Author: Victoria Aveyard
\eleased: February 10th 2015
Warnings: Ownership/class system/slavery, abuse
Red Queen is the first novel in a series of the same name by Victoria Aveyard. I’ve been meaning to start this series for ages, but only now have I just gotten around to it (I know, bad me). It’s based in a fantasy world, where there are two types of people. The Reds, and the Silvers.
The reds are the beaten down class. They’re ordinary. Stepped upon by the Silvers, and treated like workers (and that’s best case scenario). They are also red blooded. The Silvers have access to abilities and magic. They own everything, live luxurious lives, and seem to enjoy stepping on the Reds. They also have silver blood. Hence the naming system.
Warnings: The Reds are essentially treated as slaves. They’re abused, put to death, and treated like garbage at every opportunity. They have minimal rights, limited access to resources, and are actively forced onto battlefields. It’s not a pleasant life, and sometimes the details can truly be heartbreaking.
Having waited too long to read this series, I can honestly tell you that so far, it’s been worth taking the time to actually sit down and read it. I loved the world, the characters, and the plot itself. It was everything I was looking for in a dystopian-esque fantasy.
The world established here is brutal. It’s impossible not to root for the reds. To root for change. But at the same time, Victoria Aveyard managed to hand us some sympathetic silvers. It’s an interesting balance, showing us how a situation can be so wrong, but that people can likewise be deluded.
I really enjoyed Mare’s story. At first I was worried it was going to be a bit of a special snowflake sort of scenario (and by that I mean one character who for no reason has all the abilities, attention, and other important factors), but that ended up not being the case at all. Mare is special, sure, but it seems like most of her circumstances were based on luck. Everything else she had to work for, or fight for.
The romantic subplot was unexpected, but appreciated. I don’t know if that plot will be dropped for the following novels, but I suspect not. If anything, it feels like it’ll grow more relevant with time.
I loved reading about all the plotting and scheming. Political stories like this are my favorite, so I was truly thrilled to see the intricacy of this plot. A lot of it became hard to predict. Hard – but not impossible. In the end it all made sense, which is one of the most important things for me. You can even look back and see the hints, if you’re feeling so inclined. Personally, I had a bad feeling through the whole novel, but it was never strong enough where I actively expected what happened.
The final scenes building up to the conclusion were so painfully brutal. For a few moments it felt like ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’ and that was hard to take. But the novel does give us more in the end. It gave us Mare fighting, for one thing. And it gave us a reason to hope in the second novel – I’ll take it.
I can’t believe I took this long to read Red Queen. Now that I have, I can’t wait to start reading Glass Sword. I know there are three parts set before Red Queen, but I feel like for now I should keep moving forward. If somebody is up to date in the series and thinks otherwise, please feel free to let me know! I’ll take any advice you guys have.