Series: Red Queen #0.1
Genres: Novella, Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Queen Song is an insightful and poignant prequel that looks into the short life of Queen Coriane Jacos, first wife to King Tiberius VI and mother to Prince Cal. In Red Queen, little information was revealed about Coriane’s character but what readers did know, was that her death happened under very mysterious circumstances and so naturally, I’ve been eager to find out what really happened to the ‘Singer Queen’.
From the beginning, we learn that the Jacos family are struggling financially, and so it immediately strikes me that 15 year old Coriane (Cori) is very different to the average Silver girl of a High House. Other girls sneer at her because her clothes aren’t trendy or because she doesn’t show any interest in keeping up with their talk of Queenstrial. Cori even feels disliked by her father who makes fun of her uncommon love for mechanics (but is ironically always asking her to fix something or the other). So Cori is portrayed as someone who feels misunderstood and struggles to determine what her purpose in life is; something I think a lot of young people will be able to relate to. The fact that she was so different though, I thought this made her more likable. She was witty, sweet and didn’t think with a superiority that many Silvers do.
It’s only her brother Julian, and best friend Sara, who Cori truly cares for. I think it’s nice how readers get to see the relationship between these 3 characters because you can appreciate how deep the love runs for Julian and Sara to have always defended Cori and remain loyal to her, even many years after her death.
The rest of this story tells of Cori’s first encounter with Elara Merandus which can only be described as unpleasant, and later, the development of her relationship with Prince Tiberius (Tibe) which I felt was bittersweet. On one hand, it was adorable that Cori and Tibe were able to connect and understand each other unlike anyone else they knew. On the other, it was unsettling to know that she had become a walking target. The most unlikely candidate to even participate in Queenstrial was now courting the Prince… that didn’t go down well with a lot of the nobles.
Even so, one of my favourite things about the story was the development of Cori and Tibe’s relationship. It was so unexpected and nothing was forced; they formed a genuine friendship and just enjoyed each other’s company. I thought it was very cute when Tibe took Cori to the theatre, it really made me smile because he was so shy and nervous whereas Cori was completely oblivious to the fact that they were on an official date.
Overall, I feel I gained a lot from reading Queen Song. Apart from learning more about Cori, it put a lot of the events from Red Queen, or the personalities of some characters, into perspective. For instance, Queen Elara seems more wicked than I remember, and the reality of Cal never getting to know his mother seems even more heartbreaking. I thought the story flowed, was well constructed and very emotive. Feelings of pure dread and worry are inevitable whilst reading the second half of the story. I actually got chills as soon as I finished the last sentence. Cori’s death is very harrowing, and leaves you with a strong sense of sadness. For me, this is what makes Queen Song such a potent story, because it’s able to draw such strong feelings. I would definitely recommend this story for fans of the series, it really does provide an informative background and history of the characters.