Red Queen was one of many books I had put off reading because of its popularity. However, by the time I finished, it stood out in my mind as a storm! Emotion of the darkest nature gathers in this story to end in chaos.
Initially I found the plot predictable, but emotional conflict kept me turning the pages. I see why so many people enjoyed the book, because though dystopia isn’t my genre of choice, I couldn’t put down Red Queen.
Mare is of Red blood, meaning she’s part of the lower branch of society. Reds exist to work for the Silvers, whose special abilities give them distinction from Reds, and the ability to discriminate.
It’s a very typical, off-balance dystopian society. Silvers are powerful and rich, Reds do the hard work. Reds are drafted to the war if they don’t learn a trade; when killed at war, Reds are often disposed of in mass graves, unmarked and never to be left a flower.
Mare’s struggle at the beginning of the book to help her family make a living wins her over to us as a character. She lives as a pickpocket, hoping to gather what she can for her family before she is deported.
Her life changes when one of her attempts goes wrong: The person she’s tried stealing from is Prince Cal, who we later learn escapes the palace all the time. Instead of having her sent to prison, he gives her more money than she’s stolen in her life. The next day they’re at her door, telling her they want her at the palace.
Cal has gotten her a job as a servant for the royal family. She’ll be paid well and her family will be taken care of. It might have ended perfectly if Mare had started her job on a different day.
She arrives in time for Queenstrial, an event where young Silver ladies show off their powers, demonstrating what they could offer the crown should they marry the Prince. But Mare wrecks their show when, in a moment of chaos, she falls to the ground—and from her begin to emerge waves of purple lightning.
Mare, a lowly Red girl, has done the impossible—and at Queenstrial, of all places. She has an ability no Red should have. The only way for the royal family to cover up this blunder is changing her identity.
Though she’s pretending to be a Silver, Mare isn’t respected like the other Queenstrial girls. She’s forced to change her name and past in order to survive. To seal her fate, she’s betrothed to the youngest prince, Maven.
This is where Red Queen gripped me. I wondered who the real prisoner was, because towards the end nothing was as it seemed—I couldn’t call it predictable anymore! I closed the book with adrenaline rushing through my veins.
Red Queen could be compared to other popular novels, but I think it has the typical traits for popular dystopia, which isn’t a bad thing! We close the book wondering if Mare’s destiny can ever be positive; after all, she’s one girl facing a society the queen has cleverly lied to. When you read the book, you’ll see what I mean.
Red Queen earned its popularity. For someone who rarely picks up dystopia, I’m glad I gave it a chance. I hope Mare has her justice carried out and hearts will be healed, but the world they live in is so tumultuous. All I know for sure is that I’m reading the next book!