Red Queen & Red Rising: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, both books (written by different authors) have eerie similarities. The premise sounds the same.

Basically, the reds are the lower, underprivileged class in a society far into the future. And with the ultimate goal of freeing the reds from what basically amounts to slavery, the main character of each book have to pretend to be part of the ruling class (the Silvers for Red Queen and the Golds for Red Rising).

In both books, the ruling class would (in one way or the other) justify the status quo with the notion that the current system is the best there is. Or at the very least, it would be better than any system change that would only invite chaos and mass deaths. While there is some truth in that, it has also been pointed out (in one way or the other) that it’s easy for the ruling class to think that as they are the ones directly benefitting from things staying the same.

And both books start with both main characters not having any intention to rebel despite all the hardships they endured for just being born a Red. But the injustices that (directly or indirectly) caused a close loved one’s death finally became the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was what spurred them on to the Cause

But that’s pretty much the end of the similarity.

I love both books however I love them for different reasons.

Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen has the main character Mare Barrow thrust into her role as a faux Silver Princess (engaged to the second Silver Prince) in order to explain away her existence. In this world, only Silvers (whose blood is literally silver-colored) have extraordinary powers. But for Mare to unwittingly and unknowingly display powers in front of an audience of Silver nobles, it is an anomaly.

And thus, the king and queen explain that she’s some long lost daughter of a silver war hero. A lie more palatable and definitely a lot less alarming than a mere red-blooded girl having powers that could equal a silver’s.

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising has main character Darrow intentionally infiltrating what basically is the Gold’s military academy as part of his mission for the rebellion, the Sons of Ares. Unlike Mare, Darrow had to spend a lot of time preparing and learning this role. He had to endure a lot of lessons on their etiquette and colloquialisms. And he even had to endure extensive surgery to look like a Gold.

Being an unknown “Gold” from a “faraway” place, the Military Academy is basically the place where he makes a name for himself. Making himself an excellent student to the Academy’s brutal lessons.

(By the way, if anyone comments on how similar Darrow is to Mare’s surname, I think it’s just a coincidence. LOL)

Are both books sounding good to you?

Go to your library and borrow them pronto! Or you can buy them from your local bookstore. I know how popular these books are. So I won’t be surprised if you find both in the easy-to-reach middle section of the shelves (as opposed to the sections that require you to squat near the floor. LOL).

Or alternatively, you can purchase the Amazon kindle version. Below are links:

The Red Queen

Red Rising

Both books are great and I wouldn’t be surprised if a movie or tv series adaptation springs out in the next few years.

While both have a sci-fi bend to it, Red Rising is more space opera to me. In the sense that it is not set on Earth. Red Rising is set on Mars actually. But I’m from Earth. So anything not on Earth is space to me. LOL

If you are on a budget and you can only choose one, I suggest Red Queen if you are more geared for romance and palace intrigue. But if you want more of the intricacies of being a sleeper agent and more on military training, strategy and leadership, then you might want to choose Red Rising instead.


Please let me know what you think. Appreciate if you would leave a comment! 🙂

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