Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Read or Reread?

Funny story: I always assumed that I had read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard back in high school and thought it was an okay read. Little did I know that amongst dozens of fantasy books I had read, this one was an exception. Armed with a belief that I barely remembered anything for the reason that it was not exactly memorable, I had always distanced myself from Aveyard’s other works, thinking that one experience alone was enough.

It was not until a few days ago that I stumbled upon a mini-review of this book on Twitter with a lot chiming in, agreeing with the rave. After reading the synopsis and feeling how unfamiliar I was with the premise, I decided to refresh my memory with a reread. It took me only a few pages to realize that I had never touched this book before, let alone read it.

How strange, considering Red Queen turned out to be the kind of dystopian book that I enjoyed. Following the story of Mare Barrow in a world where society is divided by the color of their blood, Red Queen introduces us to the discrepancy between the Reds and the Silvers. As a commoner with red blood and no job, Mare knows for sure that she is going to be sent to the battlefield alongside the others of her kind. No matter how much she despises the thought, there is nothing Mare could do to end the Reds' suffering. That is, until she gets the chance to work in the palace and discovers that she possesses a deadly power just like the Silvers do.

Fearful of what she could do, the royal family decides to hide her in plain view. Declared as a long-lost silver princess called Mareena Titanos, Mare is now engaged to the second Silver prince, Maven. Drawn into the world of politics she barely understands, Mare tries to keep up with the new title while secretly helping the Reds' militant resistance group bring down the regime. In a world full of betrayal, lies, and dangerous games, Mare has to make sure that the King, the Queen, and most importantly, the crown prince Cal, don't know her true intention.

While some declared that Red Queen started out a tad bit too slow, I personally found it the contrary. This book had hooked me since page one, and since then, I had known for sure that it was going to be the kind of book that I liked.

Mare Barrow was certainly a tough, badass main character that was easy to tolerate. While I have yet to acquire some turning point in her to find her likable, I still found the story flowed well from her point of view. Of particular interest to me was the way the story was narrated. Even though there's nothing new on the tableRed Queen felt like a bit of The Selection and Red Rising combined; while I also sensed some Divergent's bits here and therethis book still managed to come out as engaging as its predecessor.

The experience of reading this book certainly made me miss jumping into the fantasy world so much. It elicited the desire to keep reading also (which was quite rare in such a busy time like this). Even though the world-building did not exactly meet my expectation and the twist was pretty much predictable and even genericI still found Red Queen quite interesting in its own way. And I honestly can't wait to find out what the second installment has in store for us regarding the two princes, Cal and Maven.

All in all, Red Queen's concept might be similar to the other dystopian books you've read; it might also have a badass character that didn't seem that easy to like; but a little similarity didn't hurt anyone. I still enjoyed this book despite its flaw and even adored the romance bit between the three main characters.

Actual rating: 4.2