Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard


Red Queen
Series: Red Queen #1
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published July 2nd 2015 by Orion

Goodreads Synopsis
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 . . . 

I'm quite conflicted with my thoughts on this book. All throughout my reading process I just kept thinking "this isn't what I expected". Now, that was either a good nor bad difference, it was just different. I think this is a case of hype clouding a person's judgement.

Red Queen tells the story of a world, whose map doesn't seem dissimilar to that of America, in which the population is split by their blood: into Reds and Silvers. Those with Red blood are basically the slaves of the Silver's, who rule over them using their special abilities. Think of a reversed X-Men here - those with abilities are king, whilst those without are nothing, lower than low. The Reds are basically being used as cannon fodder for the Silvers war: when they turn 18, if they're not it a job/apprenticeship, they are shipped off to the front, with little to no chance of survival.

We meet Mare, the MC, worrying about her 18th birthday, as she has no job, no nothing - all she is good at is stealing and pick pocketing. When her best friend, Kilorn, loses his apprenticeship and is about to be sent off to the army, she orchestrates a plan to steal enough money in order to hide the two of them. However, everything goes wrong when the hidden Red militant group, the Scarlet Guard, become public. She barely manages to escape, and meets a handsome stranger, who later gets her a job at the palace. However, this stranger is none other than the crown prince, Cal. Whilst working her first day at the palace, Mare, and the Silvers, discover that she has abilities too, abilities no Red should ever have. She is taken by the royal family, made out to be the long lost daughter of some late general, and engaged to the second prince, Maven. Now the stakes are even higher.

My main difficulty throughout this book was my thoughts on the characters, especially the two princes. With Cal, I'd guessed he be the love interest. I sort of liked him at first, but then when his bloodthirsty nature was revealed, I went off him, until I liked him again. It was all really confusing. The same can be said for Maven. He was my favourite from the get go, and seemed to really connect with Mare. Basically he was everything she needed. And then, his true nature was revealed, and I absolutely hated the SoB. I honestly think the only character who I liked throughout the whole book was Mare, she seriously was the best thing in Red Queen.

Another thing that brought the rating down was that there seemed to be a love square, if such a thing exists. Having three love interests for the main character is totally unrealistic, and honestly brought the down of the book down to bordering on childish. If this isn't properly resolved in Glass Sword I think I'll rip my hair out.

However, the world building was brilliant, and that is one aspect I can't wait to read more about. Like I said, I think the map looks similar to the geography of the USA, though the different countries and principalities make it all together unique. Having some areas of the landscape inaccessible due to radiation was something new, and I hope this topic of radiation is developed. Perhaps that has something to do with why Mare, a Red, has Silver abilities?

All in all, Red Queen was really enjoyable, and I'm so glad I've finally had the chance to read it. Though it wasn't what I was expecting, though I'm not sure what that is, I am desperate for Glass Sword, as the ending left so many questions that need answering. The revelations came from out of nowhere, and I can't wait to see how these are explored further.

Dates Read:
July 16-18, 2015

4 Stars

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  1. Sophie! Our thoughts on this book are COMPLETELY different. xD I absolutely hated Mare with a burning passion, and until the end Maven was my favorite character! I wasn't a fan of the world-building either--it seemed a bit typical for me, probably after all the high fantasies I've already read. D: But I'm so glad you enjoyed this, lovely! Awesome review!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    1. Thanks, Aimee! I loved Maven too, at first, so it killed me how he turned out. I can see what you mean about the world building being similar to others, but I still thought it was well written.

      Are you going to read Glass Sword? Maybe that will be more of your cup of tea? :)