The dystopian novel and mirror bestseller The Red Queen was published for the first time in May 2015 by Carlsen Verlag and since then has delighted lovers of fantasy stories and historical novels at the same time. The story was written by the author Victoria Aveyard, who has enjoyed international success with her four-part fantasy series. The Red King is her debut novel in the series.

Shared worlds, power and love

The world in dystopia The red queen is strictly divided between rich and poor. On the red side there is poverty, oppression and despair, while on the silver side there is gluttony and greed for power and wealth. The affiliation of the book characters to one of the classes can be recognized by the color of the blood. The protagonist Mare belongs to the class of those who have red blood flowing through their bodies. These are those who lead a poor existence, have to steal in order to survive and are exploited as slaves by the characters of the novel with silver blood. The silver ones not only have special magical abilities, but are part of aristocratic society, with all its advantages.

The protagonist Mare Barrow is seventeen years old and comes from an extended family. Her brothers fight a senseless battle on the frontline between the kingdoms, while Mare tries to secure the life of her family by theft, which means that her sister has to experience the wickedness of the silver at first hand.

Red and silver, and stronger than both.

Quote by Victoria Aveyard from The Red Queen.

By a dicey coincidence, Mare learns that she has magical abilities that are otherwise only available to the silver elite. To the displeasure of the rulers, Mare becomes part of the upper class and receives a new identity so that this ominous secret does not come out to the public. At the same time, a tricky love story develops between the two sons of the ruling couple and Mare.

Dystopia and social criticism

Victoria Aveyard has succeeded in making her debut novel in the four-part fantasy series equally engaging to read for young people and adults. Dark topics of our society, such as social differences, power struggles and political disputes are skillfully woven into the Fantsay novel by the author. Here the reality of our world and the novel dystopia seem to intersect. The difference in blood colors of the characters in the book and the resulting social status should be regarded as a concise example. This basic problem can also be found in our society in different ways. Likewise, the book characters' conflicts of conscience when choosing between good and bad are not unknown to the reader. These references to reality give the novel depth.

Look inside the book: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Image: Anne Marie-Christine Volkmann

Despite this, the novel remains a youth story. Topics such as jealousy, love, insecurity and mockery always play a major role, which is reflected in the actions of the characters in the novel. Mare in particular sometimes appears rebellious, almost childlike and acts with youthful naivety.

Images of The Red Queen


Softcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Carlsen
Language: German
ISBN: 978-3-551-31778-0
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Year of publication: 2015
Cost: 9,99 Euro


The novel The Red Queen reads fluently and has been translated almost flawlessly. The story itself is reminiscent of that of the Hunger Games, but in no way copies it, rather this appears to be a plus point for fans of the dystopian novel trilogy. The bookstore is coherently and excitingly written, but also predictable and at times too many events follow one another, so that the story progresses explosively. This could leave the reader craving a dose of breathlessness.

Descriptions of landscapes are hardly considered in the course of the story and the secondary characters are mostly only described superficially, which takes away the liveliness of the dystopia. Aveyard has a completely different view of the protagonists, who are described expressively and give the story the depth it needs. The novel The Red Queen is highly recommended for young readers. Older readers should perceive dystopia as a book for young people. Then nothing stands in the way of you to enjoy reading.

So far, four volumes in this book series have been published by Carlsen Verlag: Volume 1: The Red Queen, Volume 2: Glass Sword, Volume 3: Golden Cage and Volume 4: Angry Storm.