Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Published by Hachette Australia, Orion on February 12, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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A thrilling new fantasy trilogy for fans of DIVERGENT and THE HUNGER GAMES.
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
I have one problem with Red Queen: it was SO boring! I was literally sitting here, waiting for something to actually happen other than Mare’s romantic escapades with the Princes. But it was just disappointment for me.
The concept of the book was interesting, with people who bleed red or silver blood. Because of evolution, those who bleed silver can command superpowers. Mare is a red born and bred, but when she discovers her lightning powers in the royal court, she gets betrothed to the Prince so they can keep her under close watch. Which begs the question: Why didn’t they just kill Mare? While reading the book, it seemed like this would have been the most convenient solution, instead of training her to become more powerful and opening themselves to a threat. Especially after I learnt they were killing off others in the background.
I used to think there was only the divide, Silver and Red, rich and poor, kings and slaves. But there’s much more in between, things I don’t understand, and I’m right in the middle of it.
This was only one of my unanswered questions, which began to pile up while reading the book. How did the silvers get their powers? How did the world come to be? If Mare was suspicious, why is she being kept there? Why is Mare trusting Maven? How was the Scarlet Guard formed? There were so many plot holes, sacrificing world building and explanations in exchange for Mare’s developing feelings for the two princes.
Silvers being the elite class and all of them being evil and corrupt, and Reds being honest, hardworking people was such an overused trope in fantasy novels. There was a lot of commentary about the classes and the injustice of it all, but I wanted to lot more basis for the revolution other than the Silvers oppressing the reds. After all, the world in a dystopian novel is the reason why we’re attracted to reading it in the first place, and if it’s not developed properly then I can’t enjoy the story.
You may have guessed that most of the plot focuses on the romance. I felt no chemistry between her and the young prince Maven, even as they developed a trusting friendship. Cal, the crown prince was a much more interesting character, who would go behind the back of his fiancee to kiss Mare. I just didn’t like any of the love interests because they just felt so dull and boring.
I can’t believe I didn’t see him for what he was from the beginning: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And now I’m the sheep pretending to be the wolf.
Mare was also a typical dystopian heroine which the entire red society is pinning on for hope of revolution. She learns her powers quickly through training, is so beautiful and attractive that no less than three guys like her (the third being a Gale like friend at home) and is the key to a revolution. Mare and the rest of the other characters just felt so bland that I couldn’t really get into the book.
Superpowers are always good, and Mare’s lightning powers and the brothers’ fire was fascinating. I liked the blend of powers, fantasy and dystopian genres, although I wish they were developed a little more. I also really enjoyed the twist at the end and the last part of the book presented for the action that I’d been waiting for alll book. These last few chapters may have saved the book for me, but it was too little too late.
One day he’ll realize I’m his enemy, and all this will be a far-gone memory. But not yet.
Red Queen borrowed heavily from other popular dystopian reads, like Hunger Games (revolution and figurehead), Red Rising (colour coded class based system) and Divergent (Mare’s blend of powers). Most of the book was dry and boring and I couldn’t connect to the romance, characters or the world, especially due to the underdeveloped world. You might like it if you’re looking for more of the same, but after reading the fantastic Golden Son, this was just so bland in comparison.
This wasn’t a bad read, I was just disappointed because my expectations were sky high.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!