Book Review: "Red Queen" by Honey Brown

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 19th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

In a hidden cabin in the Australian countryside, two brothers hide from the deadly Red Queen virus that has spread across the Earth leaving death in its wake. This is not like any other apocalyptic virus story you have read. Red Queen is by Australian writer Honey Brown - this is a review of the novel.

A UNIQUE Apocalyptic Virus Novel? Who thought it Possible?

Apocalyptic virus, nothing new there, but apocalyptic virus in the Australian countryside? A new take on a done to death theme is hard to come by but that is exactly what Honey Brown manages to do in her first novel, Red Queen. And it is not just the Australian scene and nuances that set this novel apart from those like Stephen King's The Stand and Richard Matheson's 1954 novel, I am Legend (that most would only know as a kick ass Wil Smith movie), Honey has differentiated her novel by disallowing any immunity of threat – at least, as far as we know.

The 261 page novel occurs entirely within the small protective space of two brothers who are simply trying to survive by not seeking out other survivors. A self-inflicted isolation of protection is an unusual and refreshing approach. The overall theme of Red Queen is about family and coming together and that opening your heart and your mind to others may give you the one thing you have always wanted but the path to this realisation is battered, abused and manipulated into submission.

Plot Overview

The story is a first person account of the events in the lives of two brothers about a year after civilisation has come to ruin from the Red Queen virus. The unique approach here is that our narrative protagonist, the younger brother, Shannon, is not a scientist, he is not seeking a cure, he is not on a mission of any kind except that of survival. He is a very average Australian boy, twenty three years old and throughout the pages, he only briefly mentions his old life in a throwaway line about attending University. He is nothing special. He is... very typical. But as a typical young man, he defies his own lack of knowledge and maturity with his self-inflicted righteous opinion.

It takes his decent into the blackest places and praying to a God he does not believe in to open his eyes to the truth and we discover his perception throughout the novel was mired by his own enhanced self worth and his child like internal exaggeration and rebellious nature. It is rare for a novel to take the reader so honestly into the mind of the narrator that you believe what he believes and when the realisation comes that his perceptions are not the reality, the reader has the same realisation and is forced to think back over the pages. Rohan, the elder brother who is thirty eight and therefore thrust into the unwanted role of protective father figure to Shannon, is a constant of change and presented as a projection of Shannon's ideals and warped interpretations of reality.

Everything Was Fine Until SHE Arrived!

An example of Honey Brown's amazing ability to hone in and define the point of view of Shannon is through the introduction of the unknown component in their world. Protagonist or antagonist? It is hard to tell. The female character of Denny is a constant theme of manipulation even through the eyes of Shannon who never addresses this although his observations and the revelation of this to the reader is hinted at and therefore you know that it lingers in the back of his mind as it does the reader's.

There is a jarring introduction of sex within the storyline. The reader expects sexual interactions when a female is tumultuously intruded into the closed word of the two brothers, yet it is jolting through its method of introduction. Sexual tension is expected as is the gradual introduction of flirtatious behaviours and tension between the two brothers. Denny is twenty nine and perfectly positioned to take her pick of the boys. Shannon's wholehearted belief in the violent and emotional nonchalance of his brother firms in his mind that Denny could only wish to be with the caring and gentle Shannon. What follows is a somewhat drawn out venture into mild sexual deviancy and cruelty that may be hard to stomach for some though they are necessary interactions for the story-line and conclusions.

My Final Thoughts

Overall, Red Queen is a well written work with some very creative and intelligent differences to the classic deadly virus theme. The lack of details surrounding the virus itself and the lack of knowledge about how it came to be is hardly distracting as the reality of the situation through Shannon's eyes suggests that these are not details that should be expected to be known. This is a book definitely worth reading.

Other Reviews by Porle Joen

Music Review:
* The Red Paintings - The Revolution is Never Coming

Film Review:
* Red Hill (2010) Australia. Thriller/Western


Apocalypse, Apocalyptic, Armageddon, Armaggedon, Australia, Australian, Author, Fiction, Fictional Story, Honey Brown, Novels, Virus, Viruses, Writer, Writers

Meet the author

author avatar Karen McTackett
* Professional Writer/Facilitator/Speaker
* Writing Mentoring & Freelancer
* Master of Arts (Writing)
* WRITE NOW Creator -

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Lady Aiyanna
19th Jan 2014 (#)

Not the one I would read. But good opinion none the less, hope you enjoyed it...

Reply to this comment

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
20th Jan 2014 (#)

Very interesting post filled with a lot of information as well interesting facts!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
27th Jan 2014 (#)

Interesting review although I am not sure this is a book I would enjoy reading.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?