By Anne Jorgenson
Does anyone else think that Red Queen is kind of an awesome title? This book follows Mare Barrow, a young thieiving girl who lives in a Red village. In her world, status is determined by the color of your blood; reds are the common people, the workers, the soldiers while silvers are the nobility who establish social order on the backs of the Reds.
The Silvers are superhuman – something about their blood gives them powers that reds don’t have. Some can control minds, others can control fire, and even more are extremely strong; all Silvers have an affinity for something.
Now cut back to Mare, who is approaching her 18th birthday and preparing herself to fight. See, in their world, the Silvers control everything and anything, and that includes the wars that the countries go to. Like any good oligarchy, they never send their own to the battlefield, so they draft Reds like Mare. Once a Red is 18 and still jobless, he or she is shipped off to fight. The only thing Mare is proficient at is stealing, which helps her family scrape by, but stealing is not considered a job that can save her from her fate.
But through a chance meeting, Mare is saved from that gruesome fate and given a job at the summer palace a few miles outside of her village. This not only saves her from the draft, but also saves her family from the extreme poverty they are constantly at risk of falling into.
When Mare basically falls in front of all the royals, and they discover that she has special Silver-only abilities, Mare is thrown into court life and forced to assume the role of a long lost Silver heir to cover up the fact that she, a Red, somehow has powers she should not have.
As the novel progresses, a love triangle starts to form between Mare and two Silver princes. And though the romance is exciting, what I find so interesting about this book is how the author crafts the characters. You empathize with the princes for a few pages, but then you can’t stand the or their moral standards, and then somehow you’re endeared to them again five pages down the line.
Watching Mare navigate this intricate Red-Silver world is amazing, mainly because it seems so real. By the end of the book, you’ll be sitting in your seat blinking in shock, yet dying to read the next installment. You don’t really like or agree with Mare, but you do like and agree with her cause. The book overall is just so fascinating and unique because you care about the story but not the characters; I think that was the author’s intention, and she fulfilled it really well.
Watching different characters grapple with their issues and seeing how they justify and rationalize their actions gives you a new appreciation and some much needed perspective on the situations in the book and even some in your own life.