BookTok has been very divisive about this book. And still the premise intrigued me. And for the time it remained on my TBR the debates on this book plagued me.
And I now understand why it’s so divisive because I also feel the same way after reading this.
The powerful and magically enhanced Silver blooded put the Red blooded into poverty. And after a series of events involving petty thievery and employment in court, Mare discovers that she is just as powerful as the Silvers despite being Red. The crown claims her as a long lost Silver, clearly afraid of the consequences this may cause especially with a rebellion of Reds seeking to take them down. And Mare is a part of it, yet she falls for a pair of Silver princes seeking equity for Reds. But what will her rebellion do to them?
While I liked the worldbuilding it was very confusing to visualise it. This is because it felt both modern and old at the same time, whether by districts or even within individual locations. I guess it’s too unique to visualise slums with generators fueling homes close to a modern and industrial arena with Superbowl jumbo screens. As a very visual person this was very annoying. Every story I’ve read I could get a visual vibe from very easily and this one kept me second guessing when this was comparably set to modern day histories and cultures.
The plot itself was well done. I love myself some political intrigue and learning the ways of a world being run while attempting to take it down in the process. Mare had a very good lens and adaptability for this as a result. This made the scenes within court very entertaining to watch. Shame that it took a while to get there, but once we did I very much enjoyed it. And Mare was making allies! Quite often it is a game of making enemies in these situations, but making allies was a good thing to see in this story.
The characters themselves are great for the most part. You could get their motivations pretty easily and while some of them were tropey I didn’t mind. They were made in a way that still made them enjoyable and had them still hold depth, have agency and so much more. This was good character writing.
And now the bad side of this coin. This turned me away from continuing the series like nothing. There is a twist villain, but it’s almost a Hans from Frozen level of a twist villain. The former not villain had their entire personality go through a switcharoo that I’m convinced it was an evil twin and not the actual character we came to know about. I have never seen such a bad way to tell a story. I’ve read good twist villains in The Dragon Lords and and this mocks them.
As a result the way this novel ended broke my enjoyment. I realised that to continue this series I would be reading something that I would not enjoy. The story changed drastically. I won’t be reading this series.
Red Queen gets a score of 3.5 out of 5. Don’t pull a switcheroo on me like that, you know how much I hate it.
Yours in writing