Red Queen

- Victoria Aveyard


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 hate First Friday.


not my cup of tea:
I am seriously hoping that Red Queen was so predictable in order to set up a series full of twists and surprises. Because there is not a single thing that happened in Red Queen that surprised me; from the moment Mare fell into the lightning, the entire book was set in stone. Aveyard did not buck convention in any way. Whenever something ‘big’ happened, I tried to convince myself that the most obvious next step wouldn’t follow. Unfortunately, I was always let down.

I’m still confused by this world. Is it fantasy? Dystopian? Sci-fi? We’ve got overpowered humans, mixed blood mutants, and… guns? There are these weird tech/dystopian moments with slums and factories and weapons that don’t belong in a world where humans have magic. Although, the magic is more like humans with superpowers. Whenever you start to feel settled into this world, someone pulls out a gun and confuses it. Just in time for a healer to place a hand on someone and bring them back from the brink of death. Until someone can’t use their ‘ability’ because it can only use existing elements? Wait, what? How does that work with healers or mind readers or people who teleport? Someone please explain this to me.

Love triangles are the worst. Love triangles involving siblings are even worse.
Love triangles where one person is honest and passed over for the person who is lying as part of a long con to overthrow the throne are not only predictable but so frustrating.
I get that this is YA, but it didn’t have to feel so juvenile. Don’t worry; we’re all set for another love triangle moving forward.
I can’t wait for Kilorn to get the Gale (from The Hunger Games) treatment. Wait, which book came first? I tried to give Aveyard the benefit of the doubt, but the entire Hunger Games series was published five years before Red Queen came out. Poor Gale, becoming the standard for first loves to be overthrown for rich, damaged boys who happen to be in the right place at the right time. I’m sure there’s an older reference for this trope, but as a noughties teen, Gale is mine.
I’m blaming love triangles for a lot of my issues with Red Queen, but if I’m being honest, Mare is truly the one to blame.

Mare is the definition of a flighty teenage girl. Even when her life is simple, she’s both proud and ashamed of providing for her family by stealing. She’s jealous of her sister but would never want to do what she does. She fights with Kilorn but also loves him but she can’t stand him. Throw in two princelings and watch her change her mind every chapter. Cal looks at her funny, so she goes running to Maven. Maven forgets to squeeze her hand every other second, so she’s back to Cal. Cal tries to help her, protects her family, and pays attention to her needs but not in the exact way she thinks she wants, so Maven it is. It felt like watching a tennis match. Add in her feelings about uprisings and the Scarlet Guard, and we’ve got something else flip-flopping every chapter. Thankfully, they explained how uneducated she is because she misses so many clues as to what’s going on around her. Then again, I swear there’s something in the water lowering everyone’s IQ because it takes literally no effort to convince others of what you want them to believe.
These Silvers are apparently watching her every move to discover her secrets, but they’re oblivious to the fact that she’s covered in paint and bleeds a different colour than they do.
And I’m sorry, but it needs to be said: for someone who has lived in poverty and abuse, Mare seems to forget this the moment she gets to a privileged position. She doesn’t speak to anyone besides those who can help her and never even learns her maids’ names. She manipulates those around her to do what she wants, even if it risks their lives. And then she doesn’t even have the decency to try to cover their tracks or protect them.
Not to mention the fact that she gets Lucas and Walsh (and likely many others I’ve forgotten) killed.
She’s blinded by her own fear and desires, and it makes her selfish and cold to anyone below her in this new hierarchy.

Am I setting myself up for disappointment by continuing this series? Probably. I don’t have much hope or see a lot of potential, but I’m not ready to give up on a series with so many high ratings and good reviews. I’ll give Glass Sword a fair shot, though it really sounds like a weird X-men rip-off. Considering how overpowered the Silvers already are, I can’t wait for the groundbreaking, revolutionary surprise that mixed red and silvers are even more powerful. I promise I’ll pretend to be surprised.



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