WARNING: spoilers ahead for the FIRST book of the series – as this is the second book of a 4 book series. To read the review of the first book, click here.
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
X-men youngsters taking on the establishment with an annoying love triangle.
Maybe I am completely underestimating the true love that Mare and Maven have. Or maybe my fury is more unquenchable than Mare’s. Whatever the reason, I do not understand how she can constantly go between- I will kill Maven with my bare hands- and then also thinking – all of our love can’t have been a lie. Like…what? How are those feelings remotely intertwined? It’s like Stockholm Syndrome or something.
Why is Mare always apologizing for using Cal. She didn’t use him THAT badly. It was all Maven and his mom, but Mare feels responsible. It’s annoying. She really shouldn’t be on the hook for that one.
Same with her guard, Lucas Samos- he was going to die anyways! Why do you need to feel bad about that, YOU didn’t kill him! I just feel like with so much going on, she shouldn’t add that to her list- guilt. It could be a rational response- but I sure don’t like reading her thoughts about it.
The moral of the story is that I really don’t like Mare that much- but I still keep reading the series.
Other annoying characters in this book include: The Colonel, Kilorn.
Also, Aveyard introduced a bunch of new characters and I had a hard time keeping them all straight. So prepare yourself.
We also didn’t escape her annoying thought process of explanatory text followed by italicized emphasis points. It didn’t get any more appealing to me in the second installment. I’ll give you another example:
“I’m torn between wonder and fear of an organization large enough and patient enough to infiltrate, not one, but three sovereign nations ruled by Silver kings and princes.
This is not the simple, ragtag bunch of true believers I imagined.”
Cal really shines in this book. In the Red Queen, I’m realizing the characters weren’t super developed. You don’t get a solid love story but an odd love square. When Maven suggests in the Red Queen that Cal will choose Mare over everything else, you’re like – why because they kissed once and have hung out like 10 times? Regardless of the lack of character development before, in THIS book I started to understand Cal and I like him. Officially team Cal! Aveyard does a good job of helping me understand his struggle. He’s studied the war and I totally get him being dumbfounded by the strength of the rebellion, I get his defeat in meeting people who he’s hurt by his military strategy, I get his torn feeling about Mare.
I should give another shout out to Farley who is a hardcore female character in the book. We need more characters like Farley! I actually wish the books could sometimes shift to her perspective!
I also loved Maven in this book. Let me be clear, Maven sucks. But he’s such a great bad guy! I also love Elara because she is a psycho. Don’t we all love a good psycho bad guy?
I love Shade. I won’t spend too much time on him. If you’ve read it, let’s talk about Shade.
There is a lot of action in this book. The action is so great! There are twists! YAY twists in a book!!!
Overall I think I liked this book better than the first. I have maybe gotten used to Mare’s annoying personality. It’s almost like watching the real housewives- you’re like “welp Luann sucks but she sure makes things more entertaining.” That’s how I feel about Mare. We need her for the drama, but that doesn’t make her less annoying. (Yes I am a YA reading, Hallmark watching, junk food eating, real housewives loving blogger. Nice to meet you too!)
Listen to: Everybody Knows by Sigrid
Eat: Flaky biscuits. I feel like eating your feelings throughout this book might be the best plan ever.
Watch: X-men: First Class