Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: While Young Adult novels about dark dystopian futures in which a plucky heroine takes on the system seem to be all the rage, Red Queen grows from these roots to become something dark, gripping, and surprisingly thought provoking.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 9781409155843

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Mare is a Red - a race kept in lives of poverty and servitude by the Silvers, a race with wealth and mutant powers that allow them to live lives of luxury. Learning to survive amongst the slum like conditions that the Reds inhabit, Mare is swiftly thrown into the world of the Silvers - one that proves to be more dangerous than she had ever imagined, with treachery, plots and deadly games lurking round every corner.

I should start by admitting that I am a huge X-Men fan. Huge. When I read the advance publicity for this book, suggesting that it was The Hunger Games combined with the X-Men, I was understandably rather excited, and looked forward to a good read. Initially, I was rather disappointed - I'll admit that I haven't read a huge amount of Young Adult fiction, but the first few chapters felt far too similar to The Hunger Games - a rebellious young girl is thrown from her rather downtrodden life into that of the high society, where she is immediately thrown into an arena to fight...

But, things do get very interesting indeed from then on out, and we launch into a book far darker than many young adult books - people die, regularly, and our heroes often play a large part in the deaths, even if they are sometimes unwitting. Mare is a strong lead character - independent, clever and thoughtful, and different enough from the Katniss Everdeens or Tris Priors to really stand out as a character in her own right.

As for the love story that seems fated to always appear in such books? Here it is mentioned fleetingly, despite Mare having to choose between the affections of two (possibly three) different suitors. And a large decision in this factor is made for her at the end of the book - in a final quarter that truly grips, shocks, and surprises throughout.

For those used to the fast pace of young adult books, this may feel rather slow at times. However, Victoria Aveyard is a genuinely good writer, and the slow pace of parts is often due to her skill at worldbuilding and drawing characters. The uneven pace of the first few chapters leads into a dark, twisting book that grips and surprises the reader, and in the short length of the book, the world and characters are built with such excellent detail that one becomes truly invested in them, and to where their stories will end.

I only had a few niggles - a little more information on the history of the royal family would have been good, particularly that of the first Queen, but I imagine that will follow in future books. Additionally, an explanation as to how these families have powers would have been very welcome, but ultimately wasn't wholly necessary.

A special mention should be reserved for the cover of the book - a beautiful and chilling design that captures the themes of the book in one fell swoop.

I'm intrigued to see where this trilogy will go - this book ends in such a dark manner that I wonder quite how badly things will continue for Mare and her companions. I'm certainly excited to find out.

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy

Well, there's no doubt that there are similarities between Red Queen and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - both are action-packed and go to very dark places that one may not initially expect from young adult fiction. We think you'll also enjoy King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard.

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Buy Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard at


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