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|"Red and Silver, and stronger than both.|
|— Julian's observation about newbloods|
If there is one thing Mare Barrow knows, it is that she's different.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince - the friend - who betrayed her, Mare uncovered something startling: She is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they've alway known - and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Mare Barrow, Tiberias Calore VII, Shade Barrow, Farley, and the rest of the Scarlet Guard are traveling by train to Naercey. They are being pursued by the new King Maven and his Silver fighters. He also has Red slaves forced to serve as a human shield that will protect his front line.
Maven lets missiles fly in an air raid. Evangeline and Ptolemus Samos are there on the ground with their family leading the Silver fighters. Shade gets shot, but the group manage to escape on a submarine, called a mersive, and are taken to an island called Tuck.
Soldiers from the north, Lakelanders are stationed on Tuck when they arrive. The Lakeland commander, known as the Colonel, has taken over leadership of the Scarlet Guard. The Colonel is Farley’s father. He immediately puts Cal in chains and takes him to be interrogated. Mare’s parents, sister, and brothers are already on the island having been rescued by Shade. The Colonel is furious with Farley for getting so many members of the Guard in Norta killed, and strips her of her command.
Cal is locked up in an underground bunker. Mare and Kilorn Warren go to talk with him using the key that Farley gave them, but at the last second Kilorn pushes Mare in the cell with Cal. The cell is made from Silent Stone, rendering the two powerless. The Colonel, Kilorn, Shade, and Farley come to the cell. The Colonel tells them that Maven has offered to change the age of conscription back to eighteen in exchange for his brother. The Colonel and Kilorn enter the cell. Kilorn tranquilizes the Colonel, and along with Shade, helps Mare, Cal, and Farley escape. Kilorn was able to grab the list of newbloods from the Colonel’s office when he first arrived with Mare. Shade jumps them to freedom, and they steal an airplane to escape the island. They will now try to find each of the newbloods on the list before Maven does.
The group comes across a group known as the Mariners in the forest outside Harbor Bay. They lead them into the underground tunnels. Mare realizes that they are being led into a trap. Crance, one of the Mariners, explains that Maven has been terrorizing and offering rewards to the Red citizens in an attempt to get them to turn Mare over to him. Mare collapses the tunnel allowing them to escape into Harbor Bay.
According to the list Julian Jacos left Mare, there are supposed to be two newbloods in this city and the group sneaks into the Security Center in order to find the records room and get the addresses for the newbloods.
They get the information that they need, but Maven beats them to the first person on their list and has set a trap them, fighting breaks out. Mare hears a mysterious ticking sound and as it gets stronger, it begins to cause her increasing amounts of pain. The group manages to escape but Mare is knocked unconscious for four days.
When she wakes up, she learns that her friends were able to save her and get them all out of the city. They have also spent the days getting several of the other newbloods out of Harbor Bay and the surrounding area.
They continue to find newbloods across the countryside. The others treat Mare as the Lightning Girl, as an outsider. They see her as different. Mare struggles with not feeling like herself anymore, and she also struggles with wanting to push Cal away and wanting him to stay close.
Cal teaches the recruits how to use weapons, how to fight, and how to control their abilities.
Kilorn and Mare talk about their feelings for each other and their friendship. Kilorn tells her that she’s allowed to love Cal.
Maven begins leaving Mare little notes in their quest to find more newbloods. When Maven reaches a newblood first, Mare arrives to find all of that person’s family dead, including a baby. In his notes, he tells her that the killing will stop if she turns herself in. Mare doesn’t tell anyone about these mind games. Cal believes Maven is still in love with her and will do anything to get her back. Mare refuses to return, even if it means Maven will back off on the violence. Mare and Cal both miss the Maven they thought they knew.
Mare finds out that Maven is sending 5,000 child soldiers to the front lines as a result of the Measures lowering the conscription age to fifteen. But they can’t think of a way to help them right now. Mare feels responsible for the certain death facing these children.
They meet a strange man named Jon who can read the future. He does not join them, but he tells them that Julian Jacos, Sara Skonos, and several newbloods are in Corros Prison. Maven’s mother, Queen Elara Merandus, plans to use them in the war. Jon tells Mare to leave immediately, and that he’ll see her again. Mare convinces the group to go and rescue them. Cal plans to release the Silvers that are being held in the prison as well in hopes that they will join him. They are, after all, being detained because of their defiance of the queen. The idea of rescuing Silvers makes the others uncomfortable.
Jon also points them to a young, headstrong newblood named Cameron Cole. She has escaped from Corros and has the ability to shut off other people’s powers. She reluctantly agrees to help Mare in her rescue mission.
Mare and the others arrive at Corros. Nanny, a shifter newblood, transforms herself into Maven. Cameron disables the Silver guards’ abilities. Nanny, disguised as Maven, is asked if she wants to see Elara, who happens to be at the prison too. When Nanny declines, the guards become suspicious. A fierce battle begins. While fighting the guards, the group runs through the prison, freeing as many newbloods as they can. Mare kills many of the guards and Cal gets mad at her. They reach the area of the prison where Julian is being kept. Suddenly, there’s a large amount of mist and the group gets separated. Elara speaks into Mare’s mind. Mare goes into a cell made of Silent Stone so Elara can’t reach her. Elara appears and tries to shoot Mare. Shade grabs Mare and gets her to the others, who have found Julian. As they try to escape Corros, Ptolemus tries to kill Mare. Shade jumps in front of her and saves her but dies as a result. Mare is able to kill Elara after a harsh battle.
After the rescue mission, Mare and Cal are on bad terms because Cal is appalled at some of Mare’s actions. Farley is also mad at Mare and accuses her of knowing what would happen to Shade at the prison and going anyway.
Cal wants to head back to where they left the rest of their group, but Mare wants to be dropped off on Tuck first to strike a deal with the Colonel. After successfully forming an alliance, the Colonel and Mare produce a televised message in which they display Elara’s body and call for Reds, newbloods, and Silvers to rise together against Maven.
Cal goes back for the other newbloods that they left at the safe house, the Notch. Mare meets twin representatives, Rash and Tahir, from the Free Republic of Montfort. Their leader offers Mare and the other newbloods sanctuary and tells her that Montfort has an army and is ready to fight. Mare refuses the offer of sanctuary.
Mare collects volunteers to aide in a rescue attempt for the child soldiers being sent to the front lines. The Colonel takes another group as well in order to attack on two different fronts. Farley tells Mare that she’s not going to the Choke because she is pregnant with Shade’s child. Mare goes to see her family and explains what happened to Shade at the prison. Her parents don’t want her to go on the rescue mission, but her brothers join her. Shade is buried on Tuck.
The two groups leave for the Choke. As they travel by plane, they see cities burning and rioting. They don’t make it to the front lines because they are attacked, grounded, and overcome by Maven and his soldiers. Mare offers Maven a trade, she will go with as a willing prisoner if he lets everyone else live. Maven agrees.
The book ends as Mare publicly kneels at Maven’s feet and Maven puts a golden collar and leash around her neck. Maven promises that she will be put on display just as Mare did to his mother’s body.
- Kilorn Warren
- Diana Farley
- The Colonel
- Daniel Barrow
- Ruth Barrow
- Bree Barrow
- Tramy Barrow
- Gisa Barrow
- Tiberias Calore VII
- Maven Calore
- Elara Merandus
- Julian Jacos
- Sara Skonos
- Evangeline Samos
- Ptolemus Samos