Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen
Image via Victoria Aveyard.

Expected publication: February 10, 2015, by Orion

Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1


A thrilling new fantasy trilogy for fans of DIVERGENT and THE HUNGER GAMES.

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?


You guys, this book is so good! I can`t say definitively, but I predict that this book will be the best dystopian fantasy of 2015! Everything you loved from The Selection, the Grisha trilogy, and The Winner’s Curse can be found here!

The plot is furnished with mystery and intrigue of a royal family, forbidden love, inequality between the two races, and, most importantly, a revolution! Along with our heroine, Mare, we will rise from the bottom with Reds to the top with Silvers. This book is simply a must-read!

Mare Barrow is Red, and this determines her identity. She’s a thief from a large family, trying to survive in a cruel world where her life is not valued. Soon she must go to the war — a run of the mill battle for lands — where she will serve as cannon fodder while real warriors sit in the palaces and dance at the ball. She almost resigns to her destiny, if not for one thing: her best friend, who had formerly been safe, now has to go to the war, too. She had taken care of him since their childhood, and she refuses to change that now. It’s quickly established that Mare will do anything to save him.


After an unexpected acquaintance is made, Mare is thrown in the royal palace, where she gets a job. But, in an instant, her life takes a new turn after a peculiar incident. What’s more peculiar is that the royal family decides to replace her Red identity with the role of the missing daughter of one of the Silver war heroes and then marry her to their younger prince. Mare has no choice: either she becomes a princess, or she dies.

They`ve pulled me inside out, swapping Mare for Mareena, a thief for a crown, cotton for silk, Red for Silver. This morning I was a servant, tonight I’m a princess. How much more will change? What else will I lose? 

So, with that choice, she falls into the maelstrom of intrigues, meets with two princes (yes, a love triangle), and joins the ranks of the Red revolutionaries, trying to save her country, her people, and herself.

Now, let’s talk about this world created by Victoria Aveyard. Here, people are divided by blood: Red and Silver, slaves and rulers.

We didn`t evolve like them, with powers and strengths in our own bodies. The world changed around us and we stayed the same. 

Reds are ordinary peasants, working day and night to ensure the comfort of Silvers. They are people who have lost hope and strength for surviving. Because their blood does not give them supernatural powers, they are considered unimportant. Reds are used as cannon fodder in the war since they don’t have proper equipment and thereby no real chance in battles. They work in factories, in areas with radiation, and the luckiest are allowed to work as servants to the bitterly hated Silvers.

Living under such oppression, Reds decide to rise up and gather a group of revolutionaries — the Scarlet Guard. Despite their lack of special abilities, they believe that they will be able to overthrow Silvers and take their rightful place in the society, regardless of the consequences.

In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don`t believe that.

The gods rule us still. And they are no longer kind.

Silvers are basically X-men. Seriously, they control the elements, people’s minds, metal, etc. (It should be noted that Mare, albeit her red blood, controls electricity). Silvers are special, privileged, live in luxury, and do not know fear. They are greedy, spoiled and always use their status in the society. Think Joffrey from Game of Thrones.
Among them are Telkys, Greenys, Nymphs, Strongarms, and many more. The royal throne is passed through the male line, and the queen is selected by her abilities because they are in a state of a war, and their kingdom should be ruled by the strongest. Generally, they don`t care about Reds — these Silver people do not know mercy.

But not all of them are like that.

Cal is a Silver Prince, heir to the throne, a great warrior, and just an all-around handsome guy. By all measures, he is suitable for the position of the king: he is not deprived of kindness and other human qualities. He grew up in a Silver family, though, so while he sympathizes with Reds, it doesn`t mean that he intends to change history and make them equal to Silvers.

Maven, on the other hand, is the younger prince, the son of the most evil queen, and Mare`s groom. Because of a childhood trauma, he decides to help the rebellion, though it`s not easy because it means betraying his own kind.

When Mare comes to live in the palace, she is torn between these two guys. She really likes Cal, but they cannot be together because of their political views. On the other hand, Maven is the perfect match. And if at first the advantage was on Cal`s side, with time, Mare starts to show more and more feelings toward her fiancé because he is on her side. What I liked most is that Mare is not a naive fool. Forbidden love didn’t cloud her head, and she knew perfectly well that she could not be with Cal, so she didn’t try. Moreover, she decided to use his feelings to win a battle! That’s what I call a plot twist! Overall, this love triangle is different from those we are used to, the ones where the girl can’t decide who she loves and wavers between two great guys.

Living the luxurious life of a Silver didn’t change Mare, and even though she pretends to be Silver, she remembers her roots. She struggles to fit into the royal family while making plans to overthrow them with the Scarlet Guard. Along the way she finds new allies and new enemies. For example, Cal`s bride: Magneto Evangeline. (By the way, their gladiatorial combats were glorious!)

All in all, this book offers excellent battles of titans, smart strategies that can compete with The Winner’s Curse, a non-standard romance, and everything you can ask for from a dystopian fantasy. Victoria’s writing style is simply superb, and I can’t believe we have to wait so long for the sequel; it’s tormenting!

Don`t forget: In this story, no one is safe from betrayal. 

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