Hola! Wow, a book review?! I haven’t done one of these since June! Tragically enough, I wasted the first half of June far as reading and it put me behind my reading challenge for quite a bit. Red Queen actually brought me one step ahead of it now, so hopefully, I can keep up!
Chapter length: ✭✭✭✭✭
Cliche count: ✭✭
Overall rating: ✭✭✭✭✭
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.
Whew, Red Queen gave me The Young Elites feels all over again! I see a vast amount of complaining that it was all too similar to most dystopian books: A prince destined to be the next king, betrayal, death. But honestly? I’ve missed it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read many dystopian books, but I don’t know if I can ever get tired of love, lies, and a thirst for power. I’m all for Red Queen.
Characters: I LOVE EVERYONE. I mean everyone. Even Evangeline, when I wanted to punch her in the throat sometimes. Even Elara. Even Cal. Even Maven.
I see people complaining about Mare being all over the place emotionally, but can you really blame her? I’d be confused too! She’s literally alive because of a lie. Do you know what happens when you lie? You have to continuously lie to cover the first lie! Imagine your first mistake costing you your life. Imagine walking among people who have enslaved your people for centuries. Imagine walking among snakes. Anyone can betray anyone. In that kind of setting, it’s so easy to feel small and powerless, and even easier to grasp the first sign of loyalty. (HINT HINT. UGH.) You look for someone who you can confide in, and once you have that person, you feel safe. More willing to take risks, as you know you aren’t alone anymore. That’s why Mare was sometimes stronger than she ever knew she could be, and at other times, she described herself as a “little girl” because her loyalty was betrayed. (UGHHHHH.) Almost every character in this book has a personal vendetta against someone else. As we learn, no one is safe.
Cover: Hype!! Yes hype! Love this cover. Depicts exactly what the book is about: the possibility of a queen with red blood in a world where only silvers rule. I love that the crown is silver too.
Pacing: Again, The Young Elites feels! Back to that heart racing, literal anxiety-inducing pacing that I cannot get enough of.
Chapter length: The length of each chapter was perfect. I progressed throughout the book with no trouble whatsoever. In fact, the only times I stopped in the little of a chapter was probably to scream.
Cliche count: Now, I do understand where everyone is coming from with Red Queen being very similar to The Young Elites and The Hunger Games. I get it. But honestly, what is dystopia without some kind of divide? What is dystopia without royalty and ruins? What is dystopia without personal vendetta and manipulation? Maybe I haven’t come across a “unique” dystopian novel yet, but I honestly don’t mind the same sort of setting. The thing I appreciate the most about Red Queen is actually the uniqueness of the divide: blood. Something you cannot see without harm. In TYE, the divide was obvious because everyone had markings from the blood fever. In THG, the divide was obvious because the rich were rich and the poor were poor. You could argue that it’s the same in RQ, but the difference in blood color had to be discovered. The powers silvers possessed had to be discovered. Most of the uniqueness in RQ comes from Mare being a hybrid of both worlds. That kind of exception isn’t present in TYE or THG.
I think the thing that keeps me coming back for dystopian novels are the freaking plot twists. I’m not going to spare all of you who want a spoiler-free review this time, I’m going right in.
WHAT. THE. HELL?
@ MAVEN? HELLO? HOW DARE YOU?
You see, here’s my issue. I knew it. From the second Maven pledged his loyalty to the Scarlet Guard, I KNEW something was up! I thought I was onto him… until he continuously proved me wrong. When I read, I tend to take on the persona of the main character. And so when Mare began to trust Maven, I did too. I felt her desperation for some type of safety, and together we both played right into his little traitorous hands. It’s so incredibly annoying because I totally was right! In retrospect, Why did I ever NOT trust Cal? CAL IS THE ONE THAT SAVED MARE IN THE FIRST PLACE. He saved her from conscription by getting her into the castle, and she and I both had the nerve to completely disregard that and call him the enemy? SMH. Aveyard found an evil way to play her readers and her main character. Genius.
Moving on, I really like the powers the silvers have in this world. If someone were to do a tag for this book of what kind of ability you’d have, I hope I’d be a nymph. Nymphs are AWESOME. Anyway, the fact that Mare is red with silver powers really surprised me. I knew there obviously had to be more to the situation before she fell onto the electric barrier, but I didn’t know what it’d be. Hybrid human? Heck yeah! And I think she has every right to gloat here and there about it, because she’s trying to use this unique exception for change. If she would’ve discovered this and went “ah, awesome! I’ll just stay here then happily ever after,” It would’ve made her fake and annoying to me as she already is to others.
To be fair, she does get a little blindsided by her love for Maven and Cal. Yes, there’s a love triangle, but I didn’t necessarily care about it? I mean, the last operation fails because she believes Cal has the same soft spot for her as she does for him (“He will always choose you.” MAVEN. *Side eyes*) but I think that’s the only time her feelings for Cal impact the story. She mentions here and there how she has a certain feeling surrounding him, but part of me thinks that’s due to the mere fact that he saved her. I think her feelings of appreciation display themselves as love when that’s really not the case. I believe she wholeheartedly fell for Maven, and Cal was only a slight want when things got bad. That’s my opinion though.
Overall, Red Queen was an anxiety-ridden trip down memory lane for me. I didn’t mind the cliche dystopian setup that everyone complained about or the love triangle. I love all the characters because they are complex. The silvers forget what fear is until they are challenged, thinking that they will forever be safe under the king and his “power.” It’s a pretty nice life lesson. Basically, don’t get too full of yourself because there will always be someone to come knock you off your high horse. Or as Kendrick Lamar would say, sit down and be humble.
Let me know your thoughts on the book/my review in the comments. Until next time!
P.S.: LUCAS DESERVED BETTER.