This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow 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.
Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst 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.
I hardly ever re-read books, but this one I knew I needed to. I read this book the first time when only this one was out, and it’s taken me a while to gather copies of the rest of the series. Now I finally own all of them, I decided to re-read the first one almost five years later. I read this (mostly) on audiobook as a test of whether I could run and listen to an audiobook at the same time, and I really enjoyed re-reading it!
I interestingly feel similarly to how I did the first time I read this book, and I quickly found I couldn’t remember much about it at all. I’m glad I couldn’t, because it gave me such an element of surprise all over again. Plot twists come out of nowhere in this book and I was constantly being surprised by them. Red Queen is very intense and has an interesting premise of a world split between ‘Reds’ (the poorer people, who do not have powers) and ‘Silvers’ (the people who hold the power, rich, have special powers). Mare Barrow, our protagonist is, somehow, a Red with special powers.
I see a world on the edge of a blade.
I really liked the concept of Red Queen. It is an elaborate game of power, of courts, of royalty. Of those with power and those forced to be a slave to them. It is a story of betrayal and family. It is intense without being daunting or overwhelming, a fantasy that is relatable and easy to read. The premise provides opportunities for some interesting and deep discussions of class divide, and I really liked how they were interwoven throughout this story. The writing was still beautiful the second time around, and I found myself able to picture the world clearly. The world-building was detailed, and allowed me to be drawn into the story and life in the palace.
As with the first time I read this book, the characters let it down for me. I find Mare makes for a good protagonist and I enjoyed reading her story and felt sympathetic towards her and her family. But again, I struggled to understand the love triangle, as the characters just felt kind of distant. I just didn’t feel close to either of the Prince’s, and I found myself rolling my eyes a little at the mention of Mare being attracted towards either of them.
Without balance, it will fall.
I’m looking forward to finally carrying on with this series and hopefully finding out more about the characters introduced to us in Red Queen. I can’t wait to see where this goes, and I feel like this story could just be the beginning…
4 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽