There are some books that I read immediately after getting them and then they’re some that I need to warm up to. The Red Queen series was the latter.
This series has been on my radar since I read the Selection Series by Kiera Cass years ago. I was a bit hesitant to read it because I heard they was really similar and wanted to give myself time in between each series but then it popped up again after I read The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson so, finally, I gave it a try.
Firstly I love how the first book is written. There is such a vivid picture painted about the why and the where and how things are run. There aren’t any unnecessary details given or any fluff paragraphs or pages. Everything seems to have a purpose and a reason. It leaves you wondering about so much while it introduces little pieces of this world as the story goes on. It doesn’t try to push too much too soon. Even though there isn’t much drama in the beginning, it isn’t quite settled either. It leaves you with the feeling that something big is about to happen, and it doesn’t disappoint. The first book is filled with so much hope and possibility which allows for Mare to grow up throughout the books. She doesn’t lose the hope she has but its more realistic as her expectations of people become more true to their character and not just their class or stature.
The second book, Glass Sword, continues to show the hope Mare has for the world. She begins to put her ideals into action and finds others who are willing to fight with her to change the ideals that have been in place for generations. This book is in a way even more filled of hope than the first one. It finally puts actions to the hope she has. As we follow her build her followers you can’t help but think that maybe what they are doing and working towards is possible. She grows up a lot in this book as she deals with everything coming at her but at times you can tell that she still tries to go back to the naiive girl before all of this started. She craves some sort of normal that she is familiar with.
King’s Cage had to be one of the hardest books to read in the series. The effect it had on me reminded me of New Moon from Twilight but in a way worse. It’s such a sad and hopeless time that you can’t help but feel like you’re in there with her. The writing is once again well done to pull you into the cage with Mare. Her hope and faith are definitely tested but she also notices that even though she’s behind enemy lines she still has some allies. Maybe not the ones she expected but the teachings she was given in the first book begin to prove useful. She begins to judge people based on their actions and not their words. She learns how to read people’s intentions from little movements in their faces and somehow learns to trust the same people she grew up hating. This book also explores telling the story from different perspectives a bit more which I liked. It gave a reprieve from Mare’s situation and what she’s been going through. The ending of this book was something I knew was coming but I remember not being happy for very long about it. It’s quite evident that this series isn’t going to have a happy ending at the end of this book.
To be honest I went into War Storm not happy. I skipped to the end to confirm my suspicions about the ending and it confirmed everything I thought. I was more than reluctant to start reading this one and the more I read the angrier I got because I knew I wasn’t getting the ending I wanted. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself laughing at some parts and some of the actions of the characters surprised me. What I didn’t like about this book was that it tried to tell the story from so many different character’s perspectives which was nice in previous books but I found that for the characters that we didn’t get to know well from Mare’s perspective I wasn’t able to connect to them very well. I know it helps let us the readers know what’s going on in other places but some of the chapters were too long to be in the mind of someone we didn’t know. I found myself skipping through a lot of it just to get back to a character I knew well. It was easier to rationalize their actions because I had seen them through Mare’s eyes and was able to gauge their values before being forced into their heads.
Overall I really liked this series. It pulls on a couple themes that are still relevant in today’s world and deals with them in a simplistic way. It’s well written allows you to envision the world we’re being pulled into. As much as I didn’t like it while reading, I like that it doesn’t have that perfect ending. It’s a realistic ending showing that after going through all of that it has an effect on you. After all the dust has settled and the adrenaline has worn off, there’s still a person under there who has to figure out what their new normal is before doing anything else.