Review: Red Queen

Posted April 11, 2015

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Red Queen Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published by Orion on February 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until a twist of fate brings her before the Silver court. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly ability of her own.

Fearful of Mare's potential, the king hides her in plain view: betrothed to his youngest son. Trapped, Mare decides to use her new position to bring down the regime - from the inside.

But this is a game of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...

In Brief

5 words


Things I liked

* Mare, the main character

* The politics of the world

* The Princes

Didn't Like

* similarities to Red Rising (see “My Thoughts”)

Who Should Read It

* fans of YA fantasy

Rest of the series

* Yes, I definitely will!

My Thoughts


Red Queen is one of the books I was most looking forward to in 2015; in fact it was on my 2015 Book Wishlist. I’ll be honest though, for the first third of the book I wasn’t overly fussed on it. However the final two thirds definitely made up for it and I ended up really enjoying it.

So what didn’t I like in the first third? Well, I’ve read Red Rising and I found elements of Red Queen really echoed that book. In Red Rising the Golds are far superior and rule over all, including the poverty stricken Reds. In Red Queen the Silvers are superior, ruling over the poverty stricken Reds. In Red Rising the main character infiltrates the world of the Golds to help a terrorist organisation bring them down. In Red Queen the main character Mare is a Red, betrothed to a Silver Prince. She uses this position to help a terrorist organisation. Albeit Red Queen is different in that the Royal family know that Mare is a Red, unlike Red Rising where no-one knows the protagonist is a Red.

Once I got past this part of the book (which I’m sure I would have loved if I hadn’t recently read Red Rising),  I really enjoyed Red Queen.

So Mare is a Red, she’s a thief and lives with her family in The Stilts village. They live in poverty, suppressed and overlooked by the Silvers. Due to her lack of employment, Mare is to join the army. That is until she is summoned to the palace to work as a servant. One of her first duties is to serve the High Houses at the Queenstrial, where girls from each High House compete to become the wives of the two Princes, Cal (who is heir to the throne) and Maven, the second son. The Silvers in this world have special abilities. All of the families have different abilities and those of the High Houses are more powerful than the average Silver. So when Mare, a Red, inadvertently displays powers to rival the Silvers the Royal family are forced to keep her close, hide her in plain sight and so she is betrothed to Maven, the second Prince.

Mare wants to use her new-found position to help her people, the Reds. The Scarlet Guard are a group of rebels seeking fair treatment for Reds. Now that Mare is moving in high circles, perhaps she can work from within to bring down the Silver system?

I liked Mare as a character, a strong female with a bit of sass is always popular with me. I did, at times, find her a bit frustrating, but a good kind of frustrating, the kind that makes you want to read on.

I also really liked the world, the different abilities of the Silvers, the political system; it all worked well for me. As did the romance element… I’m not usually a big fan of love triangles but this particular one (well, it might have been a quadrangle actually) worked for me. It’s not overpowering to the plot either, which I like. In addition, I have a new bookcrush to rival Chaol from Throne of Glass, Cal.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, once I read beyond the first third. I liked the way the book ended, seemingly leaving things nicely set up for book 2, which I will definitely be reading!