It’s been a while since my previous book review, so I’m excited to share this Red Queen book review with you.
Let’s get started. *Spoilers ahead.*
Red Queen – Summary
The world is divided into people with Red blood, and people with Silver blood. The Red-blooded are peasants, slaves. The Silver blooded are royalty, and they possess certain superpowers, mainly controlling the elements: fire, water, metal, etc., or mind reading and mind control.
The protagonist, Mare Barrow, a peasant-born Red, discovers that she also has such superpowers.
So she is a Red with Silver abilities.
She discovers her powers by mistake, in front of a large Silver audience, causing panic and confusion. Then the royal family lies to everybody that Mare is actually Silver, not Red, to keep everything under control. And they force her to get engaged with their youngest son. In fact, she does not seem to be forced at all. She just kind of raises her shoulders and accepts it. “These evil bastards, they’re taking me from the dusty roads and making me a princess. Damn it. Eh, whatever, I’ll just go with it.” Or at least that’s how I felt about it.
The book tells the story of how she allies with a Red resistance group to destroy the Silvers from the inside. Of course, something will go wrong in the end. There will be an unexpected plot twist at some point. There’s also a love triangle in there, one that involves two hot brothers. Like, literally hot.
Now let’s move on to the actual review.
Red Queen Book Review
I have discovered Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard on TikTok, among the multitude of YA books recommendation videos. So I thought I’d give it a try. I am not necessarily a fan of this type of fantasy book, with princesses, royalty, and war, but I felt the need to get out of my comfort zone.
My first impression… was not very good. Let me tell you why.
The writing style is so plain and flavorless! Simple words and sentences, no depth, bland descriptions, and poorly developed scenes and dialogue. It felt like a high school writing exercise. Bad news: this doesn’t change until the very end of the book.
The world is very complex but poorly described. There are also quite a few childish descriptions of buildings and locations. And the biggest issue is that, even though there is a multitude of Silver families and abilities, a lot of buildings and places, that require detailed descriptions, the author skips that step. She just mentions the name and a short and unsatisfying description. For me, it wasn’t enough. I think taking the time to better immerse the reader into that world would have been a huge plus.
Moreover, the conflicts are childish and cliché. However, judging by the fact that this is the first book, and series, for Victoria Aveyard, I’ll say she did a good job.
I will add a small disclaimer: I have not read the original English version of the book. I have read the Romanian translation. So this may play a role in my opinion on the writing style. However, I have seen reviews on Goodreads stating bad things about the writing, so I assume the issue is not with the translation. End of disclaimer.
Now, bear with me, good things are coming as well!
So many things happen in this book! It is full of action. On the other hand, the action is quite rushed and shallow. It is great that a lot is happening, but the time frame for each major event is way too short. I believe taking more time to focus on the writing, on the descriptions, and better presenting the characters’ emotions would have made the difference between a 3⭐ and a 5⭐. It was pretty difficult for me to get through the first chapters, because of the shallow, “beginner style” writing. I was just skimming through the pages. Until… something happened.
The book finally got me hooked. Because of the plot, and the dense action, I just couldn’t stop reading. Even though the writing was bad, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to know where it all goes.
I will not get into more detail about the plot itself, as I do not want this to become a book summary. But I will tell you that I was intrigued. That is why I have also ordered the second volume of the series, before even finishing the first one.
The first thing that I have noticed about the protagonist, Mare, is that she says a lot of stupid things. I mean, I get that she is not a real princess, but she should definitely learn to keep her mouth shut sometimes. Especially in front of the Silver Queen, and her guards.
Mare’s personality is a combination between a damsel in distress and a badass who allies with the enemies to bring freedom to the Reds. But this makes me feel like she wouldn’t be the one to come up with the idea of a riot, or join one. She seems a bit too fragile. But we’ll get over it.
Now let’s move on to the love triangle.
The love story between Mare and Cal, the older prince, is very poorly developed. They just exchange some glances and a few sentences throughout the book. And then, one night, all of a sudden, they kiss. As if they have actually had a proper context to fall in love with each other all this time.
However, there is some tension buildup here and there, which is great. Especially when the third part of the love triangle comes in.
I liked Mare’s relationship with Cal’s brother, Maven, more. The author did a pretty good job at describing Maven as shy but decisive. I liked the character, and I liked the evolution of their couple relationship. Too bad he eventually betrays her, changing instantly from the “good kid” to a heartless and arrogant bastard. Which was quite a sharp and unpleasant transition. It would have been better if it had a little more description, especially about Maven’s motives. However, even though this plot twist was poorly presented, it was kind of unexpected, which I appreciate.
Red Queen Book Review – Conclusions
Final grade: 7/10.
Now, even though this Red Queen book review seems to be rather on the dark side, I will give this book a 7/10. It is not the best I’ve ever read, but it is manageable. And a lot of people like it, from what I have seen on Goodreads.
Do I recommend it?
If you have some extra time, sure, you could give it a try. You might like it. It is a pretty chill and interesting read that reminded me of my early reading days. It is a standard YA book.
In case you’re interested, you can find other book reviews in the dedicated section here on the blog. The only other one I have so far is the Coco Chanel book review, which many of you enjoyed. That one is a bit controversial as well.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I post more quick reviews (and fashion posts) over there, so go ahead and check that out. “Smash that Follow button”, as the saying goes.
I’ll see you there,