Review: Red Queen

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This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…


So I was at a party yesterday. I started Red Queen at about 1pm, the party started at 2:30, and I ended up leaving early so I could get back and finish this book. That says things: that I’m an antisocial carrot who doesn’t like other people that this book really had me in its clutches.

However. I have to take a few points off, because the plot just wasn’t original enough. Any book that has the “raving review quote” as “Red Queen is a clever blend of The Hunger GamesThe Selection, Graceling and Divergent” is probably going to have a not-very-original plot, and while I did like the book, it was a little “been there, done that”. While I haven’t read The Selection or Graceling, I have read THG and Divergent (no, it might be a surprise but I don’t like under a rock), and could definitely see the similarities here and there. The whole “rebellion, face of the rebellion, girl on fire” thing was completely THG. The whole “Red but still magic” was very Divergent. The whole “Silvers have powers” thing was quite X-Men and the whole “King and Queen and medieval marriages and princes and betrayal and power and thrones” was pretty Game of Thrones. It’s like a massive mashup of a whole bunch of read-and-loved books. That could be a good thing. It might not be.

However. While you can see the threads and influences of various other books, it’s still an original creation, and well-written at that! Mare – main character whose name is probably pronounced MAR-RAY or MAR or even “MAIR” but that makes her sound like some kind of rare horse so I prefer to call her MAR-RAY – is a totally kickass, sassy, witty, dry, funny, sarcastic heroine who is one of the rare people in life who can actually think of cutting comebacks at the time, and not 8 hours later while lying in bed *sob*. Her supporting actors: the two princes, Maven and Cal; the Queen and the King; her fellow rebels and her family are all great too! Everyone has their own personality, and every character is very much… I wouldn’t say relatable or realistic, but 3D.

Ok. Enough about the characters. I NEED TO GET TO THE ACTION.

The action. Oh my God. I love a good book with action, and I’ve been reading so many contemporary YA books about teenagers at school with bullying problems, mental illness and whatnot, that I FORGOT how much KILLING there can be in a good ol’ fantasy YA. And DAMN. DAMN. SO MUCH BLOOD (both Red and Silver). It’s like Game of Thrones. People will be killed. Lovers will become murderers. Murderers will become lovers. Friends will become enemies. Enemies will become friends. The hunters will be the hunted. The hunted, the hunters. THE CASTLE WALLS WILL RUN THICK WITH RED AND SILVER BLOOD

One saving grace that completely stops this book from being a clichéd mashup of other good books are the plot twists. Oh my God. The betrayals. Remind me to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever start a fantasy series half-baked again because the SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

An epic fantasy saga that has only just begun, there is much more to come in the Red Queen series. See you at book two!


I got this book for free at the #YAMatters event last week.


Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10


Red Queen is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.


The Info:

  • Title: Red Queen
  • Author: Lauren James
  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Books (February 10th, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN10: 1409151174
  • URL: Goodreads
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7 thoughts on “Review: Red Queen

  1. I was going to read this book and so I was like why not read a review about it? And I love your review haha. Now you’ve got me excited to read this. I mean, yes it sounds cliche, and yes I too am going to awkwardly be at holiday dinners anyways so I’m most likely going be reading this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! I’m so happy you like the book. This was one of my favourite YA in 2015. I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Seriously though, the plot twist (although I spoilt it to myself before I even read it in the book), it still hurst when it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this review. Especially the part where you left early to go continue reading the book. I do that alot. Or I just cant relax until Im on my way home so I can just keep reading the book. I have a copy of this book but I have not picked it up yet. With the all the rave reviews and Im trying hard to just scan read yours as I dont want know what happens. But with your comments, I better get to reading then.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alex Ramsey

    I agree with the plot twists in the book, I mean, who could have expected them? (I’m looking at you, Maven)
    Antisocial carrot? *head perks up* So, I’m not the only one?

    Liked by 1 person

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