Red Queen

Hello and happy Monday, bibliophiles! I hope you’re all having a lovely spring, a fantastic holiday, and you’re enjoying a mountain of books! I certainly know that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve also become my father’s daughter because I’ve become obsessed with gardening. I’ve taken on two whole projects. An english country cottage space for outside and some succulents for indoors. We’ll see how it goes. Any advice is absolutely welcome!

Anyway, I know in my last few posts, I’ve discussed a series that I’ve had in progress. I feel like I’ve been saying that for a long time, but it wasn’t getting done. Well, today, that changes. Before the Easter holiday, I was able to get enough time to finish the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and bring you guys a review. I’ve always been drawn to the covers of these books when I’ve wandered my local B&N, and I bought book one at least a year ago. It always sat on my shelf because I knew it was a series and I didn’t want to leave myself with cliffhangers. Fast forward to me purchasing King’s Cage (the third and final book in the series) and being determined to sit down and get my nose into these once and for all. Here we go.

So, it wasn’t until I was halfway through Red Queen, book one, before I realized the accompanying novellas for this series were meant as prequels. I had debated reading them anyway, just because I don’t always find novellas necessary to the story, and in this case, I was correct. There are two novellas, Queen Song and Steel Scars, but you can buy them as a set in Cruel Crown. Yes, I got some background information as to the life of a Red and the life of a Silver (I’ll explain later), but I just didn’t need to stop what I was reading to back pedal to find out things I already felt I knew or were implied.

The main story begins with Red Queen. In the future, Mare Barrow (and her entire family) are Reds. Commoners, ruled by a hierarchy of Silvers. Elites who bleed silver blood. They also have superhuman abilities that the Reds don’t possess. The classes are completely separate and absolutely distinct. Reds are meant to work, or serve in war, and fight for the Silver causes, no matter how absurd. Mare’s sister, Gisa, works in the palace of the Silver king, as a seamstress, and it’s when Mare finds herself on the grounds to help her sister one day that she discovers something unsettling. Unlike the rest of the Reds, and unknown to the Silvers, she has a talent of her own. An ability that she shouldn’t have with her blood. When the Silvers are made aware of her capabilities, her life changes entirely. She’s held prisoner in their palace, engaged to Maven, the future Silver king, and given a new Silver identity. While she hates her fate, Marrow decides to use her new position to her advantage and help her family and friends rise through the ranks and overthrow the Silver power. Luckily, she finds an unlikely friend and partner in Maven’s brother, Cal. It’s when the king loses his life that things take a turn for the worst.

In Glass Sword, Cal and Mare are well aware of Maven’s betrayal and decide to make their escape before they both wind up dead. Maven never really cared for Mare, but rather he was created in his mother’s likeness to rule with an iron fist and throw down the gauntlet when necessary. He decides that both his brother and Mare will interfere with his plans for the future, and so they must be dealt with accordingly.

Using their abilities to control fire and take on lightening, Cal and Mare barely escape the palace with their lives. It’s when they’re in survival mode that they know they have to find others to fight on their side and take Maven down. Reunited with her family and friends, Mare has to keep the peace between them and Cal, while she hones her skills with her power, and also try to train her growing group on how to fight their hateful king.

The last book, King’s Cage, is where world’s collide and all hell breaks loose. Mare has been taken captive by Maven, and is held prisoner for months. The army her and Cal have built up don’t know how to come to her rescue, and Maven’s on an absolute war path for all those who deny him his power and credibility. He’s doing as much damage control as he can so that the world knows he’s in charge and he will continue to rule over both Reds and Silvers as he sees fit. It’s a nail biter to find out whose power will be cut off in cold blood. Will the Reds perish, or will Maven meet an untimely fate when the Silvers are overthrown?

These books were all enjoyable and well written. The adventure took awhile for me to get through, but I found the journey interesting to say the least. I found bits of the books relatable to today’s society, so that’s a bit scary to say the least. Fingers crossed that the world stays in one piece long enough for me to at least develop some of Mare’s kick ass lightening skills.

On the down side, the issue I had with these books, was that I felt like I’ve read them before. I’ve found similarities to The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, and even Twilight amongst these pages, but I suppose this is why we have genres. You can’t help but find reminders here and there, but for these books, they were prominent enough that it kind of overshadowed what I was trying to read.

I don’t regret my time with these books, even though we had our good moments and our bad, and I’d still recommend them to anyone who enjoys a futuristic, fantasy, or dystopian read. Just consider if you want some noticeably receptive moments.

My Final Rating: three out of five stars

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