Red Queen introduces us to Mare Barrow, a regular girl forced to live in the slums of civilization because her blood is red. The upper class, in addition to bleeding silver, are endowed with supernatural abilities. Some of them can read minds, while others can heal, or manipulate certain elements. The silvers live seemingly carefree lives while the reds are forced into enlistment at the age of 18. This is normal for Mare’s world. But some things are about to change. For one, Mare discovers her own powers, ones no one has ever heard of. For another, she suddenly finds herself engaged to a prince: a silver. Can Mare blend in with the upper classes? Or will the threat of rebellion rise, red as the dawn?
The concept sounds really cool, right? That’s because it is. This book is full to bursting with potential. But that’s about it. It’s not that the idea of a futuristic-middle-agey dystopian world is overused. In fact, it’s one that almost always interests me. But we don’t get very much of it. Aside from once or twice when a character is actively looking at a map or when they are traveling, we don’t get a very good idea of the world as a whole. Sure, there’s a massive war going on and I didn’t expect the reds to know everything, but I did expect more knowledge from the silvers. Aside from the immediate surroundings, the reader really doesn’t get very much in the way of layout for the cities and buildings, much less culture.
As far as characters and storyline go, I wouldn’t say I was surprised by anything or anyone. Granted, I had the plot twist spoiled for me, but I think I would have caught on pretty early anyway. I will say that my favorite character is not Mare. In fact, I’m not really a fan of Mare. For a girl who’s supposed to be really good at reading people she misses a lot. My favorite character is Evangeline. She’s the only person I feel like I really got a read on. She’s complex, while everyone else feels a little 1 or 2 dimensional. I think it would be awesome to follow Evangeline for a book or two. I can’t even begin to imagine what goes through her head.
At first, I thought the book was very much Hunger Games meets The Lunar Chronicles, but it did eventually deviate and do its own thing, at least for a little while. I picked up this book because just about every BookTuber and YA reader that I follow is obsessed with it. (The second book, Glass Sword, comes out in February 2016) After reading it and the reviews, I’m hearing a lot of comparisons to another futuristic dystopian series: Red Rising. (Which I haven’t read yet) Although Red Rising takes place on Mars and follows a male lead, it’s the ‘reds’ against the ‘golds’, and the main character has to infiltrate the upper classes and lead a rebellion, etc. So, it’s up to you which one you want to read, but they do sound extremely similar.
Will I read the sequel? Probably, but only because I like Evangeline and I’m really hoping Aveyard will flesh out the world some more. I’d be interested in seeing if all the silvers have the same abilities in the other countries, or if that varies. If you like YA or futuristic-middle age-y settings or dystopias or love triangles, this is the book for you. If you have a history of disliking main characters who are a tad oblivious and overly trusting, however, I’d say you should probably skip this one.
HHC Rating: 2 Stars