I was not planning on writing a review on Red Queen until after I read Kings Cage (currently stuck on UPS making its way to me). But... the contrast between the first and second book gave me pause and perhaps it is best they all receive separate reviews (well, sort of... I will add a few lines on the catastrophic Glass Sword towards the end of this post).
Before getting to the review, have a look at the book synopsis by GoodReads:
"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."
Red Queen is a well thought and well written medieval YA fantasy (I say medieval...but it has trains...!!hehe)
The plot twists and betrayals throw you off balance and make you more and more mesmerized by the book.
Mare, the main character, is a brave -and reckless- heroin. She wants the best for her people, the reds, but her recklessness and all the betrayals that take place in the book set things on the wrong path more often than not.
Without giving away much, my new favorite YA character is Maven! He reminds me so much of my other 'book boyfriend': The Darkling! I Love Love Love him and cannot wait to read Kings Cage, were apparently there is a lot more of him!
Maven and Cal are brothers, princes. Both fall in love with Mare and have a somewhat complicated relationship with her in Red Queen as well as Glass Sword.
Cal is the one to inherit the throne. He is made for battle. Knows the ins and outs of war better than anyone and cares little for the Reds.
Maven is the second in line, he is the Queen and Kings son. Cal's mother was the previous queen, now dead. He is an interesting character. I much prefer him to both Cal and Mare. There is a lot on that head of his that you don't find out until the end of the book. Some more that you don't find out until Glass Sword, and I preview even more on Kings Cage. He is a character with depth, and I rather like that.
Cal is just your average soldier, that also happens to be prince. He is arrogant and although he has a good heart his tendency to please his father lands him at odds with the reality of the world. His character is what I would call an 'open book'. What you see is what you get.
There is a bunch of interesting secondary characters. All with different alliances and motives for doing the things they do.
The book can be best summarized in one single quote: "anyone can betray anyone"
As for Glass Sword... it was not at bad book necessarily, there was plenty of greatness in it! But it was rather boring and slow. The book could have been half its size. It would quite possibly have been a lot better had it been shorter.
I felt like I read the exact same things about 10 times over.