Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Non Spoilery!

So if you’re big into reading and particularly YA, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Red Queen as it has become a bit of a sensation. In this book we follow our protagonist Mare Barrow through a world that is divided between the regular people with red blood and the privileged ruling class, who have a variety of powers and have silver blood.

If you liked books like the Hunger Games you’ll probably like this series. I gave it 4/5 stars so I recommend it so go read it and come back so we can discuss it!

Spoilers ahead!!!!

Ok so Red Queen. First of all, the very first thing I would like to say (Non spoilers stop now or be spoiled for the entire book) I KNEW SHADE WAS ALIVE! I KNEW IT. Literally the second she found out he was dead I was convinced that he just didn’t come back because he was off with the Guard. Now when Farley said he knew what he was getting into my confidence wavered a bit but I was right.

Another thing I would like to touch on was my confusion at the beginning of this book. I went into this thinking it was fantasy. So when there was mention of arenas and electricity I had to shift my entire view of this world. I had to adjust from a more medieval setting to something that resembled the Hunger Games, with the rich class having all the modern comforts and then some and the poor class having rudimentary access to modern comforts like electricity.

With this change of thinking I was confused if this was meant to by Dystopian. Were all the references to the “old world” talking about our history? They never really made it clear. But that’s what I ended up going with whenever they talked about the old world before this. And I REALLY REALLY wanted a map! I was dying for one. Mare gives such detailed descriptions of where things are located in reference to others but I was having such a hard time envisioning it. Now once I was running with my dystopian theory I started picturing the USA as out home base. And obviously Norta would be in the North and so in my mind the Lakelands was obviously the Great Lakes area with no access to the sea and Norta would be New England (which I was near sure of because the author is from Massachusetts and hello, Mass pride?). But the nail in the coffin for confirming that theory was the mention of a “hooked cape” near the city Harbor Bay. Obviously since she’s from Mass, the “hooked cape” is Cape Cod so Harbor Bay is Boston. If you don’t agree with me look up the Red Queen Map. It’s even used on the book’s wiki page (SEE BELOW FOR MAP!)

But anyways now to talk about the actual book. So after I wrapped my head around the dystopian theme it felt very Hunger Games mixed with the Selection. Hunger Games because of the class separation but the Selection in that we have this poor girl ending up in the palace with the prince in love with her.

Now it was obvious that Cal was the prince when she got the job at the palace but I can’t believe how quickly Mare got thrown in to the court. I liked her electric powers and loved that she messes up Evangeline’s little performance.

As for the love triangle(s) in this book. So it’s obvious to me that Kilorn loves her but although she mentions that if she made it back from the front it doesn’t really seem like she loves him as more than a friend so I don’t see that being endgame at all.

And then there’s the other “love triangle” that ends up not being one. Here I was feeling all bad because Cal and Maven both seem like great guys. I love the scene where Maven finds her crying on the balcony and arranges her going to see her family but then shrinks into the shadows and she hugs him. I though he was great. I was totally shocked when he appeared at the Red Guard Meeting but then I liked the idea of the 2 of them changing things. But at the same time I still liked Cal. He seemed like he wanted to be a good leader and I was actually really shocked at the meeting with the Red Guard how quickly Maven was able to convince Mare that Cal would not be a good leader.

I knew he wasn’t just going to free the reds but the way he snuck out to see what things in the kingdom were like and the way he really seemed to want to fight for his country I though he seemed like he was going to be a more promising leader than his father and be the first steps to change. So I was really shocked at how quickly Maven was able to convince Mare that he was 100% her enemy. Now in hindsight, I guess it was all just part of his manipulation. Now in the end I did think that Maven did care about Mare a little bit in some way. He did say he could save her and make Mare his Red Queen and I can’t tell if it’s because he does feel something for her or if it was just one more way he has to beat his brother by winning the girl in the end.

So the big reveal in the end is that Maven is evil. And the entire book we are reminded that anyone can betray anyone over and over and I was suspicious that it was going to be Julian who betrayed Mare. But he was right. Maven was his mother’s son and it was him. I was a little suspicious after the attack during the ball how the Queen wouldn’t be able to figure out it was Mare and Maven since she can slip into people’s minds so easily and it’s not like Mare wasn’t thinking about it. Now I’m not sure how I feel about the end and I think that’s where this book lost one of it’s stars for me. It was just so chaotic and I would have liked Mare to continue operating inside as an agent. Also I think where it really lost a star was the idea that she was going to convince Cal to walk them into the throne room and they were going to have a peaceful surrender all because Cal loved her. Now we know that Maven never meant for that idea to work but still.

Now like I said earlier I had a nice “I KNEW IT” moment on the train when Shade comes back. I actually had to reread the sentence before it when Kilorn steps forward about 3 times because I had assumed that’s whose lap her head was in but it made sense after the big reveal. As for Cal, I’m unsure what’s going to happen with him but he is my ship with Mare. I think I need some character development from him where he’s not just the good solider following orders but starts to get some of his own ideas but I do want him on the throne in the end with a red queen (hint hint title).

All in all a good book. I liked it a lot and will definitely read the next one and I’m sure the series will only get better. My only hope is that the second doesn’t fall into the “second book stereotypes” where our OTP will fight and “break up” or leave each other for a while and then romantic option number 2 (kilorn) will swoop in and be our romance for the entire story.

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