“What I need and what I want are two very different things.”
Not too long before I read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, I started hearing about the third one in the series: King’s Cage. My Twitter feed was almost flooded with mentions about it, and so I decided to look into what it was about.
Red Queen is a dystopian fiction novel where the world is split into two “classes,” termed Reds and Silvers. The Silvers are the ruling class and the Reds are seen as inferior by the vast majority of Silvers. They can order Reds out to the front of a serious war. To top it all off, Silvers usually have some sort of power, like over fire or metal.
The main character, Mare, is a Red…who one day begins to display powers thought to be exclusive to Silvers. Some Silvers, scared of what this might mean, paint her as a lost Silver princess and integrate her into court. This is where the story begins.
There are two significant things I love about Red Queen. The first is the genre—even though some may say dystopian fiction is a saturated market, and though sometimes I tend to agree with that statement, I also really like reading dystopian fiction. The premise set out in this book is also an intriguing one, even amidst the plethora of dystopian fiction.
The other part of this book I really enjoy is the political nature. The moves and countermoves by all characters are interesting both in their face value (what they appear to be and why) as well as what the hidden intentions are. They are definite mind games, particularly in a dystopian setting and for my money—they are intriguing. In the case of Red Queen, I found a hook even before I started reading the novel.
That said, there are some things I am not quite fond of in Red Queen. In certain cases I felt the writing was either overly simple to just seemed…trite? I do not know if that is the best word to use here, but I felt like things were not up to the level I believe they could be. Some may say this could be down to Red Queen being a young adult novel rather than an adult novel, but I do not believe this is the reason behind it. I have read many young adult novels with high quality prose where I did not feel this was an issue—not even remotely. The fact it even came up in Red Queen bothers me.
I also felt as if there are certain parts of the storyline that could become problematic in my mind, in the sense that they would not seem believable to me. I can see potential for an unbelievable love triangle or even a possible Mary-Sue issue.
Even though these things have bothered me, I still enjoyed reading Red Queen. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series—and hopefully the final one as well. I would recommend you read this one if you like dystopian fiction and/or young adult fiction.
Let me know if you have read it or have decided to do so because of the review in the comments. I also encourage discussion about the book. To get started, here’s one thing to ponder: If you had a power like Mare, what would you want? Any interesting observations while reading?
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard