The world is split in to two classes: reds who are the workers and silvers who have special abilities and are the upper class. Mare and her family are red. All of her brothers have been sent to war and Mare is expected to get the same summons when she runs in to a mysterious stranger. Trying to pick-pocket him, he catches her but instead of getting her in trouble, offers her more money. The next day, Mare is wisked away to the summer palace and expected to work as a servant. This is a big change from going to war. Soon, Mare finds out that the person that saved her is the prince. As he tries to find a wife, all the silvers represent their abilities to him: moving metal, creating fire, shifting water. When the last girl causes part of the arena to be destroyed and Mare to fall towards her, Mare realizes she has a power too: harnessing electricity. The royalty puts her in a position representing her as a silver raised as reds even though she is red through and through.
The start of the book described this world where silvers rule and reds work for them. This interesting new world raised questions for me about how they got to that point. It would have been nice to have some insights on this. The book started off good and I wanted to pull for Mare to have a better life for her and her family. I also wanted the reds to bring down the silvers. But going through Mare with her journey didn't really help me continue to feel this way.
I expect Mare to be a fish out of water while she's with the silvers. However her reactions started to wear on me. Every time someone said something stupid, she wanted to punch them in the head. These reactions didn't fit with her personality and it more seemed like the writer's way of showing that Mare was frustrated. It got obnoxious after a while and made me not care for Mare as much.
There are some good twists and turns in this book. I'm mildly interested in what continues on in this world, but I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to pick up the next book in the series.