Reviews by Kara and Hadley, teen reviewers

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was fascinating. In it, Mare Barrow, a Red, endures. Reds make up the majority of this dystopian society, but are dominated by Silvers, whose blood gives them great powers. After an incident involving a giant arena, flying box seats, and a talent show for all of the eligible Silver bachelorettes to show off for a prince, Mare discovers that she has her own Silver powers. The only problem? Mare’s blood is still very much red.

While the premise of the book was not astoundingly unique, it had its own charms. The narration does a good job of portraying the gap between Silvers and Reds. Aveyard does a good job of utilizing Mare’s story to show the two extremes of this society. The story was also intriguing. Although some of the plot twists of the novel were predictable, I still found myself staying up until 2am finishing this book. The book has intrigue, secrecy, and excitement in spades.  Once I started, it was hard to stop.

Mare’s relationships and convictions could have had a better foundation. A lot of the time, Mare says that she has an incredible strong relationship/bond with so-and-so, but we’re never given any glimpse as to why. Even relationships that are newly formed are not explained well, allowing us to have a dangerous sense of indifference towards characters. There were also a few loose ends that are never explained (and not in a this-is-leading-to-a-sequel-hint-hint way).

Overall, I recommend this to anyone who has a slight (or a large) interest in it, but not to anyone who gets frustrated by two-dimensional characters. –Kara, teen reviewer



In this future, humans are divided into two classes based on the color of their blood. Those with silver are the elites and royals, and they have superhuman abilities, ranging from powers to control water or those to control minds. Those with red blood are normal, average, with barely any privileges and a guaranteed life of poverty. They serve the Silvers above them, and are supposedly compliant in doing so.

Mare Barrow is a Red living in the Stilts, another poor sector in the land of Norta. She is coming of age to be conscripted, or sent off to war. Misfortune strikes one day, and her best friend, Kilorn, is next in the queue to be sent to the front lines. In order to save them both, she must find the money to illegally smuggle the two of them out of the area in two days. And, against all odds, she is determined to do this by doing what she does best.


One morning, after a day of raiding in the Silver city, she is summoned to the summer home of the rulers of Norta and transported there by officials. Mare thinks she is being arrested, but is instead offered a high-paying job of serving at the palace. She accepts, in order to raise money for her family and friend, and is just in time to work the Queenstrial.  The Queenstrial is a competition between the daughters of all the High Houses, where each Silver shows off her power in order to win the hand of the prince next in line for the throne, Tiberias the Seventh. While working the event, something impossible happens to our Red protagonist that results in her being thrown to the feet of the unsmiling king and queen of Norta.  Then, something even more implausible occurs: they offer her marriage to their second son, Maven.  And with that, Mare becomes Mareena, and her life changes—for the worse or better, well, that is inconceivable.

This book is one of the best I have ever read. Everything in the story is original, from the premise, to the characters, to the world they live in. I never wanted to put it down, as there was never a dull moment. The characters are relatable and completely their own, with outrageous personalities, abilities and lifestyles. Mare is torn between two causes and must choose to fight for one. The struggle is real and engaging.

A quote on the back of the book reads, “In the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.” And it is true! The author writes in a way that makes you question every move the characters make and guess their ulterior motives—you will always guess wrong.

To everyone who is looking to read about a futuristic society with the twist of both fantasy and romance, this is your book. I recommend it to everyone who is interested in any or all of these genres, because Victoria Aveyard combines the three beautifully. 5 stars! –Hadley, teen reviewer



Victoria Aveyard will be at our teen book festival, Pasadena Loves YA on May 23, 2015.  For more info, visit

Find this book in our library catalog: Red Queen