Synopsis: Set in a world with two classes, those with Red blood live to serve the gifted Silverblood’s. Mare Barrow is a lowly Red with a talented little sister and three older brothers fighting the Silver’s war. Not far from conscription age herself, her world is shattered when she attempts to save her best friend from being forced to go to the front line.
Serious props to the publishing house that brought out Red Queen; this book was so hyped. A stunning cover didn’t hurt either. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing unique about Red Queen. It’s almost a blend of Hunger Games and Red Rising (by Pierce Brown), in fact, it rips off concepts from Red Rising so blatantly that it’s borderline plagiarism.
“Rise, red as the dawn.”
Unoriginality aside, it took me a long time (almost two weeks!) to read this book. The story moved quickly, almost at an unnatural pace in some places, but dragged in others. There were no redeemable characters; least of all the protagonist, Mare Barrow, who is selfish, predictable and sinfully dull. The “twists” are awfully predictable and really it’s just hard to care when you’re not rooting for anyone to win. And of course, there’s a flimsy love triangle thrown in. Really, is it so hard to believe that teenage girls could want just one steady and mutual relationship?
“It’s our nature. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.”
This review may seem a little harsh, but I find YA books are coming under harsher scrutiny than ever these days and it saddens me that well-written and original ideas are overshadowed by mass hype of *the-next-insert-title-of-famous-book-series-here*. Another problem is that Red Queen takes itself far too seriously. I could have forgiven this book if there were any light-hearted moments or plotlines, but it is unnaturally serious.
Don’t fall for the hype, Red Queen is not worth your precious reading time. If you like the concept, I’d urge you to read Red Rising by Pierce Brown too, despite the fact that it’s cover isn’t half as nice.