❝ The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule 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. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre 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.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?❞
I really enjoyed Red Queen, however, I could not quite shake the feeling that it was a combination of various popular Young Adult books like The Hunger Games, The Selection and Divergent.
I think part of that can be blamed on the fact that the author chose to follow the typical YA-recipe and all the tropes that come along with it. The book features a Dystopian world where a nation is ruled by a few powerful people. Living conditions for the oppressed are poor and they suffer greatly. Enter the super special, amazing protagonist who is different from all the others and becomes the face of the rebellion. Enter one (or a few) guys who fall in love with the protagonist and you’re done. Red Queen has all that, as do countless other YA novels, and it makes the story really predictable.
This doesn’t mean that the story is completely unoriginal. The idea of class differences because of blood color was intriguing and refreshing. Moreover, the X-men like powers were awesome!
Most of all, I really grew to love the protagonist, Mare. She resided in the lion’s den but kept her calm the entire time, plotting to bring down the royalty right under their noses. She was calculated and smart, and contrary to what some people picked up from the book, I was under the impression that she never lost herself in love-sickness. The butterflies were there, but she repressed them most of the story and never based her decisions on them.
It’s true that there were two possible love interests, but in my opinion it never developed into an actual love triangle so it did not bother me. The focus on the story was not on love, it was more on how Mare used both boys to reach her goals. I did not even see Maven as a romantic interest until he kissed Mare, and even then I did not get the impression that Mare felt anything for him but respect and a sense of duty to remain at his side as his betrothed. With Cal, there were hints, but even that did not develop into an actual relationship because it could never be anyway.
The one thing that disappointed me besides the similarity with other novels, was the utter predictability of the betrayal. It was repeated so many times how “anyone can betray anyone” that I guessed really quickly who the betrayer in this scenario would be. Everything that came after that was quite surprising though and a whirlwind of emotions, so that kind of made up for it. I loved the ending.
All in all, Red Queen is a lot like the other Dystopian YA books we know and love and it makes it predictable. It is nonetheless an interesting read with a fierce main character. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and hope that the story will distinguish itself more from others at that point.