This Review contains spoilers.
“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
Series: Red Queen
Published: 2015, by Orion.
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Contains: Strong Language, Violence, Death, Blood/Gore
‘Red Queen’ tells the story of a world divided in two, Reds and Silvers, based on the colour of the blood they bleed. Mare Barrow is a Red, living a life of poverty, until she sneaks into the Silver Palace and accidentally reveals her true powers. Fearing for their lives and the sake of society she is forced to pose as a Silver, betrothed to the young prince Maven, yet is torn between him and the future king, Cal.
This book has been collecting dust on my shelf for years, as I was torn between the beautiful cover and mixed reviews online. There was so much hype surrounding the first instalment but a lot of disappointment for the rest of the series. However, I felt it was time to formulate my own opinion, and I was a little underwhelmed.
The first thing I should say about this book is how much I adored the overall concept. Although, it’s not exactly unique, it reminding me a lot of The Hunger Games series on numerous occasions, I adore anything revolving around royalty and magic, meaning this book could have been perfection to me. The powers themselves weren’t very interesting, the classics of telekinesis and fire masked behind quirky names, but that didn’t bother me too much; I was more interested by the royals themselves.
However, the characters were incredibly underwhelming. The protagonist, Mare, narrated the story, yet her comments on situations were so irritating that it spoilt the story for me numerous times. I can understand that being taken away from her family and forced to live with people she despises can cause frustration. However, not once did she think logically about the situation for a minute; surely, being able to escape being forced to go to war, or being given food, and clean water, and wealth is enough to be thankful for? Am I missing something? She became a princess overnight.
Cal was probably the character I felt had the most potential for the fictional-character-of-teen-dreams. However, he had the least personality I’ve ever read of a protagonist. He’s described as a focused future king, meaning I’m aware there’s an element of maturity to the role. However, two thirds of the book was him stood moodily in the corner before confessing his love to Mare. How can she fall in love with a man who does nothing but stare at her from across the room? (Twilight, much?)
Although, the main issue I had was the war the Silver’s and Red’s were fighting. From beginning to end, it’s brought up on multiple occasions. However, there was no mention, from what I’m aware of, of what the war is actually about. Surely, if a character readers are supposed to be attracted to, Cal, was heading into battle, the main focus is describing how life-threatening and dangerous the situation apparently is. Yet, I know nothing about this war; what it’s about, who they’re against, who’s winning. I don’t care where Cal is going because I don’t know if it’s worth bothering about! I mean, Aveyard didn’t explain it so it can’t be that important, right?
Overall, I desperately wanted to like this book, the premise had so much potential and anything involving magic is always high in my estimations. However, it was clumsy, careless and disappointing. I’m really torn whether to bother continuing the series.