Red Queen

Red Queen

Red Queen

by Victoria Aveyard

Series: "Red Queen" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance
Published: February 10th 2015
by HarperTeen




Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


With all the hype and glowing reviews regarding Victoria Aveyard’s debut Red Queen, I suppose I was just expecting it to be something more than it was. While it is certainly a decent debut that won’t fail to entertain, the plot lacked originality and was exceedingly predictable.

Aveyard’s story is one we have constantly read about in YA. It’s a combination of the blood-divided society of Red Rising combined with the powers of The Darkest Minds and a romance and setting vaguely reminiscent of The Selection. While some reviews mentioned this mash-up to be a highlight for them, I had a hard time enjoying the story itself because of the fact that I’ve already read it so many different times.

Red Queen is set in a society solely dependent on blood type. Those with silver blood are elites of the world; ruling the society with their supernatural powers. Those with red blood are forced to endure a life of servitude to the Reds.

Our protagonist Mare is a Red, but coincidence lands her a job in the Silver’s Royal Castle. But during a ceremony she discovers she has a supernatural power of her own – even though that’s impossible for a Red. Desperate to cover up the mistake, the King and Queen disguise her as a long-lost Silver princess. But can she keep up the charade – and stop a rebellion in the process?

Mare is your typical fantasy / dystopian heroine. She’s snarky, stubborn, and doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to. While the “special snowflake” subplot definitely makes an appearance here within Mare’s character, it didn’t bother me as much as it normally might have.

As with the typical young adult book, Red Queen contains a love triangle. When Mare starts impersonating her role as a Silver princess, she is betrothed to the Prince – Maven; yet she has feelings for his older brother Cal, the Crown Prince. As far as love triangles go, it wasn’t horrible; but there were times I wish more focus was put on the rebellion than the romance.

Despite its predictability and unoriginality, I still enjoyed Red Queen and found it to be an entertaining read despite its flaws. The ending has me hooked in seeing what happens next.


62 thoughts on “Red Queen

  1. Oh my gosh Zoe I just finished Red Queen today, haha πŸ™‚ And coincidentally, while I was reading the book, I also have to agree that it was definitely UNORIGINAL. Like, the “rags to riches” concept was overused already that it was kind of exhausting to read it over and over again in several stories πŸ™

    Great review, Zoe, and thanks for posting this! πŸ™‚ I’m a little curious with what’s going to happen next. (Also, you stated a lot of things better than I did; I had a hard time writing my thoughts for this book, lol!)

    1. Haha…review twins! xD I’m glad I’m not the only one to find it a bit unoriginal Jillian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I’m glad you liked this one! I think with such hype surrounding this one, the expectations have been raised so much for us readers. Still trying to get my hands on a copy of this one, but hopefully I’ll like it! Personally, I LOVE the sound of the plot…even though it does have its similarities to others. Lovely review! πŸ™‚

  3. Hahhaha I do want to read this more now, because I LIKE SUPERPOWERS. Hahah superpowers. But I am afraid of the similarity with Red Rising. I haven’t read The Selection so I’m hoping that doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t know we’re see.AWESOME REVIEW ZOEEEE AS USUAL. I have this book on my shelf, I just have to get to it.

    1. Superpowers are amazing. xD
      And I hope you end up enjoying it and aren’t put off by the similarities Val. Thanks for your sweet comment!

  4. I think all the hype got to me with this book. I was expecting to be blown away by it, but in the end, I DNF’d it. I still think about going back and giving it another try since it seems like so many people love it, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. Great review!

  5. Your review has agreed with mine! YES πŸ™‚ I agree that this novel wasn’t that original, I felt like the author borrowed several ideas of other books and made them into one story.I needed more reasonable action as well, the romance wasn’t bad, but it sometimes took over. I hope the rest of the series gets better. Loved reading your thoughts on it! <3

    1. Yeah! Review twins! If the rebellion takes over the romance in the next two books, I think we’ll be all set. πŸ˜‰ Thank you!

  6. This one KILLED ME WITH DISAPPOINTMENT. The hype was wild, but I was at least expecting something….original?! GAh. It felt like a rehash of so. many. books. Particularly the Selection and Red Rising. Which makes me sad. STILL. The cover is epic and I did like the plot twist at the end. πŸ˜‰

  7. This one did have major hype (which was why i decided to read it a few weeks after it’s initial release) but i ended up enjoying it immensely. it worked for me and i loved the books flaws. Especially the characters flaws. I really wish you could have loved this one more. Brilliant review Zoe πŸ™‚

  8. I am torn about this one. See, I haven’t read Red Rising or The Selection yet, so maybe it won’t feel AS unoriginal, but then I worry then when I read the predecessors, THEY’LL feel unoriginal. But entertaining is good, I like entertaining! Great review, I will definitely read it at some point, I just might try to read some of the others first (mainly Red Rising!)

    1. I definitely see where you’re coming from Shannon. I’m curious to see what you decide to do and what you think of this one when you decide to read it.

  9. I have read so many reviews that say the book is unoriginal. I was planning on reading it anyway, but I just don’t think I can do it. Nope, going to skip this one. πŸ™‚

    1. I totally know how this is totally your bread and butter Rachel! πŸ˜‰ Glad you enjoyed it so much! <3

  10. Ahhh! I’m so torn on whether to read this or not. I read mostly contemporary books, so it’s not my typical genre… but sounds soooo good! Just not sure if it’s for me. I think I’ll give in and give it a try one of these days. πŸ™‚

    1. I’m curious to know what you decide Lisa! Let me know if you do end up reading this after all and, if you do, what you end up thinking. xD

  11. I’m starting to see how easily pleased I am, because I absolutely loved this book. Completely agree about the lack of originality, but I was more so thinking wow, they’ve combined everything I’ve loved about previous dystopians into one book. That’s handy. I’m glad you were still able to enjoy it though, and even more so than you want to read book two. HOORAY! Lovely review Zoe, really enjoyed it <3

    1. I wouldn’t call you easily pleased Kelly – not at all. I completely understand where you’re coming from though – it was nice how it combined everything we all love about dystopians into one giant book. Thank you!

  12. Great review!
    I love hearing different people’s opinions on a book. I was one of the people who loved Red Queen. I see how that might be possible, though, considering I haven’t read The Darkest Minds or Red Rising. It did feel familiar to some other books, but sometimes I get in a kick where I want to read books all about the same thing (people with abilities or powers) and I think it was one of those times. I did really enjoy it and let me just say…WOAH THAT PLOT TWIST. Another reason I loved Red Queen. Just…woah. Ultimate villain- and I do love a good villain,

  13. I was definitely frustrated with the lack of originality in this one. And the romance could have taken more of a backseat to let the actual story move forward. The love triangle was just getting on my nerves, especially since it was between two *brothers*. >_< Glad you enjoyed this more than I did, though!

    1. Thanks Aimee. If the love triangle wasn’t as prominent, I suppose I probably would have liked this one more as well. *sighs*

  14. I definitely agree that there were a couple of flaws in this book, but HOLY MOTHER OF PLOT TWISTS. I felt so betrayed at the end!! Really looking forward to seeing how things develop in the sequel.

  15. Absolutely agree Zoe. I kept rolling my eyes during the first half of the book because it was just so darn cliched! But I did go into the second half with lowered expectations and managed to enjoy it a lot more — to the point where I didn’t even see the plot twist coming! Yeah…what?!

    1. I agree with you 100% Joy. I think the unoriginality was definitely masked by how entertaining it was.

  16. I agree this this was not original in any means. In fact, I thought it was simply Red Rising with pretty dresses and X-men characters. LOL! I still enjoyed it enough, though, but I’ll attribute that to the writing which I felt was pretty solid. And that love triangle thingo was kinda fail. I mean, I thought the romance took a back seat, but still… two potential love interests? It didn’t feel necessary.

    1. I completely agree Faye. While it wasn’t quite as original as I would have liked, the writing was solid and entertaining enough. And I agree about the love triangle too – was it completely necessary? I don’t really think it was.

  17. I just finished this book last week and I LOVED it! I agree with you on the predictability. I had pretty much figured out the ending to some degree but the plot twist threw me for a loop! It was an unexpected expected twist (does that even make sense?).
    As far as the plot being similar to other stories, I have a confession. I went through what I call my dark period where I didn’t read ANYTHING for several years due to college and then work. So I’ve yet to read The Selection and The Darkest Minds (though I do own them).
    I loved the X-men-ish abilities of the characters! Like you I do wish they had focused more on the rebellion, but I enjoyed learning about the Silver elite and all the dirty secrets they held πŸ™‚
    Great review and I’m following you now πŸ˜‰

    1. So glad you enjoyed it so much Lillian! πŸ˜€ And LOL about the “unexpected expected” twist – that totally makes sense and I felt the same way. Thank you for your lovely comment!

  18. I have read a lot of mediocre reviews for this book, and to be honest – I don’t think I will read it. Like you said: we’ve read this kind of story so many times. I don’t think I would get anything new from it D:

    And plus, special snowflake syndrome AND a love triangle? Oh gosh *shudders*

  19. There was indeed a lot of hype over Red Queen, but I saw several reviews similar to yours, so I probably won’t try it out (at least not until later)! A real pity, since the launch was so glorious (the book trailer!). Personally, I also prefer rebellion over romance, so we have that much in common πŸ˜€

  20. Yeah, this book wasn’t for me unfortunately. There seemed to be so much similarities with other books I’ve read, and it ended up being too focused on the romance for me. I mean the powers were cool, but I’ve read other books where the powers were even cooler. Great review Zoe, glad that you still enjoyed it!

    1. I completely agree Jeann. The unoriginality and blatant focus on the romance was just a bit plain. Sorry you felt a bit mediocre about it too. πŸ™

  21. That was my problem with it, i, yeah, it wasn’t original, but not a lot of books in the genre are original anymore, but the ones that stand out are the ones who own it. This didn’t (for me anyway) and yup, it was predictable and a whole lot of done before, done before, done before. πŸ™ I was really disappointed with this one (I didn’t really finish it either, read the first 50% and skimmed the rest).

    1. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who felt it was unoriginal Kristy! Thank you! (And you didn’t really miss anything by only reading half – just more romance. 😐 )

  22. Oh my. I’m so sorry Red Queen didn’t entertain you that much. I was fascinated by the book so much. Well, we have different feelings towards each story anyway. But I’m still glad you didn’t rate it one or two stars. πŸ™‚

    1. I hope you end up enjoying it more than I did when you end up reading it Yani. πŸ™‚ And I’m looking forward to your review as well – it’s always interesting reading from the perspective of someone who has different tastes than I do!

  23. “While it is certainly a decent debut that won’t fail to entertain, the plot lacked originality and was exceedingly predictable.” My thoughts exactly! When I was reading Red Queen, I could not stop comparing it to other dystopian and fantasy books. The plot was so unoriginal and that distracted me from thoroughly enjoying the story.

  24. Zoe!! I’m so glad you liked this book, it was such a fun read!I haven’t read The Darkest Minds nor The Selection, so my judgement wasn’t clouded by these books and I found it to be so original and fun. I loved mixing the fantasy with the dystopian. I don’t know.. I seem to be the only person who 100% loved this book and gave it 5 stars. hahaha

    – Jumana @

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