Review: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard


Author: Victoria Aveyard

Book: Red Queen

Book in series: book 1 in the RED QUEEN series


Publisher: Orion and HarperCollins

Release date: February 10th 2015

ISBN: 9780062310637

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.


It has been a long time since we have read a book that genuinely makes us swoon over the pages. A book that makes us want to turn every page faster and faster to find out what happens, but also savour every moment knowing that before long our journey with these characters will end. A one-of-a-kind book that makes us long for the ability to turn back time, just so that we can experience the first time reading it again and feel the first timer experience again – there’s nothing quite like it. It has been a long time here at Delve into Dystopia since we have read a book like that, which is why we were beyond excited when RED QUEEN turned out to be one of these books.
Now we can’t write this review without talking about Mare, our heroine. Gone are the days of weak heroines, or even the martyr-like figures which have started to become common in dystopias. Instead, a new age of flawed but brilliant protagonists is taking hold. Mare comes from a close knit family who live in a city of poverty. One of the things we loved was how she wasn’t from  dysfunctional family, which is another thing that has become too repetitive in this genre. Her poor background works really well as she is completely out of her element when she enters the Silver world, so we see how it challenges her.

Victoria Aveyard’s character development is really something to be in awe at. Mare is transformed into a completely different person from the beginning to the end, but thankfully she doesn’t loose the part of her that made us fall for her. This is something that is actually mentioned in the book which we liked as it made us feel like we were on the same wavelength as the characters. Lots of protagonists in these sorts of books can sometimes start acting or thinking in a way that sounds like a fully grown adult, maybe because of the author being an adult themselves. Luckily, Mare didn’t do this too often, however there were still times when we thought that she was having to grow up too fast. This may have been deliberate to show the effect that the society has on her, but it can make it harder to relate to Mare.

Normally in YA dystopias we find the whole obsession with love slightly irritating and love triangles even more so. RED QUEEN really surprised us with a very tasteful romance between Mare, Cal and Maven which (thankfully!) didn’t make us cringe once – this is always a good sign for us. Instead of the usual “heroine-needs-saving-and-is-torn-between-the-two-hot-guys-who-are-both-completely-and-utterly-in-love-with-her”

scenario, we instead see a steadily evolving friendship between them, that is

only slightly suggested to be something more. Also, the story is more focussed

on friendship and betrayal rather than love, and the romance aspect didn’t

take over the whole story, so it definitely stood out to us.

One of the things we really loved was how the

story was unpredictable for most of the book. We read a lot of dystopias and most of

the time it can be pretty easy to guess at what will happen, so when a book

like this keeps us in the dark, it really makes it memorable. Having said this,

there were times when we felt the story became quite rushed. This meant that

some of the new characters were dismissed into the background blur of the

story, whilst others merged into other existing characters. Also, there was a

obvious split between the characters; the good and the evil. Yes, some

characters did fall into both of these categories, but there was a lack of

middle ground between them, so we didn’t feel the complexity of characters that

we wanted.

As this book is about people possessing supernatural abilities, it made it slightly difficult to be able to relate the he characters as in the real world where we don’t actually have powers (that we know of…) This meant that at times the story became quite separated as we weren’t able to connect fully to the story. We would have liked to have seen more character development from some of the other characters such as Farley or her family, but it leaves room for the sequel to explore. Speaking of which, RED QUEEN paved the way brilliantly for GLASS SWORD with one of the biggest plot twists we have ever seen. We won’t be forgetting that one in a hurry. We genuinely cannot wait to share GLASS SWORD with you, it is definitely worth the wait. Our review for GLASS SWORD will be coming your way soon.Age recommendation – YA


  • Krystianna Straley 15/01/2016 at 9:03 pm

    I am so glad to see that you liked this one! I've been meaning to check it out but haven't yet. I've heard some people describe it as a fantasy and others as a dystopian, which is my favorite genre. Great review!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    • Delve into Dystopia 15/01/2016 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you so much. Yeah, it's a mix of dystopia and fantasy which works so well. Definitely recommend giving it a go – I'm sure you won't regret it!

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