Games as it does Throne of Glass. It's a broken society where the oppressed are getting restless and resorting to terrorism in order to send a message to the elite. Mare, who is forced to straddle the line between the Reds and the Silvers, is beautifully depicted as someone torn between the ideals she's fighting for and the cost of fighting in war. I was trying to find parallels between Norta and the world we currently live in, and it didn't quite line up, but it was an interesting mental exercise nonetheless. Maybe I will know more after the next book.
I know there is a romance that is teased, and to be honest, it's not the most important part of the book - at least, it didn't carry much weight for me emotionally. Maybe other people felt the feels, but for me, it was another piece in the dangerous game of politics and rebellion, important from a plot standpoint as well. And that's fine with me - I'm not saying I didn't ship it, but I think for once I didn't actually care, because I was more invested in seeing whether Mare would be successful and whether the Reds would find any sort of triumph.
There is a major plot twist that I would not have seen coming, had I not already accidentally read the inside of the book jacket for The Glass Sword. (So don't read the summary for book 2, okay?) But even with the spoiler, I still found this book to be action-packed, intriguing, and full of other twists and turns.
I can't wait to start the second book, which I have already bought. (So I'll be posting again, like, tomorrow or something =P)