For all that know me, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m here reviewing a book. Books are magical and are such a brilliant way to escape real life and become a queen, an adventurer, a supernatural expert and so on. I started reading this book towards the end of February, and honestly I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t want it to end. So I tried to prolong reading the rest of it, until it got to the point where I couldn’t hold myself back any more. And DAYUM! It was so good!
I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Red Queen is most definitely the best dystopian book I have ever read. I was hooked immediately and wanted nothing more than to spend every second of every day with Mare, Cal and Maven. If you imagined it how I did, you’d see some elements of Divergent to it, but also with a historic twist. The gowns, the dances, the royal family – it was perfect. Red Queen brought together everything I adore and tied everything in nicely. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see characters you’d find in historic tales have these incredible powers and become even more terrifying and powerful than they would have been without them?! Take me to this place, immediately!
If you’ve not read this beautiful book yet, don’t worry, I won’t be posting spoilers! So for those of you that are just sat at your computer screens wondering what on earth Red Queen is about, let me tell you. Red Queen follows a young girl, Mare Barrow on an epic and terrifying journey no one thought possible. Mare is a Red, a person of red blood, just like you and I. However, in Mare’s world, there’s a dominant blood type, and that’s Silver. If you were Silver, you had everything. You were royal, you were worshiped, but most of all, you had powers. After meeting a mysterious and intriguing young lad, Mare gets whisked off to the Castle to work for the royal family made of Silvers. However, that’s just the beginning of Mare’s world as she knows it disappearing before her eyes. During her first day at the castle, it becomes clear that Mare isn’t like the rest of the Reds. Her blood bleeds red, but she has an extra spark to her. Mare possesses the ability to control and create electricity which is unheard of among Silvers, let alone Reds. In order to keep their eyes on Mare and hide her abilities from others they decide to hide her in plain sight and parade her around as one of them. A Silver. In the middle of all the excitement and terror, there are such strong senses of love, family, betrayal, hurt, anger, freedom and hope throughout the whole book and I couldn’t put it down. Not willingly anyway.
Mare’s story took so many twists and turns and honestly, the entire thing had me shocked. I had a really lovely ending planned out in my head, and then WHAM! The real ending happens and you just sit there thinking ‘WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!’ – the last chapter or so made me so mad. I literally became crazier than ever reading the last few pages of the book. Honestly, if you figure out what’s going to happen, then, you must be really great at finding out ‘who-dun-it’ in murder mysteries! I couldn’t believe it. I felt exactly like Mare felt. I felt sick, cold, doomed. Were these incredible characters that I grew to love just going to be snuffed out?! Would it be horrible?! What was going to happen to them if they escape?! Would they escape?! It drove me insane thinking about everything. I just didn’t see it coming. I felt too engrossed in what Mare was thinking, seeing, hearing, feeling to even piece together anything other than that. That’s all I’m going to say about the ending. You just have to read it to find out what happens, and believe me, you’ll be hooked.
The characters were complex, interesting and somewhat different from others in the dystopian world. Yes of course we have the stereotypical heroin/villain situation going on and the fight for a better and more equal world. However, these characters aim to achieve the same things essentially. However, the way they choose to do so may be a little bit different to one and other’s plans. If you’ve read the book, then you’ll notice I’ve kept the characters’ descriptions fairly vague as to not give anything away. So please don’t burn me alive if you see something that turns out to be wrong either later in the book or the series.
Mare – Mare was annoying and stubborn in the best ways possible! She knew what she wanted, she knew how she felt, she knew how to play the game. And I absolutely loved the fact that she wasn’t motivated by love, or a selfish need. She wanted her people, the Reds to be free of their tedious and practically slave-like lives. She wanted a change. And she was going to die for it if she had to. She joined a rebellion and worked as an ‘insider’ to give them the best possible chance of winning the everlasting war they’ve been fighting. Now Mare has these abilities, she’s capable of anything and everything…
Cal – Cal is one of those characters that you kind of want to fall in love with, kind of want to smack him over the head with a chair, but would totally marry him if he asked you. He’s got his heart in the right place, however he can be easily persuaded. He’s got such a soft spot for Mare and Maven (his younger half-brother) and is extremely loyal to his family and close friends. Cal of course wants a change in the way things are, alas he feels like he cannot be the King (when it’s his time to be king) to do that. He foresees a lot of bloodshed, a lot of tragedy and more heartache. He wants to be tactful and careful when planning a future like that. There’s another thing about him too that pulls at your heart-strings and makes you want to tell him it’s okay, he’ll be okay, he’s scared of letting his family down. Of his father somehow being dishonoured by his decisions. I loved Cal so much and I just wanted to smack him and then cuddle him for the rest of my life. Still do if I’m honest. I just can’t wait to start reading the next book so I can be with Cal again.
Maven – Okay so Maven is literally a babe! He takes Mare in, loves her, cares for her and ultimately protects her from the darkness of the Silver’s world. Especially when it comes to the royals and his mother, Queen Elara. You get the impression that Maven is a lost little boy with no purpose, until he finds his purpose and passion with Mare. He embraces Mare, admires her for trying so hard, for being so strong and wilful. He’s the type of guy that would probably be super shy if you met him in person, but then when someone starts giving you trouble and making you uncomfortable, Maven would swoop in and protect you like the Prince Charming he is. I’ve got to say, I think I’m leaning more towards being a Maven girl than a Cal girl. But who knows?! I loved them both so much I’d be chill with whoever really.
Elara – Queen Elara is the second wife of the King. His first wife committed suicide and thus came along Elara. She has this ability to read people’s minds, to control them. Torture them. She is what’s typically seen as a vindictive and evil Queen. Her entire plan for Mare is never entirely clear. Does she want her dead? Or does she want her to be around for something much, much worse? She is also a mother. Maven’s mother. And the contradiction between mother and son is crazy. She is strong, confident, her heart full of greed and want. Forever wanting more for Maven and herself. Forever leaving Cal to fend for himself. Elara was an interesting character because she was just so spiteful. She was wicked. And I loved her. I’d never, ever want to cross her. But at the same time, I’d want to smack her in the face with a shovel. The fact she’s fairly stereotypical and evil as you’d expect makes it that much better when you get to the ending. Her character has so much potential and so many paths she could do down. But alas, we will have to wait and see what happens next for our queen.
I could list all the character names in here and write a little bit about them all if I had the time and patience. But I guess there are some things you really do have to find out about when you read the book. Those would be the four main characters I’d say are key in this story. There are of course, others involved just as they are, but again, I’m not giving anything away. I honestly can’t describe how I felt reading the book. I fell in love with reading over and over and over again, with every page I felt as though I was there with them. On this journey into an unknown future. It was beautiful, hopeful and most of all, it betrayed everything I thought I knew about the book.
I’ll leave things here for now, because I really could go on and on about this book for such a long time, and I feel like you’ll hate me if I continue to ramble. If you’ve not read Red Queen then please, please, please pick yourself up a copy and enjoy an incredible read with twists, turns and back stabbing. You can take my word for it, but in the words of a very important character ‘anyone can betray anyone.’ Until next time, have an awfully big adventure!