Prejudice has always thrived in human culture, despite those who try to stomp it out. Often, prejudice in prevalent as racism, sometimes to the extent that other races are seen as lesser - made to be servants or slaves. Enslavement of another race was seen in the United States for over 200 years, until it was outlawed in 1865.
Why is this important? Red Queen reflects this history. Set in a world where some humans have evolved, marked by their silver blood and unique abilities, history repeats itself. The Silvers, as those with silver blood are called, see themselves above those who haven’t evolved, the Reds. While the Silvers are nobles and wealthy, the Reds are forced to work and live in poor conditions. The Silvers rule the kingdom, while the Reds are forced into the army as soon as they turn 18. While the Silvers go into battle as generals, staying away from the front line, the Reds are practically used as meat-shields to prevent the enemy from pushing further.
I had a bit of difficulty getting into the first couple chapters. Aveyard does a wonderful job building the world and introducing it for what it is from the beginning. The status of the Reds are made known. The abilities, power, and cruelty of the Silvers are introduced very early on, through an arena display that the Reds are forced to attend and watch. The hierarchy is between the two is made clear from the beginning. It is a hard life that Reds live, and the main character, Mare, a Red, has accepted that there is no hope for escape. These are the lives they are forced to live, and it won’t change. Despite how well the world is built from early on, the first two chapters are slow. While there is the arena fight, there is very little action to it, and serves more to help build the world and the difference between Reds and Silvers. It took a little over thirty pages for me to finally get into the novel.
Yet, it wasn’t a can’t-put-it-down type of book for me, either, after that. The ending also felt very dragged out, with a lot of twists and turns and dangerous situations that Mare barely scraped by to escape. I found myself wondering why I was still so far from the end, when it felt like it was coming soon. This isn’t to say that it was bad - everything about it was well-planned out and made sense. It simply seemed to slow down and carry on for a lot longer than it needed to.
Overall, I enjoyed Red Queen and have even picked up it’s sequel. I’m glad that I took the time to get past the beginning of it, and I really love the world it is set in. The writing is spectacular, and I didn’t feel disappointed with the ending. I just hate that I dreaded how long it felt to reach it.
Keep on reading,
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