RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard – a review

Some books grip readers from the beginning, packing them on a wild roller coaster ride from the first sentence. Others have a slow unfolding, giving the readers time to savor the characters, submerse themselves in the world-building before the proverbial *^$* hits the fan. For me, RED QUEEN was the latter, and it was a beautiful way to unfold this story.

The story opens with us learning a bit about our main hero, Mare Barrow. Mare is a Red and she lives in the impoverished Stilts with her mother, disabled father and her younger sister, who sews for the wealthy Silvers. We also learn a bit about her brothers and Kilorn Warren, perhaps Mare’s only real friend.  As the chapter progresses we begin to unravel the theme behind this book:  Silvers vs Reds, and the struggle that wars on between them. We learn from a distance what Silvers are and what Reds are expected to do at the Silver’s command, and neither side is pretty.

I think that is one thing I liked about this book – Aveyard doesn’t ‘glorify’ wealth and success, or being poor and gracious. She shows the ugly side of both and, unlike other dystopians, I didn’t want to be either Silver or Red if I had a choice.  I wanted to be like Mare, a girl trying to find her way between both ‘worlds’ and survive.

I couldn’t help draw upon some similarities between the Hunger Games and The Selection series, but I didn’t find those things put-offish. I mean, let’s face it – it’s dystopian. These sorts of books are all going to have similar themes and similar character types.  What I loved about RED QUEEN was the twist at the end.  I’m usually good about foreseeing plot twists, but this one made me scream out loud  “Noooooo!!!” I was impressed. Truly. It made me want to climb inside the book and slap some people silly.  Some of the scenes had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Aveyard is a true storyteller, and I understand why everyone is going ga ga over this book.

I’m giving the book 4 stars because, while I loved it, it didn’t blow my mind. It’s not one of those books that left me numb or left me thinking about what I’d just read for days on end, like the Hunger Games.  That series knocked the wind out of me.  I am, however, eagerly waiting for the second book in this series. In fact, I wish I had it in my hands right now. I am desperate to know what happens to Mare and what she chooses to do with what she’s learned and become in RED QUEEN.  I can’t wait to see a certain someone get everything (s)he deserves. That will be positively sweet.

If you’re into YA dystopians, you should really check this one out. It’s well worth the price of the hardback.


What’s RED QUEEN about?

From Goodreads:

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?


Victoria is a member of the #FreshmanFifteen. Everyone should check out that awesome group of writers debuting in 2015. I’m sure you’ll see some books on there you recognize.

She is repped by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. and she holds a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.  Her debut novel, RED QUEEN, came out this year, and the second novel in the series is slated for 2016. You can find out more on her website at