So I just finished Victoria Aveyard’s “Red Queen” series lately. To most people, this might not sound like a big deal, but quintessential teen novels are usually not my cup of tea. However, I made an exception because my cousin, who just graduated from college, told me that the series was “worth the hype” and “something all the kids are reading”. Of course, I was curious, so I decided to give it a try. The first thing I had to do, though, was to figure out the ‘Red Queen’ series order.
Once I got a grip of the ‘Red Queen’ series order, though, I immediately realized why it became the newest craze in the world of young adult literature. Despite using a cliché storyline that we’ve seen countless times in series such as “The Hunger Game”, Victoria Aveyard definitely knows how to combine interesting characters, a fast-paced plot, and great storytelling to take readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
So, if you have “Red Queen” in your to-read list, let me cover the two ways to enjoy the series. By the end of this article, you will be ready to embark on this angsty teenage journey and enjoy it to the fullest!
“Red Queen” Series: A Summary
As you turn the first page of “Red Queen”, you will be introduced to a world in which people are divided by their blood. Those fortunate enough to be born with silver blood are blessed with superpowers, varying all the way from healing to elemental control. As a result, they become the upper class. Meanwhile, those born of red blood (or you may say the “commoners”) have to live a life of hard labor and military service. Equality is nonexistent and most believe it will remain that way forever.
The story centers around Mare, a Red girl like any other person with red blood. Having no trade or job, all she can do is count down the days until her 18th birthday and her conscription into the army. Instead of planning for a future, Mare wanders on the streets and steals from people to kill time. Her bad habit somehow lands her a job as a maid in the King’s castle. This seems like a life-changing chance but eventually turns out to be a nightMare (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Little does Mare know, she is more than just a common Red. She possesses astounding abilities too – something the Silvers are very terrified of. Her gift poses a threat to turn the balance of power in the Kingdom upside down, thus when it was accidentally revealed to the nobility, Mare is forced to live a lie. The Silvers announced her as a long-lost princess, covering up her background, but keeping her in check.
Not willing to live as a pawn for the King, Mare joins forces with a group of rebels called the Scarlet Guards and vows to help them destroy the Silvers’ authority at all cost. As Mare challenges the king, queen, and other nobles, she finds surprising allies and surprising feelings for both of the princes, each of whom she has vowed to dethrone.
Still, she has to take down the cruel reign of Silvers, even when that means betrayal, pain, imprisonment, and even bloodshed.
As the previous part mentioned, There are two ways to read the “Red Queen” series: One is by order of publication and the second is by chronological order.
‘Red Queen’ Series Order By Publication
When I just jumped into the bandwagon, I had some problem figuring out the ‘Red Queen’ series order. Why is it, you may ask? Shouldn’t I just read it by order of publication? Well, aside from four main books (“Red Queen”, “Glass Sword”, “King’s Cage”, and “War Storm”), Victoria Aveyard released novellas, too, making it a bit confusing to figure out the timeline.
So far, there are four companion books available: “Queen Song”, “Steel Scars”, “Cruel Crown”, and “Broken Throne”. However, you don’t have to purchase all of them. The first two novellas, “Queen Song” and “Steel Scars”, were published in 2015 and 2016 respectively, while “Cruel Crown” just bundles the two together.
After the release of the latest book, “Broken Throne”, which features both published novellas and four more spin-offs, the first three companion books become obsolete. That said, you only have to grab a copy of “Broken Throne” to enjoy the full series.
If you have yet to read a single book, it’s perfectly fine to follow the ‘Red Queen’ series order by publication. That way, you can enjoy the story without any spoilers.
Here is the order of the books and spin-offs as they were released:
- Red Queen (2015)
- Queen Song (2015) (Novella)
- Steel Scars (2016) (Novella)
- Glass World (2016)
- King’s Cage (2017)
- War Storm (2018)
- World Behind (2019) (Novella from “Broken Throne”)
- Iron Heart (2019) (Novella from “Broken Throne”)
- Fire Light (2019) (Novella from “Broken Throne”)
- Fare Well (2019) (Bonus scene from “Broken Throne”)
In case you want to have a glimpse of each book and novellas, check this out!
‘Red Queen’ Series In Chronological Order
Now we get to the fun part: ‘Red Queen’ series in chronological order! Tracing the correct timeline is quite troublesome since the four spin-offs jump back and forth between two different time periods. Although it is still debatable, fans of this fantasy-dystopian series on Reddit suggest the following order:
- Steel Scars (Novella)
- Queen Song (Novella)
- Red Queen
- Glass Sword
- World Behind (Novella)
- King’s Cage
- War Storm
- Fare Well (Novella)
- Iron Heart (Novella)
- Fire Light (Novella)
I would also warn you that reading the Red Queen series in chronological order may reveal spoilers for the main series. Hence, it’s generally not recommended for new readers. In case you have gone through all the books, though, following this order will provide you with a deeper understanding of the story.
My Thoughts On The ‘Red Queen’ Series
The story of a kingdom divided by blood and therefore separating those with magical abilities from those who are “ordinary” sounded intriguing to me, and I think that’s why I kept on reading, even though the series started very slowly. I have never been a fan of slow-burn novels, so the first book hardly had me gripped at first, but eventually, it built up to something astonishing.
What truly kept me on my toes is the storyline’s great balance between action and politics. Being a die-hard “Game Of Thrones”‘ fan, I always adore the series’ chaotic political game. Despite being a young-adult novel, “Red Queen” shares the same concept. While reading, I found myself thinking five moves ahead and analyzing what those characters could possibly do, but the twists-and-turns never failed to blow my mind.
Character development is another strong point of this series. When I picked up the book, I was really worried Mare would turn out to be the typical Chosen One: A young girl getting thrown into a situation she never expects yet doesn’t know what to do and everything happens around her to resolve the world. That’s what happened to many YA protagonists, but fortunately, Mare is not the case.
This girl is not an instant kick-ass character, and you can say she’s unlikeable at the start because yes, she’s whiny and immature, but that’s what makes her seem so human to me. After all, Mare just turned 18 tossed in a role she didn’t ask for. Throughout the series, we can see her flaws, her frustrations, and her effort to get what she wants. That’s what makes her a complex and three-dimensional character. Some characters still fall flat, though, and I would much appreciate it if they could have revealed a bit more of Cal’s back story.
Unfortunately, the last 100 pages toward the end weren’t as epic as I expected them to be. Just like many fans of the series, I definitely wanted it to be more thrilling, more action-packed, more anything, really. Many threads in Red Queen remain unresolved at the end of this book, making me feel that I have been cheated out of a proper ending. Basically, everything that has been established since the first book comes crashing down in one great rush, and I was disappointed that Victoria Aveyard decided to walk the same old path of YA novel in the end when she had been doing much better.
Nonetheless, with amazing world-building, snarky characters, and fearless plot twists, the series has set a new standard for this genre, and that’s undeniable. While there are still some elements that remind me of other fantasy – dystopian novels like “The Hunger Game” or “The Cruel Prince”, I would still say there are no books like Red Queen out there at the moment. If you’re going to pick up a novel, pick this one up. Join the Red Guard, and rise as red as the dawn!