It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack.
First sentence: “They came at the end of the long night, when the manufacturing dome had not seen sunlight for almost two weeks.”
Oh, darling, Ze’ev (Z).
I have so much love for this short story. It is about Ze’ev’s induction into, you guessed it, the Queen’s army at the age of twelve. It follows him as he adjusts to the modifications and “improvements” to his body that will eventually help the Queen. His days are filled with endless training and fighting; none of which he particular likes.
My heart goes out to him because he’s, y’know, [spoiler]Wolf. (It’s no secret if you’ve read Scarlet already.)[/spoiler]. (I just fall in love with his character over and over again.) He isn’t a mindless soldier, doing his job. He shows that he is against the way the pack is run, but keeps quiet because of the consequences. He doesn’t win all his fights, but he’s a good fighter who is exceptional at defending himself. At the end of the novella, he regains most of the control that was taken from him. It’s really frickin’ awesome.
I love the tension between the brothers. Ran wants nothing to do with Z even though they’re in the same pack. Ran feels like he’s living in Z’s shadow again. It’s really not Z’s fault. It’s sad that Z’s only family member refuses to have anything to do with him. It makes me excited to see how their relationship will develop in the next book.
The Queen’s Army is a great introduction to what exactly these soldiers are doing before they are sent to complete an important mission for Queen Levana, and to Z, who plays an important role in Scarlet.