Red Queen (Red Queen Series #1)

Red Queen (Red Queen Series #1)

4.5 275
by Victoria Aveyard

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Victoria Aveyard’s internationally beloved #1 New York Times bestseller is now in paperback!

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in


Victoria Aveyard’s internationally beloved #1 New York Times bestseller is now in paperback!

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. There, before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play 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 everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays the only certainty is betrayal.

This sweeping story of palace intrigue, class hierarchy, and deception will keep readers hurtling along, desperate to find out Mare’s fate. Her honesty and determination, quick wit, and no-holds-barred attitude will surely make readers fall in love with her.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
“A sizzling, imaginative thriller, where romance and revolution collide, where power and justice duel. It’s exhilarating. Compelling. Action-packed. Unputdownable.”
“A volatile world with a dynamic heroine.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“ [Aveyard] sets her audience up for a gaspworthy twist that reconfigures nearly every character’s role and leaves Mare with no one to trust but herself... This blend of fantasy and dystopia will be an unexpected and worthy addition to many genre fans’ reading list.”
Publishers Weekly
In the dystopian future of Aveyard’s debut, those who bleed red are the impoverished underclass, meant to serve silver-bloods who boast supernatural gifts that have helped them maintain control. But a rebellion is rising, and 17-year-old Red narrator Mare Barrow is the spark to ignite the Scarlet Guard’s cause after she discovers she can summon lightning from her fingertips. Aveyard is adept at describing Mare’s psychological struggle, forced to live as a captive among the royal family after her powers manifest ceremony to choose a future queen. Mare’s journey as reluctant poster child and mutant becomes as much about fighting for what is right as about untangling the deceit of the privileged upper echelons. There’s an unmistakable feeling of deja vu to this first installment in the Red Queen trilogy, which shares several plot points and similarities with the Hunger Games series, with more arenas for barbaric televised slaughter and honed survival skills swapped out for preternatural powers. Fortunately, Aveyard’s conclusion leaves the story poised to depart from this derivative setup. Ages 13–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Feb.)
VOYA, February 2015 (Vol. 37, No. 6) - Lynne Farrell Stover
Mare Molly Barrow—former pickpocket, future queen—is a member of the impoverished lower-class Reds. Her goal is to stay alive and help her family until, like her brothers before her, she is forced to fight in a war that has been going on for years under the direction of the privileged upper class, the Silvers. Feisty and impetuous, Mare soon finds herself entangled in an ill-fated rebellion to overthrow the current Silver monarchy. This leads to dangerous complications until it is discovered she, like the Silvers, has supernatural powers. This discovery results in a complicated conspiracy that leads to her engagement to Prince Maven. Political intrigue, explosive betrayals, and unlikely relationships follow as Mare learns that the much-repeated adage “Anyone can betray anyone” is painfully true. Written as a first-person narrative, this dystopian fantasy contains implausible characters and a predictable plot. What the author lacks in subtlety of character development and foreshadowing skills, however, she makes up for in fascinating world building. The reader can visualize the sad grayness and depressing dust of the Stilts, Mare’s village, and readily understand her desire to escape a dismal future. Hostile Summerton, polluted Gray Town, and spectacular Archeon, the home of the corrupt elite, all contribute to a complex and interesting setting. Readers will be intrigued by a world that reflects today’s troubling issues concerning ethnic inequality, unfair distribution of wealth, pollution, warfare, political corruption, and the frightening power of the media. Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow lives in a world where one's lot in life is determined by the color of one's blood. She was born a Red and has to make a living by pickpocketing and trying to dodge "the conscription" and being sent off to fight an ongoing war. Mare's resigned herself to the fact that she'll always serve the Silver, a genetically gifted group of people with supernatural abilities. A chance encounter with the prince causes Mare to suddenly find herself at the royal palace as a servant, where she discovers in front of everyone that she also has a unique gift. She is Red and Silver, and could be just the spark the Reds need to rise up against the oppressive Silvers. The king and queen quickly cover up Mare's anomaly by presenting her to the rest of the Silvers as a long-lost princess and betroth her to their second-born son. Now Mare is torn between playing the part of a Silver, and helping out the Scarlet Guard rebellion. The story has touches of the usual dystopian suspects. However, it's formulaic elements are far outweighed by the breakneck pace and engaging characters. There's a bit of teen romance, but luckily the characters are self-aware enough to realize its frivolity among the story's more important plot points. A solid debut from Aveyard and a welcome addition to the plethora of speculative teen lit.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family's income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare's best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn't long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises. An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Red Queen Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She currently splits her time between the East and West coasts. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies. You can visit her online at

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Red Queen 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 276 reviews.
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
Red Queen can be summed up in one word..... EPIC!! I absolutely adored this book.  What can I say to do this book justice! I think I'll start with some of my favourite things.  The world building was phenomenal. The idea that you are graded, basically, by the colour of your blood. There are the lowly Reds, they are the work force and masses of the world. They do the dirty work and are treated accordingly. Then you have the "mighty" Silvers. They are the elite, they have wealth and powers beyond measure. They treat any one under them with derision and don't care who they hurt. I loved the idea of this and how the colour of your blood matters. In a world saturated in books, it's rare enough you will find a truly unique and amazing world. Well Red Queen has it all!!  The Silvers powers were also amazing. Man, they had some cool powers!! Some could manipulate water, some electricity, some metal, some fire etc. Each family had a unique one and I loved seeing them in action.  Then we have the characters. Mare is a lowly Red but she has a fighters spirit and hates the Silvers. She is due to conscript to the army when she turns of age but when her best friend says he is to go soon, she decides that, enough is enough, and tries to buy them passage to anywhere other than where they are. By a twist of fate though, she ends up meeting someone who gets her a job in the palace. She thinks if she takes it she may be able to help her people. What she doesn't know is things come to light in ways she couldn't imagine and she is thrown into palace life. Mare was such a plucky girl but yet she is so naive at times and trusts too easy. All she wants is for a normal life but when you can't do anything for yourself and you are treated like dirt, it wears on you. She wants to do whats best, but at what cost??  We have 2 Princes, the Kings heir and favourite, Cal and his younger step brother and Mares rock during her time at the palace, Maven. Cal is like all future Kings and knows his own mind, he is strong, brave and idealistic, though maybe with the wrong ideals. Mare feels drawn to him and wants so much for him to help her, but can she trust him? Maven on the other hand is kind and nice to Mare all the time and will do anything to help her. She can't help but like his easy going and kind manner and ends up relying on him more and more. He is the brother living in the shadow of a greater brother and Mare feels for him.  Now, I suppose you could say that there is a love triangle in Red Queen, though Mares' feelings are plain for all to see, so I'm not sure if I can call it a love triangle! I normally hate them in books but because this is necessary to the story and Mare isn't torn between them, I didn't mind.  Now I could keep gushing about the book but I better wrap it up!! Lol. Red Queen is one of those books that you want to read for the first time again. It blew me away and I'm impatiently awaiting the next one. There is so much in this book to love. It is action packed, unique, full of twits and turns and with gasp out loud moments. Believe me, I gasped at a certain part because I was fooled too!! The Queen is the epitome of Evil and very very cunning. There is so much you don't see till it's too late, that I was left reeling. It's a unique and captivating read and one that will stay with me forever. Those characters stole a piece of my heart and I need book 2 like yesterday. What else can I say about this magnificent piece of writing other that, go buy it now!!! 
book4children More than 1 year ago
It was okay. I can't decide if my feelings on this book are mixed or simply non-existent. The concept was interesting, but I've read this same story before in other YA books. Red Queen didn't bring anything new to the table and I'm tired of angry, outspoken protagonists. I didn't connect with the characters, and none of the twists managed to surprise me. I almost quit reading several times, but I'm glad I didn't because the second half of the book was much better than the first. Even though this book was predictable, it still managed to keep me turning pages. If you haven't read a lot of young adult novels, you may like this book better than I did. After all, the writing flows easily and the story follows a nice arc. There is plenty of action, betrayal, and emotional drama going on. It is violent, but not gory. There are a couple of curse words, but the romantic element is kept very clean. I'm chalking this one up to personal taste. I think a lot of people will like this book, but it didn't knock my socks off. Content: Violence, 2 or 3 curse words. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
nookie86 More than 1 year ago
Why is the Nook book over $1.20 more expensive then the Hardback version? I would think it could at least be the same price as the paperback version??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is epic and amazing. It captures your attention and keeps you entwined. I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the sequel. If your looking for a new intense read that will leave you wanting more I definatly recomend red queen. Its written beauitfuly and keeps your attention even after you finish and wishing you could you read the second book already.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd like to start off my saying I was pleasantly surprised from the beginning. I thought this book would take place in the medieval time, not present time! Although I love medieval stories, I've read so many lately it was nice to have a change from the norm. From the beginning, Mare was interesting to me. She was a bad-ass who would do anything to get food on the table for her and her family, which I really admired. She reminded me of Katniss from Hunger Games in a lot of ways, with her determination and apathetic/unhappy attitude. It was definitely interesting following her journey, and I'm excited to see where else it goes. As for the other characters, I felt they all played a great part in the story and really kept it interesting. While I can't say that I feel in love with any character in particular, I was impressed with the way Ms. Aveyard developed them all. You could tell it was important to her that her readers understand everything they needed to about each character. As far as the story line goes, I was really impressed with the abilities of the Silvers; they reminded me a lot of the Epics from The Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson. Overall though, I thought the book was great, but not excellent. There are a lot of other books out there similar to this one; the dystopian theme is all the rage after all, as is the whole "us against them" trend. I found myself getting bored through certain areas, possibly because it seemed that at times the author was trying to get more dialouge in between certain characters. Some events I felt could have been left out of the book to cut down read time. But, that't just my thoughts. Overall, I give 4 out of 5 stars. I will definitely continue to read this series, and will be recommending it to my reading buddies as well. Bravo, Ms. Aveyard!
FandomJunkie1 8 months ago
This book is AMAZING!!!!! From the cruel yet cool world they live in to the characters you'll fall in love with (some not so much) traps you on this emotional roller coaster that is this book. Red Queen is a must have book that you'll never want to put down unless you're reaching for the second book (Glass Sword). Buying this book means you're putting all your emotions into Victoria Aveyard hands which she will promptly close and crush them. It may seem like it's not worth it to stay up late at night thinking about the book or reading it and getting effortlessly lost in it, but I can assure you it is. P.s. sorry about my punctuation!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever written!!! The Red Queen is a little (just a little) boring in the the beginning, but every book is like that, but after the boring part was the amazing part
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know how this book got such rave reviews. I thought the characters were undeveloped and predictable. I never connected with Mare and the romances she developed seemed to come out of no where. Plot was interesting and would have been a great series to read but I couldn't get passed how Mare seemed so pathetic all the time. Take charge girl! Also seemed to jump in time without any real transition. Overall, good plot, bad character development.
CB_Taylor More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I feel like this book is over rated. I am the biggest supernatural/ Fantasy fan but this book just didn't do it for me. The entire thing felt kind of slow and then even the action felt like there was something missing. There's nothing really special about Mare expect for her storyline-given-talent and the fact that she has it despite her "blood type". She is a basic, uncomplicated character that we've all read in a dozen different books, a dozen different time. Her love interests are flat, and it falls into the "She cares about him just because" category without ever showing a real reason for them to love so deeply. It didn't go as far as most novels take it but it went farther than their experiences together should have allowed. The bad guys are bad for stereotypical reasons, which would be fine, if it wasn't the generic "Mean mommy." "We do not come in peace" aliens and "He's mine!" opposing-love interest. While this book had a big interest factor, "What is a world taken over by a superior race like?" It tends to be not only cliche but the things that were meant to make Mare a bit edgy and different (the stealing, the cunning, the need to help her family) have been seen before and nothing was done to make it standout. The one thing I can say is that the betrayal at the end was good. Although I can say it wasn't out of the realm of possibility and while it was entertaining, you could have seen it coming. Over all, this book was good for those who don't read allot. It was "okay" for someone bored and it was a "I'm going to read it because of the bestseller text on it" for those who browse a bookshelf on a regular basis.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall the book was amazing you will never know what hit you in the end. Victoria made a book of betrayal, love, evil queens, handsome guy, and a whole lot of twist. Can not wait for book ywo to come out. All Hail the GLASS SWORD ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really bad, poor world development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so happy when I was finally finished with this book. A weak plot and scant character development ruined a promising story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book but did not love it. I hate the betrayal at the end and it left me on a cliff hanger. Now I have to wait 6-7 months for the next one. But I did like the book. I hope you continuing writing you are a lovely writer so write on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will grab you and bring you into the story brining you into the whirlwinds of traitors, plots, learning, elitists, and love. It is about 17 year old Mare who finds herself working at the palace. She discovers a power inside of her. Mare turns into Mareena and is engaged to Maven the younger prince.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a great book. I cant wait for the next book!!!!!!!?
tree_knee More than 1 year ago
Loved this book !! I loved the characters and the story line was very interesting.
Anonymous 21 hours ago
I could not put this book down!! I hope they make this in to a movie! I'd have it on repeat!
pooled_ink 2 days ago
pooled ink Reviews: It wasn't entirely unpredictable but it definitely had its moments. It was a quick read! Fast paced, action packed with cunning, secrets, betrayal and a dollop of romance. I loved the mix of modern dystopian fiction with sci-fy and even Camelot-esque fantasy. Aveyard succeeded in creating something both familiar and contemporary but also original and gripping. So, sure, perhaps some of the plots twists were a bit predictable, but that didn't keep the pace of the book from rushing forward and I can't wait to read what comes next. "Rise, red as the dawn." Read my FULL review here:
Anonymous 12 days ago
I believe there was only one part within the book that seemed to drag out. Other then that it seemed up beat and entertaining read.
SheBookedIt 21 days ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
absolutely LOVED this boook It started out a little bit slow but then progressed to become an AMAZING BOOK. Victoria Aveyard has simply outdone herself. The ending was absolutely shocking yet kind of expected, I absolutely loved it.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I began the read and couldn't put it down until it was finished
Anonymous 4 months ago
Very plot driven, which is ok since the plot was strong and had me at the edge of my seat for most of the book. There were good twists, but they were also predictable. I've read books with much stronger character development and language usage. I didn't think there was anything remarkable about it, but the story is compelling enough to make me want to read the sequels eventually. It's still worth a read. Cool concept. I'd like to see it made into movie.
Love-Always 4 months ago
A MUST read :D