I’m just going to put this out there before you read anything else in this post: I did not finish Red Queen. There I said it, now on with the show……
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. But I just couldn’t. I hate bailing on a book but in my defense I gave Red Queen a fair shake. After getting 55% of the way through (thank you Kindle for that exact percentage) I admitted defeat and just read the final chapter to get what little closure I could from the first book in a series.
The premise for Red Queen seemed right up my alley and most of the reviews I had read about it were positive. So I was excited to finally get a copy and dive in. Unfortunately almost immediately I found myself unimpressed.
First off Mare is too much like Katniss Everdeen. Worse I didn’t find her as complex a character. It was like reading the story of a watered down Katniss in a generic dystopian world. But hey, they make her a princess (kind of) so there’s that.
The Silver noble houses and wide spectrum of superhuman abilities they display had the potential to make Red Queen something special. But the world building was so basic. For example a war that’s been raging for something like a hundred years between Mare’s home country and their bordering nation is an important point to the story. Hundred year long wars should be good fodder for a rich reading experience but sadly the reason for this one was so stupid I just wanted to scream.
Apparently the war is being fought over farmland. Mare’s country is not very suitable for growing crops causing something of a food shortage problem. Supposedly even the elite Silver class has been affected though the book does a poor job of showing this. As you have probably guessed the obvious solution to this problem is spending decade after decade fighting for their neighboring countries more fertile soil.
Did nobody consider a trade agreement in the last hundred years? Anybody? Anyone at all? Not to mention one of the noble Silver houses has the ability to GROW PLANTS! No, let’s not use that ability. That would be silly!
And don’t get me started on not the love triangle but almost love square(?) going on. Seriously why does every guy like Mare?
There is more I could complain about but I think I’m done. It’s up to you if you want to give Red Queen a try. Lots of people did like it and despite my feelings about it I can see why the series has a following. It was just a miss for me.