I picked up this book thoroughly expecting to hate it, thinking it was nothing but a rip off of a bunch of other books. However, while it did remind me of just about every other popular YA story from the last couple of years, I still was able to enjoy Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard.
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.
- Entertaining – For me, a book can be incredibly well-written and full of really great aspects that critics look for in a novel, but if I’m not entertained or thoroughly invested in the story, then I’m not going to enjoy it. I’m just not that good of a book snob, I guess. I prefer entertainment value over pretty much everything else when I’m reading. Lucky for me that Red Queen was able to deliver in that department!
- Characters – I really liked Mare. She was interesting, had a personality, and was willing to do anything to help and protect her family. There were a few times where I thought she was a bit of an idiot, but I guess you could say that’s typical of any teenager (haha!). Cal was probably my favorite though. You know he wants to do the right thing all of the time but he also wants to become the best king for his kingdom, and sometimes the two don’t mix. I enjoyed watching him struggle with reconciling the two. I also enjoyed Kilorn, but only because I enjoyed disliking him so much. He’s kind of a selfish ass and I am ready for Mare to rip him a new one. I feel it coming and am so ready for it! Also, the Queen is probably one of my favorite villains right now. Like I hate her sooooooooo much and yet I can’t get enough of her. She’s basically the female version of Darth Vader but without any of the redeeming qualities. The perfect someone you love to hate!
- Originality – I think it’s a well-known fact by now that Red Queen is thoroughly lacking in the plot originality category. I mean it’s basically a mash up of Red Rising, Throne of Glass, and a touch of Divergent. Trust me, you’ll see them all show up in this book.
- World-Building – I really would like to learn more about this actual world that Mare is living in. I think it’s ours but maybe post-apocalyptic, but there’s not a whole lot of information there. I also don’t understand why some people have powers and some don’t. Aveyard never goes into detail enough about these differences between the Reds and Silvers (and amongst the Silvers themselves), which I think was really needed. I’m hoping that as the series goes on, maybe some of these questions get answered in a bit more detail. I’m also hoping that we get to see more of this world in general, especially the warfront.
All in all, I found this book to be entertaining. I enjoyed the characters, I was invested in the plot and excited to see where it was going to go. I feel like there was some world-building information that would’ve been beneficial in helping differentiate this world compared to the other YA novels that it’s similar to. I do plan on carrying on with this series to see if all my questions are answered and whether or not the queen gets her ass kicked like she deserves. Here’s hoping, right?
Final Verdict: 3.5/5 Stars
What did you think of Red Queen? Have you read the sequel yet? Will you be continuing on with the series?