I usually try not to do reviews on entire series, preferring to do things one book at a time, but since I am so far behind in reviews, I’m making exceptions.
Also, SPOILER ALERT * SPOILER ALERT * SPOILER ALERT! Can’t discuss an entire series without spoiling some plot points from the first books, so be warned.
About the Books
The Red Queen Series
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Book #1: Red Queen
Dates Read: May 9, 2021 (this is when I finished it, not sure when I started)
Edition Read: Hardcover
Blurb: This is a world divided by blood—red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance—Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.
Book #2: Glass Sword
Dates Read: May 10 – June 9, 2021
Edition Read: Kindle eBook
Blurb: Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Book #3: King’s Cage
Dates Read: June 9 – 21, 2021
Edition Read: Kindle eBook
Blurb: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.
Book #4: War Storm
Dates Read: June 22 – 28, 2021
Edition Read: Kindle eBook
Blurb: Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s talk about the books. I absolutely loved this series. It took me a while to read it – I had owned a copy of the first book for years – but I’m so glad that I finally did.
With any fantasy story, I have to start by discussing the world building. It was very well done. The class differences between where Mare grows up in the Stilts to the beautiful glistening cities of the Silvers reminded me very much of The Hunger Games, with the stark contrast between the poverty of District 12 and the over-the-top sensationalism of the Capitol. Similar, but very different. I also really enjoyed how the magic worked within this realm. The Silvers all had different powers within the different families and it was interesting to see how they all revolved around each other politically.
And then there’s Mare. Somehow she has powers even though she is a Red. Getting sucked into this world is terrifying and you can definitely feel that Mare is walking on eggshells the entire time. You want to trust some of the nicer Silvers, but boy does that backfire! Because of the amounts of books that I read, it takes a lot to actually surprise me sometimes, but I swear I didn’t see Maven’s duplicity coming at ALL. I thought he was so sweet and genuine. Had no idea that he was as evil as he turned out to be. And Call. Poor Cal. I felt so bad for him. Doing the right thing means turning his back on his own people and the only life he’s ever known, and even when he does, he still isn’t trusted by his new allies.
One of my favorite characters, I think, was Evangeline. She is another Silver at court, and technically one of the “bad guys,” but she was just such a bad ass. She also had her own reasons for acting the way she did, so I forgive her for being so nasty sometimes. A very cool character.
All of the characters were very well done. I liked how complex everything was. One of my pet peeves is when characters are too flat or two-dimensional. It’s not realistic. No one is all good or all bad. Since this is a war, there is a “good” side and a “bad” side, but the bad side does have some good people who believe in what they are doing, and the good side definitely has some people who are morally questionable. They all have reasons for why they are the way they are and that’s what I loved about it. Just because it’s a fantasy story and people can shoot lightning from their fingertips doesn’t mean that characters can’t be realistic in all the other ways that count. It makes me much more invested.
Overall, this series was great. If you enjoy a good YA fantasy with a dash of dystopia, then you should give this a go.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars for all four books.
Categories: Books I've Read