I jumped on the Red Queen bandwagon very early. And despite some divided opinions from readers, I personally read and enjoyed all four books. But there are novellas, too, and that raises questions about the proper Red Queen series order.
If you’ve yet to read a single book, there are two different Red Queen series orders to choose from.
The first way is to read by order of publication, and the second is chronological order.
We’ll cover both Red Queen series orders so you can determine which works best for you.
Who is Victoria Aveyard?
Red Queen came into being after Victoria Aveyard graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in screenwriting, no job lined up, and an intense desire to write a YA novel. At 22, she returned home to East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and began writing her first draft.
A representative from a television production company had been the one to encourage her to pursue writing her book. Once her manuscript was written that contact passed it along and Aveyard secured a three-book deal with HarperTeen. Along the way, three books turned into four and a handful of novellas to provide more background and character development.
Red Queen also sold out its initial print run of 150,000 copies and the film rights were sold to Universal Studios before the book’s publication.
The film adaptation has since turned into a series adaptation for the streaming platform Peacock. Elizabeth Banks will direct, executive produce, and star in the production. Aveyard will also be an executive producer and co-wrote the pilot with Beth Schwartz, another executive producer and the showrunner.
When Aveyard began writing Red Queen, her dream was for it to be published. She says that everything that has followed since has far exceeded her initial dream.
Aveyard currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband. She keeps up a very active social media presence, hopping on BookTok trends and giving fans a glimpse into her life as author.
2 Ways to Read Red Queen in Order
Because all of the various novellas are now bundled together in a single book, each of the links below will take you to that one volume, but I’ve still separated them out so you know exactly when to read them.
You can also opt to purchase the first two individually as they’re still available, but I’d recommend just grabbing the Broken Throne collection if you plan to read the novellas.
Red Queen Series Order by Publication
I read the Red Queen books by publication date, and it’s a perfectly acceptable method for reading the series.
It’s also the method I’d recommend if this is your first time reading the series.
- Red Queen (2015) <–Book 1
- Queen Song (2015) (Novella)
- Steel Scars (2016) (Novella)
- Glass Sword (2016) <–Book 2
- King’s Cage (2017) <–Book 3
- War Storm (2018) <–Book 4
- World Behind (2019) (Novella)
- Iron Heart (2019) (Novella)
- Fire Light (2019) (Novella)
- Fare Well (2019) (Bonus Scene)
Do I Need to Read the Novellas?
If the above list looks a little confusing, we’ll break it down even further.
No, the novellas are not required reading to understand the story. If you are a person that doesn’t like novellas (like me), then you don’t have to read them. They provide added insight into characters from the main story, such as Cal’s mother (Queen Song) or Captain Farley (Steel Scars).
So what books do I need if I’m ignoring the novellas?
Here is the Red Queen series in order without novellas:
That’s it. Those are the four main novels in the series. Nothing else is necessary. They’re even sold in a box set to make things simple.
Where Does Cruel Crown Fit?
Cruel Crown combines together the first two novellas, Queen Song and Steel Scars.
Now that all five novellas are bundled into the Broken Throne collection, you don’t need to buy Cruel Crown. In fact, I recommend against doing so.
Since Broken Throne contains novellas you can’t purchase anywhere else, and is the only way to enjoy the full Red Queen series order with all of the novellas, you’re just wasting money if you buy Cruel Crown.
Why, then, did they release Cruel Crown?
The first two novellas were written a full 3-4 years before the latter ones. Cruel Crown was a result of making it easier to buy the original novellas. After the release of the later novellas, Cruel Crown became obsolete.
Red Queen Series in Chronological Order
The following is a timeline of events in the Red Queen series order. It’s not 100% perfect as some novellas and scenes take place during the main novels.
I would also give you warning that it’s possible that reading the Red Queen series in chronological order may reveal spoilers for the main series.
It’s generally not recommended that new readers follow any series chronological timeline for this reason. For an absolute certainty do not read Queen Song before Red Queen.
But if you’re a fan looking for the best way to re-read this series, this reading order is for you:
0.1 Queen Song (Novella)
0.2 Steel Scars (Novella)
1. Red Queen
2. Glass Sword
2.5 World Behind (Novella)
3. King’s Cage
4. War Storm
4A. Fare Well (Bonus Scene)
4.1 Iron Heart (Novella)
4.2 Fire Light (Novella)
Red Queen Series Books
Now that we’ve listed out two ways to read the Red Queen books in order, let’s take a closer look at each of the books in the series.
1. Red Queen
Red Queen is the first book in the Red Queen series. It follows Mare Barrow and her struggles with an oppressive government that sees Red bloods (aka those without magic) like her as inferior.
The silvers (magic users) reign over them with a steel first.
That is until Mare exhibits powers of her own, and suddenly their whole world is upended by this new truth. The Silvers will do anything to keep it hidden, and the Reds are ready to rise up against their oppressors.
2. Glass Sword
Glass Sword continues the story pretty much right where they left off in Book 1.
I can’t really tell you anything about the conflict as it’s major spoilers for one of the greatest twists of all time in the original book.
But in Glass Sword, Mare discovers she is not the only Red with powers and she seeks to recruit them all in her effort to fight against their Silver oppressors.
3. King’s Cage
King’s Cage is where things in the Red Queen series really start to get dicey.
War is brewing and the fight against the Silvers escalates.
Mare is in some serious trouble. That’s all I can say, and it’s up to the Scarlet Guard to save her if they hope to continue their resistance.
4. War Storm
War Storm is the final installment in the Red Queen series and the epic conclusion to the war between the Reds and the Silvers.
Two sets of nations have allied to fight against each other in the great Nortan Civil War.
There’s a lot subterfuge and misdirection going on, with an ever uncomfortable relationship between Mare and her love interest that makes this book exciting yet somehow hard to read at the same time.
5. Broken Throne
Broken Throne collects the original two novellas with three new novellas that haven’t been published anywhere else. There’s also a War Storm bonus ending.
It’s a collection that any Red Queen fan must have.
Looking for more great books?
Check out this Cosmere reading order by Brandon Sanderson.