Book Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

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.

The Good

  • 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!

The Bad

  • 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?

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Obsessive book reader and blogger. Texas girl. Sports fanatic. Lover of travel, video games, and scented candles. I also just really enjoy sleeping. #noshame

25 thoughts on “Book Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)”

  1. I had sooooo many of these same thoughts! I just finished Glass Sword and really felt a Hunger Games vibe too. It was entertaining…but I just didn’t love it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m torn! I want to know what happens, but I didn’t love it and am debating whether I want to spend so much time on another book that I don’t love when there are so many other books I want to read.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I do that all of the time! But I’m one of those people who hates not finishing things so unless I just really really dislike a book, I typically try and finish out the series. Such a glutton for punishment that way! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And yeah, it’s definitely one of those books that has very polarizing reviews. I found it just entertaining enough to keep going with the series, but that’s mostly because I liked the side characters so much. I hope it gets better though! And I hope you’ve had some better luck with your more recent reads! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this and the sequel a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I had been putting it off as everyone kept saying it was just a rip off of a number of other books but while there are a lot of similarities I still really loved it. There are still some unique elements to it and to be honest I’m not sure there are any really original dystopians anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m really glad to hear you somewhat enjoyed this one. It is on my TBR but like you did I’m expecting to really dislike it so it’s nice to read a review by someone who enjoyed it and went in with the same perspective I would. I’m happy to hear it was entertaining if anything though, it makes me a little less leery of reading it now! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! That’s a nice reaction to the ending. 😁 So you’re really reading the next book? I think I’ll wait and read your review about it first before buying my own copy. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read the three books you mentioned in the originality department, so I believe that point will not hit me that hard. I plan to read this book, and your review definitely suggests that I have to pick this up 😀

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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