I am a notorious bandwagon jumper, so it was obvious to me that I should read Red Queen. I, once again, thought multiple books in the series were already out. I was so wrong about this. Red Queen is the only book currently in public release. So keep that in mind for those of you that, like me, enjoy a Netflix-esque binge reading of a series. Red Queen follows a girl living among the impoverished red blooded when chance thrusts her into the dangerous life of a silver blooded noble.
The Good Bits.
The concept for this novel is that some people are born with red blood and others with silver. The red blooded are poor, servants, and often conscripted to fight in an endless war. Whereas, the silvers have extraordinary abilities and live as wealthy nobles. So obviously shit hits the fan when red born Mare turns out to have silver-blooded abilities. This concept is super cool. The whole blood thing is a bit odd, but people have abilities, which reminds me of X-Men, which means I’m all in. There’s also some science Victoria develops around the abilities: e.g. genetics, limits of abilities generally, etc. Which is wonderful and fun because it’s superpower science. If you wanted to get fancy with it, you could stretch the concept and say it’s making a comment on race divisions? Or discrimination? Maybe?
The main character Mare is impressive on her own. Yes, she does get involved in a silly love triangle, more on that later. But aside from that, she’s an admirable character. She uses her hold on a guy to be manipulative, presumably because she knows that she’s attractive to men! It’s a bit sad that having that much self-esteem as a female character in YA is rare. But I was just so happy that she didn’t spend all her time confused about why guys like her. She’s all like “cause I’m hot, duh”. Okay, she doesn’t say that, but you know what I mean. And she’s aware that some of her actions, while positive for her purposes, can have a lot of negative consequences. She’s not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed that she thinks revolutionary change can happen without someone suffering for it. Yes! Thank you! You can’t start a war without hurting people. She gets it, so I like her.
There is a love triangle, and the love triangle boys are brothers! This is equal parts terrible and juicy. What’s actually bad about this, is that from the get-go the pairing is obvious. To the point where you wonder what’s the point of making a love triangle at all. To frustrate people like me who, for some reason, always root for the guy they’re never going to choose? It reminded me of the Hunger Games where you’re supposed to believe that Katniss is torn between Peeta and Gale, when it’s clear that she’s going to choose Peeta. Except that I love Peeta and was happy with that choice. I am decidedly unhappy about the pairing in Red Queen. I want to keep the faith, but I’ve been let down too often . I’m looking at you Grisha trilogy!
I will say that I did like the book, and I’ll be impatient waiting for the next one. But there are a lot of the typical YA tropes/cliches in the novel.
- The poor girl that has a special super power that no one ever knew about
- A love triangle with the rich guy/guys
- Trying to overturn a corrupt government system
- Banding together with other misfits/rebels
I’m still gasping for the next book, so none of these things bothered me enough to stop me from reading, or giving the book a 4-star rating. But I know that for some people these sorts of tropes are deal breakers.
The Last Bite.
The concept for Red Queen is unique enough that, despite the typical YA tropes, I have hope that the series will deviate from the norm as it goes on. And at the end of it all, it’s still an engaging story with varied and interesting characters. I would absolutely recommend it.
Does using YA tropes/cliches mean a book will be bad? What do you think?
Did you read Red Queen? Let me know your thoughts!
Let’s do lunch again next week!
*please note, if you purchase the book through the link provided I will receive a commission. However, this is not a sponsored post. I was not paid to write it, and all my opinions are my own