Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard                                                
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen - February 2015 

Genres: Fantasy, Dystopian

Format: Hardcover 

What is Red Queen about?

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


I love the premise of Red Queen.  I love the idea of a world where people had powers.  While it may have been something that I had seen and read before, I thought that the way she did it was different and original.  Like any good fantasy series, I feel like this book was a setup for the rest of the books in the series.   I ADORED Red Queen, even if I didn't really know where she was going with it sometimes.  In Red Queen, Mare is thrown into this world of silvers that she is not familiar with.  There are lies, secrets, deception and rebellions.  All in a palace setting.  I really enjoyed this aspect of Red Queen, because I am always ready for some court intrigue. 

There is such a wide cast of characters in Red Queen. The main character, Mare is strong-willed and sassy and I LOVE her.  Even though she frustrated me at times and made me go "NO MARE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??"  I liked Cal from the beginning, and even though Mare at times questioned whether Cal was a "good guy", I always knew that he was.  Maven is an intriguing character.  When reading this book, I felt that he was kind of sketchy.   The way he became so close to Mare so soon, and the way he tried to influence her thoughts about Cal and her actions.  And of course, as in any fantasy series - we have to have the villains!  As this book progressed, we got to see more and more of how evil Elara really is.  Red Queen is a book that has an abundance of villains, and it just adds so much to the story.  I, for one, am for villains.  That being said, the villains in this book were horrible and backstabbing and evil.  But that just made it all the more interesting. 

 In Red Queen, we have a fantasy world that feels dystopian.   Red Queen is a fantasy book.  However, there were things throughout the story that had a dystopian vibe.  We have the "government" or Silvers, who rule over everyone else because they think that they are superior.  Then, we have the common people, the reds, who are basically treated like dirt.  This is where a rebellion comes into play.  In Red Queen, we have a rebel group, The Scarlet Guard.  I had mixed feelings about The Scarlet Guard.   There were so many times when I wished that they would just go away and stop interfering with Mare's mission.  However, by the end of the book, I did appreciate what they were trying to do.  The people are being oppressed.  The royal family is evil.  The rebels are supposed to be the good guys.  I think that it is a testament to Victoria Aveyard's writing that she could make me root against the rebels.  Who were, technically, trying to do what was right.  One of the things I loved the most about this book is that nothing was black and white.  There were no clear "good guys" or "bad guys".  There were no right or wrong decisions.  There were just choices. Everything was gray. 

 One of the things about Red Queen that I really liked was that it focused on the plot and what Mare was going through instead of just throwing in romance for the sake of having romance.  There was a lot going on in this book.  Mare was going through so many crazy things that she'd never experienced before.  She was in a very treacherous situation.  And I really appreciate that Victoria Aveyard recognized that and didn't put in romance.  With all of the things Mare was going through, Mare didn't have time for a romantic relationship with anyone.  Had she added a whole romance subplot, it would have felt unnatural.  While there is a scene that has mild romance, it wasn't a part of the story.  Mare spent zero time thinking about boyfriends or whether she liked this guy over that guy.  It was very refreshing.  I feel like in YA you can't even read a book that just focuses on the main character and plot and doesn't have a huge romance angle.  


Final Thoughts:

Overall, Red Queen surprised me - in a good way.  I have no doubt that Red Queen will become one of my favorite fantasy series.  I am already eagerly anticipating Victoria Aveyard's sequel.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy or dystopian.  Or anyone who enjoys reading strong female characters.  But, most of all, to anyone who likes having their mind blown.  At the end of this book, there was a huge plot twist and it was glorious.  It changes everything you had thought you knew about the characters and just turns it upside down.  I applaud Victoria Aveyard for doing that and taking that big step, because it was worth it!



  1. First of all, welcome to the blogosphere! I can't believe this is only your first post because it is absolutely wonderfully written! ♥

    Second, I completely agree with everything you've said here. This book was absolutely fabulous, and the twists and turns were just incredible.

    Thanks for sharing and fabulous review!

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

  2. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to writing many more reviews in the future!
    You totally just made my day :)