Red Queen Series Order | 2 Ways to Read Victoria Aveyard’s Books

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.

Red Queen Series Order

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.

  1. Red Queen (2015) <–Book 1
  2. Queen Song (2015) (Novella)
  3. Steel Scars (2016) (Novella)
  4. Glass Sword (2016) <–Book 2
  5. King’s Cage (2017) <–Book 3
  6. War Storm (2018) <–Book 4
  7. World Behind (2019) (Novella)
  8. Iron Heart (2019) (Novella)
  9. Fire Light (2019) (Novella)
  10. Fare Well (2019) (Bonus Scene)

Red Queen Coloring Book
Red Queen Collector’s Edition
Glass Sword Collector’s Edition

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:

  1. Red Queen (2015)
  2. Glass Sword (2016)
  3. King’s Cage (2017)
  4. War Storm (2018)

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.

Audible Red Queen Series Order

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 Coloring Book
Red Queen Collector’s Edition
Glass Sword Collector’s Edition

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.

Red Queen Series Order Victoria Aveyard

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.

Glass Sword Victoria Aveyard

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.

King's Cage Victoria Aveyard

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.

War Storm Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen Series Order

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.

Broken Throne Victoria Aveyard

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.

23 thoughts on “Red Queen Series Order | 2 Ways to Read Victoria Aveyard’s Books

    1. Cruel Crown is a novella bundle. It includes Queen Song and Steel Scars. But since Broken Throne contains all five prequel novellas, I recommend getting that instead of Cruel Crown. You’ll need to get Broken Throne anyway if you want to read the other three novellas.

    1. Yes, Broken Throne includes all five novellas.

      Cruel Crown is a collection all on its own that contains Steel Scars and Queen Song. It is not a separate book or story.

      But since the other three novellas (World Behind, Iron Heart, and Fire Light) aren’t available anywhere else except the Broken Throne collection, I only recommend purchasing that one since it also includes Steel Scars and Queen Song.

  1. Hi, first; thank you for making a reading order for Red Queen series! I wonder if i “have to” read the novellas or can i read them after the other books? I have read the first book and thought i would read ‘Glass sword’ next, but it might be better to read ‘Queen son’, ‘Steel Scars’ and then ‘Glass sword’? what do you recommend?

    1. You don’t have to read the novellas, no. I didn’t read them. If you aren’t into novellas, go ahead and skip them. But if you do like novellas, then I would read those two before Glass Sword.

    2. Thank you for such helpful information! The order you said was best to read for new readers is by publication date. Would that mean I can read the four main books in order first and then go back and read Broken Throne? I didn’t realize Broken Throne was a collection of Novellas and I’ve read Red Queen and started Glass Sword so far but I don’t want to continue to read Glass Sword if it will be confusing to not read Queen Song first.

      1. Personally, I haven’t read the novellas. I don’t really do novellas. So I thought it was just fine reading only the main books. If you’re the type of person who enjoys novellas. Reading them before proceeding would be the better choice I would think, just to better understand the characters. But if the cliffhangers are too heavy and you don’t feel like deviating to read the novellas, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  2. Hello!I have a question,between red queen & cruel crown wich one should I read first & after them wich ones?!
    [I already bought the cruel crown)

    1. Cruel Crown contains the novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars. Those novellas are also available in Broken Throne, and you’ll need Broken Throne in order to read the rest. If you can, I’d recommend returning Cruel Crown and getting Broken Throne instead.

      There is nothing to read between Cruel Crown and Red Queen though. If you’re reading them in chronological order, Cruel Crown comes first, and if you’re reading it in publication order, Cruel Crown is read immediately after Red Queen. The next thing to read after finishing Red Queen, Queen Song, and Steel Scars is to read Book 2, Glass Sword.

  3. I just wanted to say thanks. I’m in the middle of Red Queen at the moment. I think I picked it up @ a yard sale or something but I like it & wanted to order the rest of the series. I knew nothing about the series when I started searching & didn’t realize how confusing it would be just to find out which story was next. Without you I’d still be looking. So again, thank you very much. You were extremely thorough & made everything easy to understand. 🙂

  4. Hi! I want to ask, since i just finished reading Red Queen and I want to read the novellas according to chronological order, can i just purchase Broken Throne instead of cruel crown? And not read the other three novellas until the time i have to read them? Or are all the novellas combined into one whole story making it hard for me to tell whether which is which? Like would i know if this certain page is the end of thing certain novella? Thank you in advance for your answer! Would be of very great help :))

    1. You can definitely just buy Broken Throne and I would highly recommend it for a Chronological read of Red Queen. All of the novellas are clearly labeled and you can definitely just read whichever one you need, then save the others for a later time.

  5. Can you please help. My daughter read red Queen. She wants to read the rest of the series. I have read this three times and have no idea what I am supposed to buy next. Thank you!!

    1. Book 2 is Glass Sword. If she doesn’t like novellas, you can ignore everything else but the major books. Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, War Storm, in that order.

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