ARC Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

January 20, 2015 Review 70 ★★★

ARC Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.


I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


When I first saw this book and read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. RED QUEEN is certainly not without faults, but I found it to be relatively entertaining and was especially pleased by the twist towards the end. The last fifteen percent or so changed my opinion of the book, as I was not too fond of it until then.

“I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.”

World Building: Okay..? The overall concept of the story is interesting and kept me reading, a lot of thought obviously went into it. There is world-building, but it’s not incredibly fleshed out. If you want to know anything and everything about how their world works, this one might bother you. If you are more of the “Go with the flow” type, it’s not bad.

Romance: Not So Good. Love triangle…square? I’m still not entirely sure. This only bothered me in the aspect that Mare was so wishy-washy with the boys. I felt like she was constantly saying “I just don’t know” in regards to her feelings about them at one moment and then the next she is kissing them. Oh, and don’t forget the randomly sprinkled in moments where she despises them. What the heck, Mare?

Heroine: Poor. Not only does she make bad decisions when it comes to love, she also makes terrible choices when it comes to almost every other aspect of her life. She never thinks things through, and while I understand her situation it would have been nice to see her mature and think about her choices towards the end of the book. I guess my point is: character development, stat!

Of course, there are positives because I did end up liking the book. The writing is nice, which makes for some pretty great quotes. Secondary characters are well developed, they all have their own personalities and motives, some of which may come as a surprise when it all goes down in the last fifty or so pages. Plus the story itself was entertaining, which kept me reading.

Overall, RED QUEEN provides a backbone for the next books in the series. Is it a strong support? Maybe not, but I do think this series has potential and I hope to see some improvement in the sequel.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.9

70 Responses to “ARC Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard”

  1. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    Nice review, Alise!
    I feel the same about this book as you. It had a potential but unfortunatelly I ended up not liking it. My biggest issues were with weak world-building (I am one of those who wants to know everything about new fantasy world) and I also with extra immature/annoying romance. I am not very interested in reading sequel at this point to be honest…
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…ARC REVIEW: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    • Alise

      Thank you!
      I completely understand, good world-building is a must have when it comes to fantasy novels. Especially in this book where so much is built off the history it’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of it. I’m hoping the next book will have more action and less romance.

    • Alise

      Baha! Yeah, I’m still not quite sure because she definitely had feelings for three guys at one point or another, even if that does change. Sporadically. “When Romance Becomes Shapes” xD

    • Alise

      Me too, me too. I was really excited for it. The romance and the main character’s feelings were all over the place.

      It definitely does, I’m hoping to see improvement in the sequel.

  2. Rosie

    I’m reading this book at the moment and I can’t really figure out how I feel about it. Some bits are good and some bits are a bit meh, plus it keeps reminding me of The Selection. I’m about half way through and mostly I’m intrigued to find out what happens with Maven, I connect to him much more than Mare.
    Rosie recently posted…Your bright places & All The Bright Places* review

    • Alise

      I get that, there were parts where I couldn’t stop reading but others I HAD to stop reading. Maven was my favorite character, I’m reallllly wondering what you will think of him after you finish the book ;)

  3. Sara L.

    This piqued my interest mostly because a LOT of bloggers seem super-excited about the book. But now… I might have to read a few more reviews before I decide if I’ve interested in reading it after all. I’m not a fan of indecisive protagonists myself. :/ Nice review, though.
    Sara L. recently posted…Chronicling The Craft: 105,000 & 110,000 Words

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I’m happy you ended up enjoying this one, despite it’s issues. It’s a shame the MC was so…underwhelming though. Sometimes not relating to the main character ruins a book for me. Crossing my fingers that I’m able to put that aside as you did and enjoy the rest – when I finally get around to reading it. The lackluster romance and world-building are worrisome too…gah! I hate it when you get all hyped up for a book and it ends up being a bit of a letdown :( Thanks for the lovely review all the same Alise^^ ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: Owl & the Japanese Circus

    • Alise

      I agree, I prefer character driven novels so I like them to be easy to relate to and well fleshed out. I’m really curious about what you will think of the romance! You will have to let me know when/if you read this one! Sure, thank you! :D

  5. Andreea

    Hmm, I have this book on my wish list and I want to read it because it does sound intriguing. Too bad you didn’t like it more.

    • Alise

      I think you might like this as it doesn’t focus on too many fantasy elements but rather more contemporary ones!

  6. Naban

    UGH, sounds like another bad case of wasted potential. I was so excited for this novel but gimme a break, a weak storyline topped off with a love square? Nuh uh.

    I don’t know if I want to read this, because it sounds like something I would hate. But I think I will try it out some time, nevertheless. Great review!
    Naban recently posted…Typos in Books

    • Alise

      Unfortunately. This one has more similarities to a contemporary novel than a fantasy. I would say to try it, a lot of people loved it! Thank you :)

  7. Molly Mortensen

    I know how you feel about the end making the book all that much better. This happened last year with me and The Iron Trial. That’s sad that there isn’t more world building. This sounded like such a good world. A love square too? And a stupid heroine. This was at the top of my list, but I don’t feel so bad about not getting an arc now. I still want to read it though.
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Generation V, Iron Night, and Tainted Blood by ML Brennan

    • Alise

      I haven’t read that book yet but will have to keep that in mind! Oh, it could be an absolutely fantastic world if it was fleshed out more, which is a shame. Maybe in the next book? Yeah I would still give it a try, you never know!

  8. Kat Stark

    So weird, I’ve seen so many good reviews for this one. It’s good to see that the hype isn’t as big as I thought. I’m not one for crappy romance or a poor heroine, but I still plan on reading out of curiosity of what made this a positive read for you (regarding the story and whatnot)
    Kat Stark recently posted…Review: Blood Crown by Ali Cross

    • Alise

      So have I, the negative ones aren’t very common. Yeah, if anything, you can adjust your expectations, I was caught up in the hype too. The writing really is nice, and I always wanted to keep reading. If you read this one, let me know! :)

  9. Kelly

    Aww, sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this a little more, but I can certainly see why you had a few issues with it, especially if you couldn’t get into the storyline until later in the book. I read this one late last year and absolutely loved it! The only issue I really had with it was the romance as well, how she pin balled between the three. It felt uncomfortable and added excess drama that it really didn’t need.

    Awesome review poppet, hopefully book two appeals to you even more so.
    Kelly recently posted…Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

    • Alise

      Me too, I just read your review and wish I could have liked it more! My main issue was the romance as well. I’m wondering where the romance will go in the next book after that twist in the end!

      Thank you :3

    • Alise

      Aha, isn’t it funny how there is almost a sixth sense to that stuff sometimes? Although mine is usually wrong, ha!

  10. Kaina

    So bummed to hear that there were some parts that weren’t too good about this book. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it and with all the hype its been getting I have really high expectations. Also, the fact that the heroine is indecisive when it comes to love interest is making me seriously wary, if theres something I can’t stand its that. America from the Selection drove me insane and that was with only two guys. But, Red Queen has such a good premise that I have to read it, and just look at that cover. Great review!
    Kaina recently posted…The Reader Diaries: My Favorite BrOTP’s

    • Alise

      I totally agree, that synopsis and the hype drew me in as well. This is one that I think you just have to read and decide for yourself, there are a lot of varying opinions. Aha, yeah, that cover is really pretty. Thank you! :)

    • Alise

      That’s what I’m thinking too, it’s just one of those you probably have to read for yourself to decide.

      Thank you! :D

    • Alise

      Looks like we had the same feelings for the most part then! Yes-the writing! Huge positive. The boys, not so much.

  11. Wattle

    I am quite intrigued by the concept of a love square…it sounds absolutely maddening lol

    I’m sorry this wasn’t as awesome as it seemed like it was going to be :( but showing promise is a good thing, hopefully it’s the type of series that gets better as it goes along.
    Wattle recently posted…Book Review: Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

    • Alise

      Baha xD It was definitely an… interesting experience. I felt tired and I wasn’t even the MC!

      That’s true! I do have hopes for the next one.

  12. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    I’m actually lets see….75% of the way through. I fell asleep reading it last night. Is it just me or did you really love the first chunk BEFORE all the romance stuff started? Anyways I was really enjoying things until the weird triangle quadrangle thing started to really surface. I thought there would be more time before that sort of thing happened but ehh…I still like it but I’m sad that I ate through the first 30 – 40% like it was crack and now I’m so slowed down.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

    • Alise

      “…did you really love the first chunk BEFORE all the romance stuff started?” THIS. Now that I’m thinking of it, I completely agree. The romance really did bring the book down, too many sides to this shape LOL

    • Alise

      That’s what I thought too, there were definitely some pieces that reminded me of other books. I would definitely recommend finishing it, I was really pleased with the twists.

  13. tonyalee

    I think my favorite thing about this book was the ending! Not because it was over – but because it was so action packed and twisty. Anyway, I agree with you on the romance. It was poorly done and it was a MAJOR part of the book. Ya know?

    • Alise

      Same for me! I didn’t see any of that coming at all, I really liked that. For sure, it seemed like the main plot for awhile.

  14. Rashika

    Being a big fan of Fantasy, it makes me sad to hear that the world building wasn’t as fleshed out as it could be. That always sucks in books but what more, fantasy is kind of known for it’s world building so it’s disappointing when that aspect isn’t done as well as it could have been.

    I actually heard about the weird love triangle situation but I kind of brushed it off but now I am slightly worried. One of my friends did read and love the book though and hates love triangles as much as I do so…. I think it won’t bother me as much??? Idk :P

    I am glad that you were able to enjoy this book though, Alise! :)

    Lovely review! :)
    Rashika recently posted…Potato Awards 2014 + GIVEAWAY!

    • Alise

      I completely agree, fantasy novels can always benefit from a well fleshed out world.

      Some people don’t mind the romance, I’m thinking that’s because of certain elements and twists that come into play but I didn’t like how the MC just kept bouncing back and forth with her feelings, it was so tiring. I want to know what you would think of it for sure! :)

      Thank you :DD

  15. A Canadian Girl

    Although your rating for this one is lower than mine, Alise, your thoughts pretty much echo mine. The worldbuilding definitely needs to be fleshed out more and Mare needs to settle on one guy, but the story was entertaining and the ending was really good.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

  16. Ebony @ Daring Damsels

    Thanks for a lovely and well thought-out review, Alise! I’ve been disappointed by quite a few of the reviews that have been popping up for Red Queen – I feel as though it held such promise. However, it does sound as though it’s a solid start to a trilogy, so I’ll have to check it out sooner than later.
    Ebony @ Daring Damsels recently posted…A Reading Update

    • Alise

      Sure! :D I was really excited for it too. When I first read it the reviews were all positive so I had even higher expectations. Yeah!

  17. Kirsty-Marie

    If I actually finished this one, by rating would probably be the same. I am one that can go with the flow with world-building, but nope, this definitely needed it. Wouldn’t have bothered me too much if there was anything else to like, couldn’t stand Mare, annoyed me most of the time, then I just got bored of all of it, especially when it was, one love interest, two love interests, three love interests…DNF.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award (Part 2)

  18. Jess @My Reading Dress

    Totally agree with the world building point. Not crazy detailed but not under detailed either. It’s a shame you didn’t go crazy over it, but hey, at least the last bit or so won you over! It was an extremely hooking storyline, I must say. I, for one, could not put it down. I hope book two impresses you more! Lovely review, Alise! x
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Red Queen #1: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    • Alise

      Yeah, it was in-between which I think it probably the best option now because people prefer different things. I know my friend can’t stand too much backstory from a world. I wanted to love it a lot more, I’m hoping that from the second book too! Thank you! :)

  19. Alise

    I’d be really curious to see what you think of it since you are kind of an expert in fantasy ;) Totally agree, I’ve read a few endings that blew me away which led to me raising the rating.

  20. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Oh yeah, the world building definitely needs improvement. I feel like it was so basic, and the plot is very similar with other dystopian/fantasy books. I thought this book isn’t bad, but has lots of room for improvements. I think I gave it a 3.5 stars. I also didn’t like how it lacked character development. There were some good quotes, but since it kept being repeated, it sounded corny and lame after a while (i.e. the revolution slogan). I’ll still read the sequel though but I don’t think it’ll be on top of my tbr pile. Great review Alise!

    • Alise

      It’s definitely basic, I feel like we just skimmed the top of what the world building could have been. Character development, yes. I feel the same. Thank you!

  21. Jessica @ Strung Out On Books

    I’ve read mostly glowing reviews of this book, so it was refreshing to hear some of the negatives. The blurb and cover have caught my interest, and all the positives make me want to read this, but I’m not sure if it’s worth bumping it up to the top of my TBR. Lovely review and thanks for your honesty! :)

  22. Romi

    Oh no! I’m sorry that this didn’t work out better for you, Alise! I only just decided I wanted to read it, after reading a post that compiled a dozen or so incredibly intriguing and beautiful quotes from the book, and while I haven’t actually READ the synopsis yet, I hope it ends up being a really fantastic read. But… well Mare definitely does not sound how I imagined her to be, hard and decisive and possibly cold. Perhaps these are things I just imagined with no real evidence (I don’t even remember and it’s only been a week), but it is still a shock and I’m hoping desperately I don’t find her to be too annoying. Hope the sequel proves to be a hundred times better for you, Alise! Xx

  23. Alise

    No worries. Yeah, I did enjoy the writing in this one so it is no surprise that you liked some of the quotes. I wouldn’t describe Mare like that, although it would have been awesome if she was. Hope you like it! Thank you!

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