Book Review: RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

The inverted blood-soaked crown from the book RED QUEEN with the title below

Genre: Fantasy (& Dystopia)
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: Yes - first book


Cover for RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard. Inverted silver crown dripping blood above the titleThis 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 . . . 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I love this series, though it needs little introduction. Super powers, revolution, princes, betrayal. It plays on some of my favourite tropes (most crucially MC has unheard of magic powers and will challenge everything). The pacing is sublime and the world feels so real, all while the Silver loom menacingly.

This book is a fantasy but also a dystopia, set in a future America. It’s not all that obvious, unless you look at the map and recognise the outline of the East Coast. Most references/plays on names go straight over my head and I’ve relied on others to tell me which cities are which.

There’s futuristic/modern tech (plane, security cameras etc) but I’ve always thought of it as fantasy first, dystopia second, given the centrality of the Silver’s powers. I really like the blend of genres, and I’m trying to pick out the ‘real US’ on this reread (bet I’m missing most of it).

This is a rare book where I don’t mind – and actually enjoy – the different romance parings. Cal or Maven? The flame, or its shadow? (Yes, I know, and I’ve got a very firm opinion by the end). I like the tug of war throughout, and how it plays into the ending.

I think we all know by now about the twist (but just in case, I won’t say exactly what). It’s become a very common trope in YA fantasy, but when I first read RED QUEEN way back when (and thought it was standalone. Oops!) I did not see it coming. The twist took me clean off my feet and made me question a lot of other books I’d read. I suppose I’m just very trusting?

I’m so excited for this reread, and particularly being able to look back on the whole series, rather than just waiting for the next installment.

Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (this series):


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