Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

RedQueenRed Queen
By: Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: E-ARC
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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?

My Thoughts:
There was a substantial amount of hype surrounding this title and I think that lessoned my enjoyment. I went into this book with high expectations. I expected something epic, blood soaked and ultimately different than what I got. With that tiara dripping blood and the title, Red Queen, I imaged court politics, gruesome violence and an all out battle for power. Yes, that isn’t anything really like the summary. I should have not expected something based on the cover but it happens.

Red Queen played out like so many other dystopian books… heroine fighting for her life in an impoverished society only to realize she’s something more. I was still able to become immersed in the first section of the book because of the strong visuals and strong writing. Sadly, as the story progressed my enjoyment waned. I wasn’t at all impressed with the action sequences and felt that the god-like powers weren’t all that original.

I’ve got to mention the similarity I saw between this novel and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda

I think you can see just from the summaries that there are similarities between the two books. I felt that Red Queen veered off a good amount from this common plot but it did feel a bit like Red Rising light to me. Where Red Rising was brutal and incredibly detailed on its character development I felt that Red Queen sort of felt stunted. I didn’t connect with the characters and though a good amount happened to our lead I wasn’t ever to really gain an interest in her story.

There were hints of a love triangle for those sensitive to those…but it wasn’t too big of a deal. As for the romantic interests I never felt chemistry between either pairs. I think it all comes down to my disconnect with Mare. If I’d been able to have that I think the book would have worked so much better for me. From the early reviews I’ve seen this one is loved by many people so I seem to be in the minority.

Final Thoughts:
Sadly Red Queen was a disappointment to me because I was not able to connect or get invested in the main character’s story. I felt that this book didn’t bring anything all that new to the genre. I think it’ll be a hit for many readers because the writing was well done.


  1. says

    I was a bit disappointed with Red Queen. Because of the hype, I had high expectations as well. I did not like how it was a little bit of most dystopian books out there. It was like I was reading the same thing since the characters, the world, etc. was just recycled.

    • says

      Exactly Leigh! I didn’t feel like it brought anything new to the genre. Felt like a mash up of so much I’d read before 🙁 I went into it thinking I’d love it and really didn’t. I’m sorry you didn’t care for it either.

  2. says

    I had been looking forward to this one but am hearing a lot of mixed reviews of it. Might hold off a bit longer… Thanks for the great review!

  3. says

    Interesting comparison between this and Red Rising. I love the RR series so much and the second book is even better, so that makes me question reading this one a bit more. I completely know what you mean about expecting a lot because of all the praise you’ve seen. I’m sorry this didn’t deliver for you. For now, I’m mostly holding off because I’m avoiding all hints of love triangles. But this isn’t the first more critical review of this book I’ve seen. They actually help me lessen the hype a bit in my head and gain a little perspective – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • says

      I might have built it up too much? I don’t know. Nothing really felt all that original to me and honestly that doesn’t bother me all too much usually…but here I just didn’t love the characters. I didn’t ship anyone and just felt meh the majority of the time I read. I think going in expecting to feel meh will work out best.

    • says

      A lot of times books share similar themes and it works. I honestly don’t know if that was my major issue with this but my lack of connection to the MC really didn’t make it smooth reading 🙁

  4. says

    I felt like I was one of the people who helped drive hype for it. I absolutely loved it. Maybe when I read Red Rising, I’ll be like “THIS IS RED QUEEN’ even thought that one came out first. Aw, it’s too bad that you didn’t like it as much as you wanted to. hope your next read is better.

    • says

      I wish I’d loved it Nova. I’ve seen so many people that it worked for. It happens though–all books can’t work for all people. I hope you enjoy Red Rising! They are similar in some ways but very much different in others…especially tone and brutality.

  5. says

    Aw it’s such a shame that Red Queen didn’t do much for you, Kristen 🙁 I totally see why you were put off–especially by the similarity with Red Queen and Red Rising. I personally didn’t like the latter all that much and DNFed it so I couldn’t really draw these parallels.

    Nice review, girl! <33

  6. says

    YOU NO LIKE??? CREYS. It’s ok, I still adore you Kristen haha <33

    SO SO SO many people who've read Red Rising have been disappointed with this book? Could this be the underlying factor? I haven't read Brown yet so I adored this one to pieces. But I totally get where you're coming from. It's a shame it didn't work for you but I totally understand. Fantastic review, either way, Kristen! <3

    • says

      *sobs* I WANTED to Jess, I really did. I tried to love it but nope. I really think the Red Rising thing could be a factor. I don’t know that…I wonder if I’d not like it regardless.

  7. says

    Uh oh — I was so on the fence about reading this — something just told me it wasn’t going to be for me. Then I requested it, but I’m now wondering if I should have stuck with my initial decision. Well, I’ll go in with an open mind and no expectations. And I haven’t read Red Rising, so perhaps that will help.

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  8. says

    Such a shame it didn’t work for you 🙁 The synopsis sounded it’d be nothing short of amazing. I think I’ll give it a try though, because it still sounds appealing to me so I guess I’m gonna make my own opinion on it! But is it a dystopian? I was certain it was fantasy! 😀

    • says

      Most folks seem to like it Tari so don’t despair. I seem to be in the minority. I say if the summary sounds wonderful for you go for it! I hope you do and end up loving it.

  9. says

    Aw, sad face. I’m sorry you had such issues with this book Kristen 🙁 I’ve been worried about it ever since I heard about the almost triangle, lol. I’m worried I won’t like it 🙁 But I’m on the international blog tour in February. <3 so I must read it, lol. Someday very soon, I think. Crossing my fingers I'll enjoy it more, but I'm fearing I will be more like you. Eeek! But thank you for sharing and being honest sweetie. <3 You are amazing 🙂

    • says

      I’ll be curious to see what you think Carina. I read the e-arc so maybe that made it even worse for me? I don’t know. Let me know your thoughts!

  10. says

    Awe, so sad to hear that you were disappointed on this one! Alyssa also said that she felt there were some similarities between this one and Red Rising.
    I still haven’t decided if I’ll get this one once my book buying ban is lifted.

  11. says

    YOU AND ME BOTH. I think it was a bit of a sad Red Rising wannabe, to be honest, and that just made me lose interest after the first 100 or so pages. I felt like the hype was promising something UNIQUE and instead it felt cliche and like a story I’ve read a million times. 🙁

    • says

      It felt like Red Rising light meets The Jewel which just did not work for me at all. Yep, yep. We are feeling the same way about it Cait. So happy to not be alone.

  12. says

    Hmmm…..I am going to keep an open mind, but I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t heard a lot about this book, which kind of tells me that many people are feeling the way that you do.

    • says

      I seem to see some that absolutely LOVE it and then others that feel meh. I wonder if you’ll land in either camp. I’ll be curious if you decide to read it.

  13. says

    Oh no! So sorry you didn’t enjoy this much D: While I am generally quite allergic to love triangles, I’m tempted to try this out still since decent writing can generally still entertain me, haha. I have the eARC so I guess I’ll just see if I get to it, so many books to read!

  14. says

    NOOOO! I was so hoping that this would be amazing solely based off the cover as well, lol. I’ll just go ahead and put this one on the bottom of the list. This was an awesome review, btw. ☺

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