Hardcover, 383 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen
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 ...
Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover
Red Queen was a surprise for me. I had avoided the book for a year now, in fear of being disappointed. I was halfway through the first chapter when I decided that it was worth trying. The imagery was vivid, painting the story world in vibrant colors. The author had an amazing writing style. She made everything appear movie-esque and cinematic, especially the action scenes. I loved these parts most of all. I savored every cinematic scene in the book as much as I could. It reminded me a bit of Marie Lu's writing style, as we've seen it in Legend. The plot was exciting and action-packed, with just the right amount of humor, sarcasm and drama. The dystopic setting made it all the more appealing to me.
Mare as a heroine was fierce and daring. She was a bright flame in a dark room, filling up the pages with snark, courage and determination. She was street smart, having been a thief who outsmarted several people on a daily basis. However, I felt that she made some unwise decisions on the book, despite her rational, logical and suspicious characteristics. I liked how she stuck with the rebellion all throughout the novel, never putting down the crimson flag. She kept fighting for the equality of Reds and for that she earned my respect. As she navigated the court of Silvers, she kept her heart beating Red. She bore two faces: the Silver, cold and calculating mask of Lady Mareena; and the open and fierce face of a Red ready to fight and survive.
There were two princes in the book: Cal, the first born and heir; and Maven, the second prince. Cal was like the "summer prince" for me, warm, thoughtful, gentle but also fierce and lethal. He seemed out of the place in the gentry, with his easy and sincere smiles. I instantly loved him. How could I not? He protected Mare, a Red, and offered her kindness over and over again. Maven, on the other hand, was the overlooked prince. He was the shadow of the flame, always a step behind his brother. He was the lonely prince and Mare and I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Maven seemed to appear at the right time and say the right words. He has become a companion to Mare, helping her adjust and bear the eyes of the Silvers. To make things more interesting, there was actually a third boy: Kilorn, Mare's longtime friend. With green eyes, a mouth that said the funniest, silliest things, he was quite a handful. But that didn't stop Mare from caring about him. He was a Red and an orphan, making him one of the most vulnerable characters in the book. However, Kilorn was nothing if not a fighter. He was tired of the system, just like all the Reds. He wanted a change and he would do anything to see it come to pass.
There were two classifications of men: Red and Silver. Reds were the people born without abilities, without that special something in their blood to make them stand out. They served the Silvers endlessly, breathing and living to make the life of Silvers easy. They worked hard, bled and most of them died in the war. The conscription was mandatory and every individual aged 18 and non-working, would be sent to the war to fight a century-old battle. The Silvers were the upper class, the special ones who had special abilities. They lorded over the Reds, controlling and ruling the population. The divide made me feel so angry at the unfairness of it all. It was like racism, only worse: it zeroed in on the presence of special abilities. Since Reds and Silvers didn't really mix, and there was no 'marrying in,' (at least not mentioned in Red Queen) then this meant that Red families would continue to be sans special abilities forever. It might just be me but the reader in me, saw similarities of the situation in modern life: the divide between the marginalized sector and the upper class. It was almost impossible to get through that wall dividing the two.
Initially, I thought the Silvers to be faeries because of the exposure to faery-like powers in the early parts of the book. But as the story progressed, I realized that the type of powers in the book was much more diverse and bordered on similarities with X-Men. I would have liked a much more detailed discussion on the historical aspect of Silvers and Reds because I was so curious about the origin of Silvers. Where did they come from? How did they came to be? Was it like the Lord of the Rings, where they had various types of creatures co-existing in a single world? I wanted to know. I was a bit sad that this question went unanswered.
Red Queen was a startlingly violent and engrossing fantasy, tinged with intense emotions, class struggle and oppression. It was not a perfect book, there were holes in the story, but do not let this stop you from trying to read the book. It was an enjoyable tale, with an entertaining cast. I recommend it to readers of fantasy, readers who like cinematic action scenes, and readers who like super powers in YA.
4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!