Anyone Can Betray Anyone: Red Queen and Cruel Crown

Buzzfeed has a hilarious post: 24 Highly Realistic Plots for YA novels.

At first I was looking at it like the ideas buzzard I tend to be and then I laughed that it was really about how teen’s lives usually play out and not like they do in the cut throat and edgy YA novels that are so popular.

Red Queen and its prequel, Cruel Crown, would not fit into that post.  And you don’t want them to.  Feisty young women who agree to be the face of a revolution are the ones that make us all read and dream. Women and girls who do not fit into their worlds find themselves standing out and then assuming more importance than they ever thought themselves worthy of.

I chose to read this because my Reading Challenge wanted to see me read a prequel and both Cruel Crown and Red Queen were dangled in front of me. I may have treated myself to Cruel Crown the day it came out because I just happened to be at my local bookstore. Yes, I do actually patronize bookstores on occasion.  I am not a total Amazon junkie.  Actually, I visited The Strand this weekend with my friends, but that is a separate and completely delicious post.

If you liked The Hunger Games, you will like these two books.  I have not read Glass Sword yet, so I can’t say series.  If you like revolution and dystopia, these are for you. They even share a similarity of a regular spectacle to keep the lower classes reminded of their inferiority.

But they are not the same.  The classes in these books are divided by physical differences and abilities.  These differences in abilities play a large role in how Mare, the main character, is able to set herself apart.  The alliances in this book are less defined and not knowing who is on what side makes for more plot twists.  As with any good book, things start off as black and white (or in this case red and silver) and then explode into gray areas.

I have seen articles floating around about how all the dystopian and post apocalyptic novels are increasing our comfort with the idea that someday we might ruin all we have and have to live a harsher life. Without this fear, it is suggested, we will not change what we are doing to make these outcomes more possible.

However, these novels are well timed with the developmental stage for teenagers of their increasing awareness of their ability to impact the world and overcome, rather than just have to accept, adversity. They make kids rising above less of a foreign concept and more empowering. They make heroes out of teenage girls.  Mare does have confusing feelings for boys in these books and teenagers are falling in love but they do more than that. They affect the world. They are not beaten down by life already or too young to understand.  So I like that.  I like girls having heroes who decide to be faces of the revolution rather than doing what they do in the 24 realistic plots, funny as they are, in the link above.  My favorite is #19.

If you like action and plot twists and political intrigue, this book is for you.  If you want to wonder how it will all play out as someone fights for everything, this book is for you.  If you want some confusing love feelings this will fit the bill, too.  If you feel that YA revolutionary/dystopia is overdone and not your style, I would not recommend this one.

I have been considering reading some of the lesser known, non-YA dystopian novels.  Not 1984 or Brave New World, both of which I have tackled, but something more along the lines of The Iron Heel  I also only have the last book in the Divergent series to go as well but I might just start that one all over. That one also begs the question in Red Queen of what you do when you are not clearly a member of one group or another, which is another common young adult issue.

Do you like YA dystopian novels or do you think they are overdone? I have been very excited about the comments that have been trickling onto  my page.  Comments and shares are love!

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