I’ve had a few duds recently so I decided to retreat to a genre I know never fails to entertain me: YA Fantasy Series/Trilogy. I’m on book 2 of the Throne of Glass series, but today’s review goes to the first book in the Red Queen series. Mare is our main character in a world where people are divided between Red Blood (Muggles) and Silver Bloods (Grisha). I apologize for the mixed similes there, but they are accurate in terms of abilities. Society is set up like Voldemort probably would have enjoyed. The Reds serve the Silvers in all manner of jobs including military service. The Reds live in squalor while the Silvers rule over them in decadence.
This book also harkens back to one of my first reviews for this blog, Uprooted, where a normal girl doesn’t realize she is special until some accidental circumstances pull it out of her. We discover that Mare is some weird combination of Red and Silver blood, something scholars and Silvers haven’t seen before (or at least won’t admit to have seen before) and we are off on a deceptive scheme plot line where Mare is saved only by virtue of the desire of the people who would destroy her to instead disguise her. I enjoyed learning about all the different types of abilities that are possible in this world, and Mare’s hasn’t been seen for a long time.
It is unfortunate that this also pulls out the popular multi-boy-interest trope (Gale and Peeta, vampire and werewolf, etc) between a boy from her village and a royal prince. Luckily her ties to either of them aren’t too lovey dovey (yet) so even though you can see it coming, it’s bearable. And I mean, what are you gonna do? The chicks dig it. There are also echoes of “people like you” that are seen in Seraphina when the half dragon people are sought out to bring peace. Grisha power from the Grisha Trilogy (#1, #2, and #3). Legilimens from Harry Potter. And Mare’s adoption and forced betrothal feel like what I imagine The Hunger Games would have felt like if champions were forced to live in the Capital and marry someone there. There are a lot of themes in this book that will make you think “wait, I remember something like that in _________.”
The ending is very satisfying. This is the first book I have read in awhile where I have said YES that all makes sense, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I strongly recommend this book if you haven’t already begun to read the series. It has parts of every YA recipe you already love, overlaid with a new story and new characters. Enjoy!