I finished Red Queen in three days (okay, it was a weekend, but still) and I loved it so much. I’m giving it ten stars, and adding it to my favorites list. There were so many feels during this read. They kept telling me there was going to be betrayal, but they always tell you that so I didn’t take it so seriously, but there honestly was SO MUCH BETRAYAL.Red Queen had the most amazing world building, exciting action scenes and even interesting moral questions.
It’s a YA fantasy, so I recommend it mainly to fans of The Young Elites by Marie Lu, but also to fans of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. And of course to Game of Thrones fans by George R. R. Martin.
Summary (Goodreads): 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?
Doesn’t this sound like your new favorite?
Non spoiler review: I’ve pretty much said everything I can say about this incredible story, but I’ll go into some detail. The world: I loved the powerful silvers vs. the lowly reds. We can see the difference between them in the way they live, what the royals communicate to them, the work they have and how much they know about the politics. It was such an interesting world to dive into.
The characters: They were great! There were times where I loved them all, times where I hated them all, and I think that’s what we were supposed to feel. We love the characters, but they make mistakes that make them all the more interesting and all the more real. But I can’t say anymore about the characters without spoiling.
The betrayal – tons of it. Tons of it.
If you’re a fan of fantasy or even dystopea and you haven’t read this yet, I can’t understand why. You need to. Now.
Seriously, go read it.
Spoiler section: Okay, can we just talk about Maven?
So before I read this book, I went on Victoria Aveyard’s website and found a comment that someone wrote ‘Maven seemed so nice though.’ Victoria Aveyard responded ‘Sorry not sorry.’ I didn’t think much of it until I started reading the book, and as much as I loved Cal and Lucas and Julian, Maven was by far my favorite . But when I got to his part I remembered the blog comments, and started getting worried that he was going to die. Then it occurred to me that maybe he wouldn’t die, and he was just evil. So I honestly hoped he would become evil, because I just loved him that much and I couldn’t stand to see him die, therefore leaving the story. He’s not the character I usually fall for; usually it’s the villain right off the bat. But Maven was so nice, you could see he was really falling for her and wanted to do the right thing. He became the kind of guy I would fall for in real life.
Then he pulled a Hans from Frozen.
So I did scream I KNEW IT because I was hoping he was evil and not dead, and I was really happy about it. But when what I had just read registered in my mind, I was shocked and utterly mind blown. I couldn’t believe it. Maven had really been a good guy. And even though he was evil, I still loved him because a. I always love the villain b. I really fell for him during the course of the book and I guess this reveal wasn’t going to change that and c. I have hope for Maven. I really do. He obliviously loves Mare, because he offered to save her and the only reason he tried to kill her was the ‘if i can’t have you no one can’ thing, which is an idea that many villains seem to share and bothers me every time. And he made it clear in the end that there was a Thomas, and his death did hurt him. Maybe things will turn out okay? I’m not saying he’ll be good, but he can be as good as Cal, who is also a questionable character. I can’t wait to be shocked by Maven again in the second book.
Cal – If you dig really deep down, he’s a good guy. You can tell he is. He feels bad for Mare and gets her a job. But the fact that he doesn’t want to fix the Red situation bothers me too much to call him a “good” guy. Mare, the girl he loves, is a Red. Can’t he see somethings up with the way he’s treating people just because their blood color is red? But the thing is, some people really can’t see that problem if they’re raised not to, and I do love the racism theme in this book. It makes Cal feel real, and his opinions too, even though they’re about the color of blood and your magical abilities it feels all too close to things you’d seen in your every day life. But he should be able to figure out that he’s the heir, he should do something. It’s not rocket science, Cal.
I really want to see what happens to him in the next book, because his future ended on an uncertain note.
My other favorites were Lucas and Julian. I was really sad when Lucas died. He really didn’t deserve it. Another thing I love about this book is that we don’t really have a good, everything and everyone is questionable and raises a moral debate. But Lucas and Julian really were the good.
Shade – I love Shade. I’m so glad he’s not dead. Of all the surprises, seeing him alive was my favorite. It is possible that I screamed NO out loud when news of his death came. Just the fact that he signed every letter ‘dear family, I’m still alive. Obviously’ just shows how hilarious he is. I can’t wait to see more of him!
Mare – I loved her and I hated her. I loved her because she was strong, determined, and I understood her. I felt for her. I think her decision to say “I’m with you Scarlet Guard, but I’m not giving you any information”, was a smart one. She stood up for what she believed in, but she was already in enough danger as it was without getting completely involved with them. What bothered me about Mare was that she refused to get close to anyone. She just kept making more enemies. She only had one real friend in the castle and that’s Julian. She attempted to be nice to Maven and Cal, but although Maven betrayed her I wonder if he wouldn’t if he’d really gotten close to Mare, and she betrayed Cal before she knew who to trust. Maven and Cal tried so hard, even though Maven did try for the wrong reasons. If I were Mare, I would have taken his second chance, and convinced him to let Cal and Lucas live and save the Reds. There may not have been anything to do for Cal, but she could have revolutionized the live’s of all the Reds. She made a lot of bad decisions, which is good for the book, but I didn’t really see her regret many of them. But that’s one of the reasons Mare was the perfect heroine, she made some right choices and some wrong choices, she isn’t afraid to feel anger and self loathing, she admits she’s in love and she’s passionate. She wants to kill Maven, and she’s going to because that’s just the kind of girl Mare is. She’ll manipulate whoever she wants to get it, but that wasn’t my favorite thing about her either.
Moral Questions – this book really made me think about what I would do if I were in these situations. Who’s side would I be on? Everyone is wrong on some level, but who’s more right? The scarlet guard hurt people to get attention, even if they do deny it we’ve seen it (when they attacked the ball – even if there wasn’t actually a ball, people would have been hurt regardless). But is it worth it to help the Reds? And the Silvers . . . do I even need to explain their faults? It’s safer to just follow their rules, but is it worth it?
I don’t know, and that’s how I know this book is incredible.