Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Magic
Anyone can betray anyone. It’s a saying as old as the world itself, but somehow people still overlook it at times. Just as we share the same cause and the same hatred, we assume we are bound for life as a team, like there’s no possibility for betrayal in between. This book brought the notion over and over again, stating that anyone can betray anyone. I like this book a lot for that particular reason, the concept of betrayal and of life is as grey as the world itself. You can’t stand in one side and think that you share the same feeling as those standing with you, there will always be betrayal.
At first it was very hard to like Mare Barrow as the main character of this book. There was so much in her that I could see in other female characters in other YA dystopian novel; the angst, the feeling of being less than her sibling, the feeling of being cheated by a system out of reach. But as the story progresses, you see that although the resemblance never leave her, Mare on her own was a unique character that gets to you after several times. Her frustration and her confusion is frustrating for me almost all the time, but be in her shoes and you can understand her. She was literally a poor girl with zero skills, except for pickpocketing which is not a very admirable trait in a main character.
Halfway through the book, things get even more tense and I literally can’t put my book down. I didn’t even care that I was in a formal conference when I decided to just keep on reading. The relationship progress between Mare and Maven was very interesting, and even though I ruined my own experience with this book by googling and knowing that Maven would eventually betrayed Mare, I still like Maven. He was a different kind of evil character. Even after he betrayed a whole lot of people, his brother, his father, and Mare, I can still manage to root for him. Maven was definitely a character I didn’t expect to like, much less root for.
I also thought about it after finishing this book and looking through some comments people posted about the characters, and I’m going to say it again here. I don’t think Maven is an equivalent of Joffrey; Joffrey is in another class of demented and evil all on his own (although this was not by choice, he was a product of incest which might explain his demented demeanor). Maven is also not a Mama’s boy. True, he did work on behalf of his mother and by the guidance of his mother, but if you read the scene where Maven came down the dungeon to meet Cal and Mare before they were sent for execution, you can see that above all, he did what he did out of jealousy. He only wanted proof that he can outshine his big brother, and to prove that he can do something to his Father. And I don’t think Maven’s act was driven by the fact that he thinks Mare chooses Cal over him, I think this particular aspect came later on after the plan progresses; I don’t think this was in any way one of the reason why he did what he did.
If Mare thinks she was no more than a pawn, be it for the Silvers or the Scarlet Guards, Maven was also no more than Pawn used by his own Mother to gain what she wants. She is a Whisper, she could get into Maven’s head from when he was so young to understand his weakness and use it to her heart’s content in gaining what she wants, might be the throne, might be something else, or simply just to avenge the fact that the King didn’t choose his wife through Queenstrial but simply chooses Cal’s mother out of love. And now I’m going to have to wait for another year! Gah! I hate this feeling. In the mean time, I’m just going to root for Maven.