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Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard Is Not One To Miss

Red Queen, one of the most hyped books of 2015, still indeed in 2016, is undoubtedly the newest craze in the world of young adult literature. First published on the 10th February 2015, this book is still making waves on bookstagram and still drawing in new readers and re-readers. I absolutely hate hyped books, afraid to read them in case they fail to live up to expectations, but also afraid to miss out on something great. In the case of Red Queen, I regret to say that I missed out on something great.

Victoria Aveyard has created a world in which people are divided by their blood. Reds are seen as commoners and the Silvers rule. The latter are also born with superpowers, thus equality is nonexistent and most believe that it will remain that way forever. The story centres around Mare, a Red girl who is given the chance to work as a servant in the Silver Palace, but what at first seems like a great opportunity, turns into something of a nightMare (sorry, couldn’t resist).

It turns out that Mare is no ordinary Red. She has powers too, powers that the Silvers are very afraid of and confused about. Mare’s powers threaten to upset the balance of power in the Kingdom as a mutation in her blood has given her the same, if not more powerful, superpowers than the Silvers. Panicked, the Silvers turn her into a long-lost Silver princess, hiding her true heritage, but keeping her where they can see her.

Mare soon discovers the Scarlet Guard, a militant resistance group, and secretly joins them in their fight against the Silvers. Without knowing who she can really trust, Mare navigates the dangerous world of the Silvers, desperate to stay alive, but also desperate to bring down the Silver regime.

Red Queen has all the elements of a fantastic story, but what is most impressive about Aveyard’s storytelling is her ability to sustain the reader’s interest and the action throughout the entirety of her novel. You are drawn into the story of Reds and Silvers from the very beginning  and plot twists and surprises await you in every chapter.

There are no flat characters in this story and I found myself with strong feelings (whether love or hate) about each and every character, big or small. Although Mare is undoubtedly the protagonist there are countless other very important characters who are all very distinct in my mind and are all very well fleshed out. Every character in this story has a role to play and there are no moments when I thought that the author had included superfluous information for the sake of it.

There are elements of romance in this book but it is nowhere near as prominent as I thought it would be. I really liked this as it meant that characters were motivated by their own beliefs and passions, rather than just love. That is not to say that Aveyard doesn’t clearly set up a romance that will no doubt be of greater significance in the future. There are many threads in Red Queen that remain unresolved at the end of this book but not in a way that you feel that you have been cheated out of a proper ending. Instead, it leaves you hungry for more of this story.

From the get go this book had me gripped and I was convinced that it was soon to become one of my favourite YA series; however, one hundred pages from the end, disaster struck. Aveyard seemed to be taking the story in a direction that many other YA series have done before and I was disappointed that she had decided to use a worn out story line that I’d read countless times before. I was immediately saddened that so close to the end of this wonderful book, it had let me down, but fast forward another thirty pages and I was even more surprised. Aveyard ends this book with plot twist after plot twist and despite the fact that not all of these were entirely unforeseeable, they were excellently timed and excellently executed. My faith in both Victoria Aveyard and Red Queen was restored, and I teared my way to the end of this book.

Red Queen presents a completely new world to readers and combines interesting characters, a fast-paced plot and great storytelling. Whilst there are some elements of Red Queen that reminded me of bits from various other young adult series, I would still say that this story is unique and has never been told before. Red Queen does not just set scene for the rest of this series but it also jam packed with its own action. For people that are afraid to pick this book up because of all the hype surrounding it, do not fear, because Red Queen will most certainly not disappoint.

The sequel, Glass Sword, is released in February 2016. Check out my Glass Sword review here. A novella, Cruel Crown, is already available. 

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. Kacie Morgan
    16th January 2016 / 10:49 PM

    This sounds like a really interesting read, I bet I wouldn’t be able to put it down!

    • 18th January 2016 / 9:50 AM

      I bet you wouldn’t! Haven’t read a book that had me that gripped for ages – think it’s brought me out of my reading slump ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Tanya Brannan
    16th January 2016 / 11:50 PM

    Being 41 I don’t usually read youngadult fiction, however this seems really intriguing!! I might just give it a try xx

    • 26th February 2016 / 1:27 PM

      I think this one is good enough to interest an adult so if you’re ever on the lookout for something different, I’d recommend it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Beautyqueenuk
    17th January 2016 / 12:00 PM

    Not sure this is one for me, but it is clear from your review that it has you hooked x

  4. Teresa Bowen
    17th January 2016 / 12:02 PM

    This sounds interesting, I’ll add it to my Amazon wishlist so that I remember to treat myself when the TBR pile becomes a bit more manageable.

    • 18th January 2016 / 9:50 AM

      Oh the never ending TBR pile is a constant problem for me too! If you get the chance, this is well worth a read ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 17th January 2016 / 4:46 PM

    I still have not had a chance to read this yet and I am an avid reader! Need to pop it into my 2016 to read list .

    • Laura @ What's Hot?
      18th January 2016 / 9:50 AM

      Definitely do Ana! I think the film rights have also been sold so better to read it now ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Elizabeth
    17th January 2016 / 6:26 PM

    Sounds like a fantastic read! I will keep an eye out for this book next time I’m in town.

    • 12th February 2016 / 4:58 PM

      The sequel just came out too and I think this series will be turned into films too so now’s the time to read them!

  7. 17th January 2016 / 8:18 PM

    This sounds like such an interesting read, I do like the reading the odd YA fiction novel so I think I’ll pop this one on the wishlist. x

    • 12th February 2016 / 4:57 PM

      This is definitely one of the big YA releases of 2015 and the sequel has just come out so I’d definitely recommend it!

  8. Working Mum Blog
    17th January 2016 / 8:27 PM

    I don’t normally read novels but this one sounds really interesting! I will add this to my wishlist to read. Great review

    • 26th February 2016 / 1:26 PM

      Thanks! I hope you might read it one day as it’s quite exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 12th February 2016 / 4:58 PM

      It definitely is a unique story, which I find is pretty hard to come by these days!

  9. 19th January 2016 / 5:12 PM

    Sounds very interesting, I would like to read it. I like fast-paced plots and strong characters.

    • 12th February 2016 / 4:58 PM

      If you like strong characters you’ll love the main character Mare!

  10. 12th February 2016 / 5:02 PM

    sounds like a very interesting read indeed I have a pile of 8 books sat waiting to be red but I would look out for this in the future

    • 26th February 2016 / 1:31 PM

      It’s a very exciting story so I’d recommend it if you’re in the mood for that sort of book ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Sam Brez
    12th February 2016 / 8:02 PM

    I like the look of this book and would be something I would read.
    I’ve been looking for similar books to this so will be purchasing for sure.
    I read a chapter online when I first commented and was hooked.

    • 26th February 2016 / 1:28 PM

      Hope you get to finish the book off as the ending is what really gets you!

  12. 16th February 2016 / 3:18 PM

    I’m currently waiting for this from the library, I love this style of book so I can’t wait to move on to it.



    • 26th February 2016 / 1:27 PM

      Have you read this yet Victoria? Hope you managed to get it (and the sequel!)

      • 26th February 2016 / 1:43 PM

        I’m picking the first one up from the library tomorrow!

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