By: Lindsey Pfeffer, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
If you have a TikTok account, you may have seen Victoria Aveyard floating around recently, giving out tips for new writers and letting us in on the secrets about the publishing industry. This week, I’ll be talking about her bestselling series, “Red Queen.”
Do you like your fantasy to have politics? What about a realistic war centric plot? A chosen one who subverts the trope by not being able to do it all, with a nice love triangle thrown in for fun? If yes to any of the above, this is the book series for you.
For all of the reasons above, this has been one of my favorite fantasy books to come out in recent years. The series first started right as the wave of dystopian book worlds rose to prominence, and I personally think it is one of the only ones to hit the genre without being a complete copycat.
This book succeeds where others fail because it takes a different part of our society to extrapolate from. “The Hunger Games” took on poverty and authoritarianism, while “Red Queen” takes on prejudice and systemic oppression. In this world we see a division of blood: red blood has no magical ability, while silver blood does.
This leads to Reds being at the bottom of society, with Silvers as the ruling class. Throughout the series, we follow Mare Barrow in her pursuit of taking down the Silvers, and eradicating social and economic barriers.
The portrayal of realistic consequences also takes this book up another notch; though there may be magic, there is no easy fix, no waving of a wand to wish it all away. Another point in its favor is it’s depictions of rebuilding. Most dystopian and fantasy worlds defeat the bad guy and skip putting it all back together, but as we know from the world around us, reorganizing governments and fixing cultural attitudes isn’t as easy as taking out one bad person.
The romance in this series is very much like Katniss and Peeta, but has more opportunity than they were ever given. There is no tricking themselves into love, no love of solely shared experience. Aveyard has shown us the trust they build, the betrayals up close, and how easy it can be to fall into love.
I took one star off this book because it can be quite dense material at times. I’m a binge reader, can’t put it down until I’m done, and I found myself having to take breaks to be able to process what was happening in the books.
But it was worth it to read a world so immersive, so easy to fall into. The fantasy parts didn’t pull you out of the story, and you find yourself feeling like you know these people, especially their motivations.
“Red Queen” is one of the only fantasy and dystopian books I have read, had time to think about and absorb outside opinions, and not found flaws afterwards that outweigh the book itself. This was a great read, and I hope you all fall in love with this series as I did.