OPINION: How I Choose a Good Book — Review of ‘Red Queen’


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Nasreene Gant, OwlFeed Editor-in-Chief

If there is one thing that you should know about me is that I’m the kind of person who will pick up a book and flip to a random page. If I don’t like the page, I don’t like the book. Simple. 

Therefore, I can never be disappointed by the book I read unless I didn’t flip to the plot twist by accident on the first try and it was stupid. Then, I just don’t like the book. Mistakes happen all the time, just ask God or whoever you believe in. It’s not really my business.

However, I don’t just pick up any random book and start flippin. I look for the most eye-catching cover because, yes, I do in fact judge a book by its cover and before you say anything I know you do it too. So don’t lie because I’m an all knowing psychic and I can tell when people are lying to me. 

“She’s a whiz I swear. I can never get away with lying to her,” said, well, no one. I said it and that’s all that matters.

Anyway, there are three things that I love in a book; a good plot twist, a good story line, and a strong female lead. If you don’t have at least one of these things I am guaranteed to read one paragraph and say “peace out, dawg.” 

Unfortunately for most books, I am extremely picky about what kind of main characters I’m reading about. I have a tendency to pick up some of the things they do if I’m reading the book for too long. So I’d prefer if I was reading about someone who doesn’t take crap from anyone.

With that being said there is one book that I would advocate for when it comes to a strong female lead: “Red Queen.” Mare, the main character can be a pain sometimes but when it comes down to making the hard decisions she does what she has to. 

In this dystopian world there is a divide between the people that is drawn in more than just blood. An obvious power struggle between people who have red blood and those who have silver.

Within the pages of the “Red Queen” you read the story of young Mare Barrow and her life as a citizen with red blood and unexpected powers. Powers that are supposed to only be possessed by those of silver blood lineage.

When she literally falls into the hands of the silvers, showcasing a power she isn’t supposed to have, Mare is forced to hide in plain sight pretending to be a silver. The only catch is she can’t tell anyone else that she doesn’t have silver blood as she lives in the home of the royal family.

Unfortunately for Mare, being a red hiding amongst silvers wasn’t her only problem by a long shot, when both of the princes take an unprecedented interest in her and rebellion amongst the reds strikes out. 

However, when it comes to light, Mare isn’t the only red with the powers of a silver; a war between reds and silvers starts brewing. Thrusted into the middle of the war, Mare is forced to pick a side; reds or silvers.

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The first time I ever saw this book I was, for lack of a better word, disinterested. I was a heavy reader but didn’t really care for the synopsis of the book. However, I ended up reading it because a friend of mine had told me that it was a must read. 

Now, if there was one thing me and that friend knew about each other is that if one of us said it was a must read, the other would read it. There was never a time we didn’t take a recommendation from one another unless it was Harry Potter. If she ever recommended Harry Potter I would straight up say no. Those books are abnormally long for no reason.

Anyway, as usual, I flipped to a random page in the book and set my eyes on one paragraph that told me all I needed to know. I was reading that book and there was no way I was going to sleep tonight without reaching the end.

“I can only watch as the officer lays my sister next to me. Her eyes are on mine as he brings the butt of his gun down, shattering the bones in her sewing hand” (Red Queen. Chapter 5, page 41).

In my surprise I had turned to a different page wanting to see if the trend of interesting mishaps would keep throughout the book. 

On the next page was a letter that Mare’s brother had written to their family. The line that made me actually want to read the book if not for just him read; “Dear family, I am alive. Obviously” (Red Queen. Chapter 2, page 17).

With that being said I suggest reading Red Queen or don’t, I can’t tell you what to do. However, I can tell you that while Mare in my opinion may be a character that is on the edge of being the most hated in the book, there are more loveable characters in the book.