This series is one of my favorite young adult dystopian ones currently in progress. The stories are set in a world where those with silver blood, and thus supernatural powers, rule over the lower class and expendable Reds, who have red blood like the rest of us. The main character is a Red named Mare, who is tired of the brutality of the world and whose family has seen its share of brutal suffering due to being Red. Through a chance encounter, she finds herself working at the palace and makes a discovery about herself that threatens the whole world order. At this point, I haven’t given anything away that isn’t in the book summary on Goodreads, and I’m not going to. The book was fast-paced, violent, and the world-building was really well done. There are intriguing characters to follow, including Mare, and assorted others, terrorists, royals, and other Reds. Each character has depth, and trying to uncover all of the intrigue in the story was a lot of fun. There is a twist at the end, and I can’t say I was overly surprised by some aspects, but it does make for a great set-up leading into Glass Sword.
Glass Sword is the second entry and picks up right where Red Queen leaves off. Just as fast-paced and violent as the first, if not perhaps moreso, the book follows Mare and additional characters, some old, some new on a quest to change their world. The character development in this one was what was most important to me. I love that Mare, as the heroine, is fallible and human and quite insecure about whether she’s doing the right thing. At times, you’ll agree with her and no one else. At other times, I found myself wondering if she really knew what she was doing. For me, that’s the beauty of her character. Some parts will tear your heart out, and others will leave you unable to put the book down until you know what happens next. The ending just gutted me, and I’m finding it very difficult to wait until February to find out what happens next.
Finally, Cruel Crown has two novellas following key characters from the series. The novellas are prequels. One follows Queen Coriane, who died many years prior to the events of Red Queen. It gives you a new perspective on what you were originally told happened to her, and really makes you hate a particular character even more than you already did, which I didn’t think was possible. There were expletives uttered. The second novella follow Farley, a leader in the resistance. You get to see her before she meets other key characters and witness her rise to captain, as well as more of her relationship with her father. I liked this one as well, but wanted more backstory on Farley pre-Red Guard, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t get that. Also, the writing style of these novellas was different to me than the others and I’m not sure I loved the simpler style. However, having these to read did make the wait for February and King’s Cage a little more bearable.
Recommend: Yes, for fans of YA dystopia and fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 for Red Queen and Glass Sword, 3 out of 5 for Cruel Crown
Images courtesy of Goodreads.
Have you read the series? What are your thoughts? Are you eagerly awaiting King’s Cage?