Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Synopsis: 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?
Review: Red Queen is a brilliantly written YA fantasy of an oppressive society and the girl who challenges it all. It is filled with wonderful world-building, interesting characters and political intrigue. This is a world filled with suffering and hopelessness, betrayal and misplaced trust. With manipulation at every turn, Red Queen is full of action and twists that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Mare Barrow is a Red, a commoner, a tool to be used by the Silvers – her life is destined to either be a servant or a solider, helping or fighting for those who repress her kind. Stealing and tricking to ensure that her family survives, Mare is resigned to the fact that she is no one special, and knows that at the age of 18 she will be conscripted into the army just like her brothers. She will fight a century old war, protecting the power-hungry, cold-hearted elitist Silvers.
But while trying to save her friend from being sent off to fight for silver-blooded domination, Mare’s life takes a unexpected turn which will ultimately throw her into the Silver court – and one mistake will reveal a power she should not have.
To cover up this abnormal power, the King forces Mare to play the role of the lost daughter in the Titanos line. But playing royalty is not a game. Mare now finds herself surrounded by those she cannot trust, betrothed to a prince, being used as a pawn. As Mare is drawn further into the world of silver-blood, power, politics, and betrayal, she will risk everything to help a growing rebellion.
Mare has an ability no other Red has – she has the power of a Silver. Her ability to control electricity is something that no other Red can do, and to ensure that her unique ability is kept under wraps (and complaint to the King), she is given a new identity – and her old life is ripped away from her. To stay alive Mare must pretend she is royalty, to be dedicated to the King and she must play her role well. And to cement her compliance to the Kings plan, she is betrothed to the Prince Maven, the second in line to the throne.
Mare is smart, tough, observant, loyal and determined, but as she is thrown in to this world of Silver-blooded power, she really finds her own strength. Mare is determined to save those she loves, and all those oppressed by the god-like oppressors she now finds herself surrounded by. While Mare tries to survive the palace walls, a cruel and cunning Queen and suspicious Silvers who would like nothing more than to see her dead, Mare joins the Scarlet Guard, the revolutionaries trying to save the Red population from the tyrant hands of the Silvers.
Not everything runs smoothly for Mare, especially when her heart is pulling her in so many directions. She will do anything to save her friend Kilorn, she is betrothed to the overlooked but kind younger prince and she has an undeniable attraction to heir to the throne, the fierce, loyal, smart and natural leader, Cal. Although the plot focuses on the elitist and oppressive world around them, there is a subtle sub-plotline that involves a bit a romance. This is not a triangle; it is more of a square – the friend, the betrothed and the fire.
Red Queen has so many layers, nothing is as it seems in this book. There are twists and turns, betrayals and alliances. Politics, intrigue, lies, determination. And betrayal. There is so much betrayal!! As Mare plays a dangerous game, where one wrong move will get her killed, the only thing that is certain is that anyone can betray anyone.
Dark and edgy, filled with action and suspense, Red Queen is a world filled with cruelty, selfishness, conspiracy, lies, power and suspense, where Silver rules Red – but there is hope, in the form of a determined 17 year old girl, Red and Silver, and stronger than both.
“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.”
“Words can lie. See beyond them.”
“A lie will raise me up, and one day another lie will bring me down.”
“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”
“I woke up this morning as one person, and now I’m supposed to be someone else entirely.”
“We will rise, red as the dawn.”