This post may contain affiliate or referral codes, for which I receive a small compensation and you get a discount in exchange. These help support the blog, so I can keep creating content. I appreciate your support.
The next book in the Red Queen series is Glass Sword, and this one kind of killed my groove when it came to reading. So, I don’t know if I’m immediately going to jump into the third book after this. I might read a few other first then return to the Red Queen series. I do plan on finishing it, but it’s not going to be any time soon. Maybe the series will get better now that the main things I was spoiled to are over, but as I go into in the review Mare’s POV really made the book drag. She needs to have some serious character development in order for my opinion on the rest of the series to get better and right now I’m not in the mood to deal with it.
This series is described as being “perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.” Each book is classified on Amazon with different genres but all of them are Young Adult to start with, the others are: fantasy, dystopian romance, historical romance, mystery and thriller, and science fiction.
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?
- Published: April 3, 2018
- Page Count: 464 pages
If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read the hidden section. I’m going over the things I was spoiled to going into the series as a general that specifically affected this book. The rest of the review will largely be avoiding spoilers though some of it doesn’t because it goes into how I rated the book.
- Cal and Mare don’t really end up together. While they are the main couple of the series, they don’t really end up together. I mean they do but they don’t. It’s not until the novella after the main series where that happens. And in that same novella, it’s revealed they have children together. But again, it’s not in the main series.
- Cal will always choose the crown over Mare. If ever presented a choice between the crown (loyalty to his family or Silver) presents itself over Mare (and what she’s doing with the Red Guard), Cal will choose the crown. So, whenever these loyalty to Mare moments present themselves, I always knew which way Cal would go. This plays into how the two while they love each other, they don’t really end up together. And it’s not like Cal didn’t point blank state that he would always choose Silver over Red. Mare just couldn’t let him go, or force him to leave.
- Shade dies. This was supposed to be a plot twist but it was ruined for me. While yes, he was written as being killed during the first book he wasn’t dead. So, his real death is supposed to be more gut wrenching. But I knew his fate going into reading the series; however, I didn’t know when he dies so it still held some impact.
Mare and Cal manage to escape Maven from execution. They end up with the Red Guard and work towards gathering all of the newbloods like Mare and her brother, Shade. The majority of the book is spent on gathering newbloods from their homes around the country to save them from Maven. Almost the entire book is jumping between one “rescue” and the next. So, it feels more like a giant camping trip with a lot of details brushed over. In the background, Shade and Farley start to have a relationship though it’s not really stated outright. It’s more hinted at subtly. Along with other details regarding their relationship.
Mare doesn’t trust anyone, so she’s not really close to anyone during the course of the entire book. She keeps everyone at an arm’s length including Shade, Kilorn, and Cal (who she manages to convince to stick around to help find the newbloods before Maven kills them). I can’t really blame her for that. But no relationships really develop because of this. If anything, they devolve. Kilorn doesn’t openly talk to her anymore… well actually no one really talks to Mare unless it’s regarding their current mission. It doesn’t help that she later meets someone who says she’ll have to do everything alone. When she’s not. She doesn’t have to be. But she doesn’t do anything to bridge the gap.
Due to the near-constant camping trip or jumping from one location to the next trying to find the newbloods, this book dragged for me. I constantly was putting this book down, and it took me far longer to read compared to other books. To a point where I almost just switched books to read something else. Considering the number of books on my shelves I half-read, I refused to let myself do that. Not to mention there isn’t a lot of dialogue or character growth. Mare is pretty much stuck in the “don’t trust anyone” mindset after what happened with Maven. Not that I blame her, but still you would think months have happened. She should’ve started to figure out she could trust some of the others who sided with her: Cal, Farley, Kilorn, Shade, etc. But she doesn’t. So, that’s all we ever hear in her inner thoughts. Someone does something nice, nope don’t trust it. It got a little old after a while. And due to that, we miss all the other character developments because Mare isn’t paying attention or it’s glossed over due to all the time jumps.
To a point where you don’t get attached to any of the new characters. I could not tell you most, if any, of the newbloods or their abilities. Not to mention, Shade. This is the first and only book where he is introduced. Her closest brother and I never once got attached to him because Mare gives us nothing to latch onto. She’s so disconnected that the twist regarding him at the end doesn’t hold any weight. Sure she’s affected by it, but the impact emotionally is not because we lost a beloved character we’ve come to know. It’s more, “oh I feel bad for Mare because she’s having to go through this on top of everything else.”
Cal calls her out on this at the very end but it does very little. It’s just another rift. And an unsurprising one at that. There are still two more books in the series, so I hope Mare improves. As of right now, I would love the series told from the perspective of someone else. Mare takes the life out of the story. She’s clinging to distrust and everyone is a tool/weapon in her revolution. Not only that but she clings to the idea of Maven, the love she had for someone/something that wasn’t real. She holds onto letters he leaves on the bodies of people he killed for her. It’s twisted and wrong. All of that amounts to a cold and unmoving story.
This all contributes to why I rated this one lower at 3 stars out of 5.
Join the Howl of the Pack today by subscribing! To stay updated on everything I’m doing, follow me on Twitter as that’s where I post quick updates. Or join our Discord server. Also, if you like this post, let me know in the comment section, it really helps me figure out what content you guys appreciate. Don’t be shy I would love to hear from you!