Tuesday, February 3, 2015

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

Firstly, thanks to Hachette Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: January 30 - February 1 2015
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy
My rating: 

"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?"


“I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.”

I almost didn’t request Red Queen. Almost. But at the last minute I decided to click the request button. You guy this is one of the best debuts I’ve ever read and Aveyard has set the benchmark high for 2015 debuts! And 2015 releases altogether really.

When I saw that beautiful cover I was intrigued. It’s beautiful yet macabre and haunting at the same time. I’ve been tricked by gorgeous covers before (a le The Selection), and by raving reviews with gorgeous covers (queue The Winner’s Curse) so I was hesitant with Red Queen. I proceeded with caution. This had the grittiness The Selection lacked and the climbing crescendo of a plot The Winner’s Curse failed to achieve.

I know, I know, why am I comparing Red Queen to other books in a review? I don’t usually do this but Red Queen actually seemed like familiar territory – it’s got elements of a lot of books I’ve read. I couldn’t help but compare this to The Selection – the impoverished girl suddenly thrust into the world of royalty; The Winner’s Curse – a ploy that was waiting to be executed, all the while the characters are all on a knife’s edge; Shadow & Bone – a common girl suddenly finding that she has powers… AND HEROES/X-MEN if the situation were flipped because SUPERPOWERS (so sort of like Shatter Me).

“You are no match for us. We are your betters. We are gods.”

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I started Red Queen. I think because of the hype I actually lowered my expectations considerably and thought this might be a fluffy dystopian. I have never been more glad to be proven wrong! This is anything but fluffy. The world of Reds and Silvers isn’t just a term to separate the elitist born of money and nobility. This is a world where Silvers are gods because they have POWERS. They freaking BLEED a different colour to us red-blooded humans. WTF right? It’s so cool! But at the same time it’s not because the Reds are treated like trash, they’re enslaved and beaten down on by the Silvers. And they can’t do anything about it because what’s a human to do but cower when your enemy can enter your mind and control you, burn you alive, drown you on the spot or use any metal and turn them into knives to pierce your heart? A rebellion is not so simple after all. Especially when all the Reds are basically being conscripted to fight a war with a nation in the same situation of Reds and Silvers.

“Their Silver war is being paid for in Red blood.”

Enter Mare Barrows a Red who finds herself in the unlikely situation of having her own power! *Jumps up and down in glee* The royals pretend to make her one of their own and she’s thrown into their world and a lot of shit goes down.

“At least you knew this was coming. I woke up with morning and didn’t even have a boyfriend.”

And so begins the game of the nobility where Mare is thrust into a dangerous world where Silvers all have their own secrets and nobody is who they seem. This book is filled with action-packed scenes and Aveyard doesn’t hold back on the fighting, I felt like I was watching an episode of Heroes I swear!

“One girl, barely twelve years old, explodes everything she touches like some kind of walking bomb.”

“Evangeline answers with a flurry of metal shards, all of them sharp and deadly, pointed at my heart as they rip through the air.”

I’ll admit I predicted how the book would turn out but the way it was executed was fabulous. Everything was believable, Mare relatable, most of the characters layered in their own ways. Sure there were some stereotypical characters but in light of all that was going on I could overlook the tropes.

Aveyard’s writing is entrancing and she pulled me right into this dystopia of a fantasy world. I loved how this wasn’t a post-apocalyptic US or some actual country, but it’s a completely made up world with altered technology like airships in addition to trains. What made this so believable was the way things were presented. Living in the poor Red Stilts, Mare hasn’t seen much so the first time she sees a giraffe (I’m pretty sure it’s a giraffe) she describes it as having an extremely long neck and not saying the name of the animal because she doesn’t know it! She describes a lot of things and that really gave the impression of a world where the Reds really were isolated from things. Much real. Much believe. SHOWING NOT TELLING = WIN.

“A little girl… feeds tiny bits of apple to a spotted, horse-like creature with an impossibly long neck.”

I can’t say much more without giving anything away but the two princes Cal (the crown prince) and Maven, are extremely enigmatic, intriguing, sweet, tortured and whew. But don’t expect this to be romance heavy, Mare’s got a head on her shoulders and she uses it. She knows her cause and what she aims to do and she never lets herself waver from that. I loved her determination and her belief in the future she wanted.

“I must do everything I can until my blood is matched and my game is over.”

Red Queen had everything I wanted in a sci-fi/fantasy: a relatable heroine whose resolve never wavered, superpowers accentuated with fantastic action-packed fight scenes, hidden motives, a driven plot, bloodshed and girl power! The divide is not in gender, but in blood and what power each Silver possesses. Thus, one Red has the power to match the Silvers and tip the scales.

“And we will rise up, Red as the dawn.”


  1. I ended up really enjoying this one too! I texted you about it being really similar to a lot of other books meshed together remember, but that was when I was still on the first half of the book. Then the second half happened and I was blown away by how well Aveyard took the similar cliched tropes and made it BETTER. So much better! Such a great debut, I can't wait to read more!

    1. I liked that it was similar to other books because I could say "oh yeah she did this differently and she did it well". I enjoyed this so much and I loved the direction it's taken!

  2. I've been a bit iffy about this one because of how similar it sounds to other books I've read plus I've heard mixed things about it. That didn't stop me requesting it though. I'm glad you liked it and I can only hope I enjoyed it as much as you did!

    1. I stayed away from all the reviews but then I saw ppl talking about how good it was so I had to try it out haha. I had no idea what I was getting into which is why I was so pleasantly surprised. I hope you enjoy it Bec :)

  3. I'm pleased you enjoyed Red Queen, Jaz! It didn't work as well for me, but I definitely see the potential for other people to love it. I'm a little curious about what will happen next to Mare.

    1. Ohhhh yes that ending right? I can't wait to see where this goes!

  4. I’m glad you liked this book, I’ve seen a lot of hype around it and have been looking to pick it up when it comes out. Your review is just fabulous and points out all the things that make me love a book. Thanks for the awesome rec!

    1. YAY KATIE! I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it :)

  5. Hype is a scary thing, isn't it??? I've ruined so many books for myself because I've built them up so much in my head. So maybe I'll go in with slightly lowered expectations and I'll enjoy it :D

    1. I totally agree. Hype totally ruins books for me and it's let me down so many times. I think the trick is to always go in with lowered expectations now because we all have different tastes.