Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .
Well, RED QUEEN was a bit of a roller coaster read. I liked it, then I hated it, then I liked it again. There were so many things I liked about the story and the world, and then the things that made me want to throw my Kindle across the room. I feel like the best way to approach this review would be to explain my journey through RED QUEEN, starting with the first 70%.
This first part of RED QUEEN was the part I quite enjoyed. The first chapter brings the action, after a bit of Mare’s
(neigh) family history, and introduces us to the harsh world. The world was written to be dark and shocking, and it was really horrifying at times. The coolest part of the world was the Silvers. Not because they were nice people, most of them are despicable human beings. But their powers. There’s what is essentially elemental bending like you’d see in Avatar, people who can compel others with their voice, control minds, heal, and so much more. Powers makes it easy for the Silvers to oppress the Reds, which helps the dystopian setting of the novel. What dystopian would be complete without a harsh government to rebel against?
Another thing that impressed me sometimes was the writing. Every now and then I’d come across an awesome passage. The words just resonated, were badass, made your blood boil and heart sing. There were also times when cliched lines were delivered unfortunately, but the great moments in writing outweighed the annoying for the most part.
And now it’s time to talk about what happened after the 70% mark to piss me off. This may get a bit ranty, just a warning. Much of this annoyance has to do with Mare herself and the romance.
What first started to piss me off was some of the convenience that came along with Mare’s plans. She managed to achieve things which really should not have been so easy. For example View Spoiler » the Silver Sentinels guarding the group of terrorists leaving after she asked. Even though they acknowledged they were not to leave for anyone, orders probably from someone a lot higher than a future princess. She didn’t even have to compel or threaten them. « Hide Spoiler Then there’s the Mare’s indecision when it comes to Cal.
Cal was probably my favourite character in RED QUEEN, and one of the few decent Silver characters. He sneaks into Red villages undercover to listen to what the Reds are saying- what’s hurting them, what improvement they would like to their way of life, etc. He meets Mare when he’s visiting her village after she tries to pick his pocket and instead of turning her in, he gives her money then organises a job for her as a servant so she won’t be conscripted. Yet Mare is convinced that he is just like his father View Spoiler » because he doesn’t want to force a rebellion and change. He knows suddenly making Silvers and Reds equal will no go down well on both sides. He doesn’t want to cause unnecessary bloodshed, he’d prefer to keep the peace. « Hide Spoiler Seriously, his actions say he’s a decent guy, even if he has to follow orders that sometimes make it seem not so. Mare is just so dense and obviously not observant. I mean there’s that line where Cal says something like “I can’t just sit by and let others fight for me” in regards to fighting in the war View Spoiler » He wanted to take a legion of undercover Silvers to the frontlines of the war to fight alongside the reds, but things happen and he’s forbidden from going « Hide Spoiler. So obviously Mare’s thought in response was “He sounds like a child whining for a toy–he must enjoy killing.”
These thoughts don’t stop Mare from kissing and pining after him… Then hating him again. Then being pleased when he shakes of his betrothed then hating and UGH. GURL, MAKE UP YOUR MIND. This indecisiveness is part of the romance too, which featured cliched lines and much eye rolling from me. There is more than one love interest and I am not a fan of any of the possible relationships. At all.
Then there’s the part that made me lose my respect for Mare. She joined a terrorist group to help overthrow the government. They plan events where people are going to die and there will be collateral damage. Yet after the event she refuses to learn the names of everyone who died because she doesn’t want it weighing her down. This pissed me of so much. You don’t rebel without death, and if you can’t face the consequences of such actions you shouldn’t have joined a terrorist group, honey.
I was so worried that the remainder of the book was going to piss me off more and more with ever page. Fortunately there was a great plot development at around the 85 or 90% mark. After that, everything improved drastically. It wasn’t a shocking development, but one I’m glad happened because if it went the other way I would have stopped reading I think. It helped explain some of the convenience of the annoying part. Action starts again and there’s betrayal, death, the whole shebang. People call Mare out on her stupidity which was needed, and there’s some awesome fight scenes. RED QUEEN really was redeemed by the plot in this last part.
RED QUEEN started off great, with the harsh world and the powers of the Silvers. Unfortunately there were parts in the middle that let me down. Mare got on my nerves with her indecisiveness and stupidity, there was annoying romance, and many things seemed to happen way too conveniently. It almost made me put the book down but the big plot twist near the end was enough to redeem RED QUEEN.