14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mars Will Rise
Pierce Brown has created a stark vision of the future in Red Rising, his debut novel. Mars, and other inhabited worlds throughout our galaxy, is ruled by an elite class who have spent many hundreds of years creating a rigid culture where everyone is born, lives and dies in a predefined role. At the top are the Golds, the genetic crème de la crème, virtual...
Published 12 months ago by Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent...
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Young Adult Fantasy/Sci Fi novel
I thought this was an easy and quite absorbing light fantasy/sci fi read that would be great in the Young adult Section. It is set on Mars. Darrow the protagonist is from the low order Reds who believe they have been sent ahead generations earlier to carryout the very dangerous mining that is essential to provide the elements needed to terraform the planet for the...
Published 10 months ago by light
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mars Will Rise,
This review is from: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Pierce Brown has created a stark vision of the future in Red Rising, his debut novel. Mars, and other inhabited worlds throughout our galaxy, is ruled by an elite class who have spent many hundreds of years creating a rigid culture where everyone is born, lives and dies in a predefined role. At the top are the Golds, the genetic crème de la crème, virtual living gods and the embodiment of perfection. Far below, on the bottom rung of the ladder, are the lowly Reds. They are the downtrodden masses, the miners and menial workers, largely ignorant of the huge lie that underpins their existence.
The Reds are viewed by most as little more than beasts of burden. From their ranks comes Darrow, a young man given the chance to rise above his station and try to right the wrongs that exist everywhere. A traumatic event in Darrow’s life opens his eyes to the larger world and a secret society tasks him with infiltrating the Golds as a 5th columnist. His goal? To bring down their rule from within. The hate that radiates from Darrow, and drives him to take on this likely suicidal mission, is palpable. In all honesty, knowing the reasons for his hate, I can’t say that I blame him. The Reds are being exploited at every turn and Darrow witnesses that exploitation at the most personal level. His rage is the fuel that fires his journey. There is an interesting evolution in his character as the plot unfolds. He experiences the slowly growing realization that it’s not just the Reds who are suffering. Irrespective of the colour caste someone is born into, they are as much a prisoner to their role as the Reds are. Darrow comes to appreciate the inequality that exists everywhere from the bottom right to the very top.
Brown ramps up the action, and the brutality that comes with it, once Darrow makes it out of the mines and to the Gold’s command school. As part of their training, teenage members of the Golds are forced to take part in an almost never ending series of tests, each seemingly more traumatic than the last. Taking their lead from ancient Earth cultures, there are elements of Roman and Spartan training that reminded me of 300. There is a test called The Passage which is particularly gruesome, even more so when you discover its true purpose. The lesson that all the students must learn? There’s no room for weakness when you are the leader of men.
A large chunk of plot takes place during the final test – an all-out war to determine the best of the best. Darrow and his classmates are pushed to the limits of their skills and endurance. During these protracted war games he begins to understand the mind set of the Golds, he even starts to grudgingly respect some of their decisions. Darrow rises to the top as a leader, nicknamed The Reaper, but at the same time another ascends, The Jackal. The final confrontation has everything you could possibly want from a science fiction thriller – action, betrayal, the odd futile gesture and even a vividly realised coup d’état.
The world building in Red Rising is what really sets this apart from any other books I’ve read recently, it’s just so immense. The scope of this novel is huge. Brown has obviously spent a great deal of time plotting out every aspect of the society he has created and it shows. Even the smallest inconsequential detail is cleverly thought through and fits within the structure of the plot. The different levels of society all have their place. The descriptions of the different colours, their roles, even the slang they use helps to flesh out the society
Readers are inevitably going to draw parallels between Red Rising and other modern dystopian novels like The Hunger Games. I’ve not read the latter so I can’t really make a fair comparison. That said, from what I have heard, it seems to me that Red Rising has a much darker tone and though Darrow is still is his teens I don’t really think Red Rising falls into the same Young Adult niche as The Hunger Games. If you liked The Hunger Games and don’t mind a little more adult language then I’m sure you would enjoy Red Rising as well.
Needless to say I absolutely despise Pierce Brown, he’s just so damned talented. He’s crafted a wonderfully compelling story that’s chock full of great characters, thought provoking ideas and some awesome action. It’s an impressive feat. There are a plethora of insightful moments woven into the fabric of Red Rising and he’s managed to execute them all flawlessly. The best part is that this is only book one, this is just the beginning. There will be another two books in this trilogy that we’ll all get to enjoy. I look forward to seeing the story move beyond the confines of Mars. There are multiple mentions of vast fleets of starships and I await Brown’s take on space travel and, hopefully, some battles as well. When it comes to science fiction I’m always on the lookout for novels that inspire a sense of awe. I want to finish a chapter only to realise that I’ve been holding my breath. Red Rising delivers everything that it promises and more. As I mentioned earlier the scope of this novel is huge and any sequel is only going to be bigger. Yes I’ll admit it, I’m hooked. When does the next book come out dammit?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, involving adult dystopia,
I somehow managed to miss this book despite it getting lots of praise when it appeared earlier this year, but finally picked it up in anticipation of the sequel which is due early in 2015.
At first, I wondered what all the fuss was about. While the setting - a pitiless, hierarchical society that keeps its most downtrodden, the "reds", slaving in the mines of Mars - is well drawn, it didn't seem anything special. Then Brown did... something... and the book seemed to rise to a whole new level.
Darrow, the main protagonist, is one of the reds, who toil in atrocious conditions to produce the minerals that are needed to make Mars habitable. If they strain every muscle and meet their quote, they may get a little more food to share, a few more comforts, and Darrow shows himself bold - almost reckless - in straining to achieve this.
It's all a con, of course, and we pretty soon see that things are rigged to set the miners against each other and keep the elite - the "golds" on top at all times. So Darrow turns rebel, at terrible cost, and sets himself against the hierarchy. The rest of the book is then a thrilling description of how, in the "Institute" he is forced to play deadly power games with the sons and daughters of the elite in order to rise and win the power that will - perhaps - one day be used to free his people.
The story of what happens in those games is, again, a lesson in power and a lesson in division: I don't want to give too much away to anyone who hasn't read this yet but we see - as one might expect - that the structure of the mines is repeated at all levels, with friend set against friend, brother against brother (and sister). It's a compelling springboard for the second and third volumes in the trilogy, where I hope to see some of the paradoxes of Darrow's rebellion explored - quite simply, "change will not come from above" and I wonder how long it will take him to learn that? Or whether he will manage to avoid the dead end and achieve what he really wants?
An excellent read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic dystopian novel destined to become a bestseller and a movie blockbuster,
This review is from: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) (Hardcover)
‘Red Rising’ written by Pierce Brown is a novel that is destined to become a bestseller and a movie blockbuster whose sequels will be eagerly awaited. This mix of dystopia, science fiction, fantasy and thriller is even more graphically explicit than “Hunger Games” with which due to some motifs can be compared with the significant difference that the author Pierce Brown addresses not only to teenagers but also to older audience.
The story takes reader to the planet Mars, on which human colony is built. The main character named Darrow is one of the Helldivers, a thousand people who live in the caves beneath the surface spending their lives like moles, drilling and mining the elements needed for Mars to be terraformed.
Darrow belongs to the caste Reds, and although only sixteen he is already married and aware of the inevitable spending of his whole life in the same way so future generations might live better. He is madly in love with his wife Eo which is beautiful and full of life, the only light in his dark underground life. But due to the tragic events that will happen that will separate Darrow from her, both reader and the main character from that moment will certainly be on the same side as we learn about other privileged caste that lives on the planet.
Their name is Golds, and while gradually learning that a long time they deceived poor workers exploiting them as slaves for their easy life, the reader will be of equal feelings as the main character; Darrow fraudulently manages to get out of the place where he was to about to spend his whole life and embarks on journey to find out what is really going on, what's behind the lies he lived his whole life, like so many before him…
Although the novel setting and even part of the plot is similar, “Red Rising” describes much more complex world than was the case in the “Hunger Games”; the characters that reader is going to meet on its pages, including the main character, are far from any of perfection, they are full of flaws, make bad choices, bring bad decisions and do bad things.
Hence the multidimensional characterization of the protagonists, both major and those episodic we meet, can be considered one of the greatest qualities of this novel because the story though interesting is not something that has not been seen in many variations.
The story at some moment is extremely brutal, and then in some other full of emotions, especially regarding the love relationship of the main character that will perhaps elicit a few tears from more emotional readers.
And though it is difficult to generalize and say who will more like or dislike this novel, Pierce Brown’s work can certainly be recommended to those who love dystopias which will fly through its 400 pages; but be warned that ‘Red Rising’ is much more than ordinary fantasy – it’s an epic novel full of lies, suffering and gore.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it,
This review is from: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Red Rising by Pierce Brown: This book was a foray into something different for me, which is my challenge this year "To Read as many books as i can that take me out of my comfort zone". Right from the start i had to hang on to the book covers to stop from being swept up into the plot and transported to Mars. I was amazed to discover its being billed as a Young Adult novel. Its complex world building and multi layered society is leaps ahead in style and depth of almost any other YA book i have ever read.
Taking place on Mars, introducing the Red, the bottom of society, the worker slaves, in a society led by the elite Golds. One red is destined to rise from his station, to learn adapt and grow. It is this adaptation and growth that allows the reader to experience all the levels of emotion. through failure, victory, death, love, friendship, comradeship and so much more.
Inevitable comparisons will be made to Hunger Games, but this blows that series away. For me this is right up there with the quality of Wool by Hugh Howey A book that transported me to another time another place and other reality. For those that read you will understand the phrase : Book hangover, this is what i have now, i don't know what to read next as my hair of the dog... but it will need to be damn good.
READ THIS BOOK
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red or Dead,
This review is from: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ignore the bookseller's description which makes Red Rising sound like a Hollywood version of The Warlord of Mars (hold on, they messed that one up already didn't they?). Put aside the Hunger Games comparisons as well for now but don't dismiss them, because although the war-games element dominates Pierce Brown's debut novel, the first book of a new SF trilogy, its scope, range and tone is far more expansive and realistic in its outlook. There's a lot of relevant historical foundation used in the book relating to Napoleonic campaigns, to the political make-up of the Roman Empire and indeed the structure and stratification that exists within our own society. All of this is fascinating and thrilling to see played out in a controlled environment that itself has evident and intentional references to the Gods overseeing the lives of mortals from Olympus, but the real driving motivation for Red Rising and what makes it so absolutely involving, is the stirring underlying revolutionary sentiments that aim to overthrow the system.
The book's title works on a number of levels then, as it's set initially on Mars (though it will clearly extend far out beyond this in the later books), but it also implies a socialist revolution, since it deals with a section of the working population of this society known as 'Reds' who have been kept ignorant of the expansion of the human race into space, their ignorance used to keep them enslaved in cruel and impoverished condition mining helium from deep beneath the surface of the Red planet. One 'Helldiver' however, Darrow, discovers the truth however and, with the help of a secret underground network, is able to (somewhat improbably admittedly) infiltrate high Gold society.
To get into a position of influence however Darrow must first compete in a medieval-style war game against other highly qualified candidates from the some of the most important Gold houses. The wars that make up the larger portion of Red Rising are brutal and violent, used as a means of giving the students 'real-life' experience for what is expected of them later in life. Hogwarts this isn't. No computer simulation either. Pierce Brown not only takes into consideration the relevant historical references, but he demonstrates a brilliant awareness of realistic human motivations and behaviour, as well as the fact that advances in society are indeed built upon the suffering and enslavement of others. What's even more interesting is the question of how Darrow can only help overthrown this corrupt system by playing by its rules, but can he do it without becoming corrupted himself?
These are meaningful concepts that the author employs superbly in this remarkably assured and totally involving debut, tackling natural selection, political manipulation and social engineering without getting bogged down in academic references. Despite the nature of the book being heavily based around battles for power and dominance between rival houses in a terraformed valley, the author makes these thrilling and relevant and never loses sight of the ultimate goal of the longer game of the trilogy. Utterly brilliant in its own right, Red Rising is however just setting the foundations, providing a remarkably solid basis and plenty of reason to look forward to what's ahead in the next two books. Red Rising certainly promises the rise of a truly phenomenal new talent. Unlike Darrow, Pierce Brown might not actually overthrow the system, but Red Rising certainly deserves to make one heck of an impact on the book world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant!,
I have been wanting to read Red Rising for ages, especially as there has been a far bit of hype about it and it won the Goodreads Best Debut Author Category, so I knew I was definitely missing out on something here.
Red Rising is a dystopian novel, which is the type of novel I love and quite a few bloggers have been going crazy for it. I could not wait to get stuck in.
In Darrow's world, everyone is ordered and ranked into colours. Reds like Darrow are the lowest in society and the Golds are the rulers. The Golds do not believe in equality, only that the strongest should rule. Darrow lives in the very depths of Mars, digging all day to earn food and to make the surface of Mars inhabitable for future generations. Darrow believes that the Reds are humanities last hope, until he discovers he has been deceived.
Blimey! Why did I leave it SO long to read this?! I can completely see why Pierce won debut author of the year! What a debut it was. It was so intricate and well thought out. The last book I read similar to this and loved was The Hunger Games, so am so excited to have found a new trilogy to get completely sucked into.
Once I had started Red Rising, it practically took over my thoughts. Even when I had to put it down, I could not stop thinking about it. It is totally addictive, once you start, you just cannot get enough. As we got further into the book, I found myself flicking back to the map at the beginning to see Darrow's progress. I was utterly involved in this and felt like one the characters myself.
Even the language is unique to Darrow's world which has me saying things myself, especially bloodydamn and gorydamn. Pierce really has created a whole new world in Red Rising.
The only teeny tiny criticism I have and this is probably just me, but there were times when I desperately wanted a bit more explanation to some of things in Darrows world. I did have quite a lot of questions, but that's only because I was being greedy for more information on the story.
The only slight consolation for reading this so late is I now thankfully don't have long to wait until Golden Son is out, which some people have already been lucky enough to read and I SO envious! But that's just me being impatient for the next instalment.
A highly addictive, brilliant and intelligent debut from Pierce Brown. Bring on Golden Son!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Old enough to screw, old enough to crew.,
The Earth is dying, and so Darrow and his fellow Reds toil away, mining Mars to extract the elements they need to terraform the planet and make it habitable for humans to live on. The Reds have always been told they are humanity's last hope, so they continue to work, continue to be treated poorly with barely enough food to survive, continue to try to win the Laurel that means more food. But it's all been a lie.
After a tragic event and a fake death, Darrow finds out that everything they've been told is a lie. People are already living on Mars, it's been habitable for 300 years, and it's been inhabited by the Golds. The Golds are a class of people that look down on Darrow and the rest of the Reds, they're the top of the hierarchy and all the other lesser colours, colours Darrow didn't know exist, exist to serve them. But the Reds are the class expected to work until they die, they're nothing more than slave labour.
Darrow takes up a rebel groups offer, and soon he is disguised, permanently made in to a Gold, to infiltrate their command school. His mission is to take down the oppressors from the inside. Reach a position of power and then destroy them. But first he has to survive the command school, and his first lesson? Being thrown in to a battleground with the rest of house, watched by the Proctors as they fight, make each other in to slaves and even kill, members of other houses. Darrow has to win, he was to be the Primus, because he needs the best offers to get to a position of power. But winning this little lesson isn't going to be easy, it's going to be bloody and it's going to be tough, and he's not the only one with an agenda.
Daammiiitttt, ANOTHER one for my new favourite series list, seriously, when books are usually hyped this much, I go in wary, but a few pages in I was hooked and I knew I was a goner, and now I'm all like "I NEED GOLDEN SON NOOOWWW WAAAA" tensely waiting for the next book. Don't even get me started on the movie. Need. So much need. This book truly deserves the hype because it is astoundingly unique and an utterly enthralling.
Like I said, I was sucked in from the first few pages, from then I was hooked the entire way through, frantically turning pages and feeling shock, sorrow and humour at various different points. Red Rising is is like Pringles. Once you pop you can't stop. Or in this case, once you start to read you can't stop. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it but you get the picture. It's fast paced, the prose is concise yet descriptive, there was an abundance of twists and turns, none of which I expected, which is always a rare thing for me lately. I was constantly shocked at a plot twist, believing whatever the author led me to believe, then finding out it was wrong! Red Rising is impossible to work out, impossible to predict, which is always a good thing!
The world building was just...wow. Cinematic, atmospheric, vivid, it totally draws you in and blots out the real world. It was created and established with such care and detail, the politics and such of the world are explained and detailed so you can understand the world entirely and understand how it works, which also helps to understand characters motivations. It's an intricately built world, with an incredibly intriguing history to it, and an interesting...I want to say layout...with the moon and other planets and everything, but that's not the right word, and I'm fairly sure after this little rambly tangent you'll know what I mean! Anyways, I do really love a world I can immerse myself in!
The characters, where all very well written and very complex. A couple of them had their own agenda's, a couple of them had way more to them than you originally thought, behaviours changed as a result of the setting they where in and the situation they where put in, and it was interesting to watch the characters adapt and change as they experienced the war game. Some of them handled it well, others did not, and it became clear Darrow wasn't the only one, there where others like him. I just found it so incredibly fascinating and well done, to see how these pampered kids, suddenly had this total shock and reality check and how they reacted to it, each characters reaction was very natural and organic, some adapted, some didn't, some adapted terribly, but it was fascinating. Every character was so strong and a lot of the secondary characters could standalone.
I loved the fact you first meet Darrow, then you watch him change over the course of the book, you watch him make mistakes, like when he went from being a very good leader to a crappy one, and then you watch him learn from his mistakes and the amount he grew and changed was fantastic. I felt he was very realistic, we all make mistakes in one form or another, we all lose sight of goals and need to have them reaffirmed and everything, and I really enjoyed Darrow, I just felt he was written realistically, he wasn't perfect, which made him more human.
I also have to mention that I really really really loved Pax, when you saw the other side to him, I seriously loved him, he made me chuckle more than once, and I can't even begin to described my sorrow when he was eliminated, I mean seriously. So many feels. I also really liked Sevro too, he was one of the characters where there was more than met the eye, and I really hope Darrow and his friends/lieutenants stick together and we see more of them together. I still don't entirely trust Mustang I have to admit, because I didn't suspect a thing and I was horrendously shocked and expecting the worse and everything. A truly fantastic bunch of characters!
I actually took the "which house are you" test before I read the book, and now I'm quite disgusted and disappointed I got Apollo!
I want to talk briefly about the connections being made with the Hunger Games, because I can see why. At points reading the part of the book where they're all in the battleground and at war, I got a very Hunger Games vibe, going on, because of the arena I presume. But I don't like the whole "oh it's like The Hunger Games but in space" shtick, because it's not at all. I feel like in this book, the stakes are higher for our lead, I love the Hunger Games I really do, but for me the world building, the characters and the plot where all more serious and more complex, Hunger Games is serious, don't get me wrong but it's also a lot about the love triangle, whereas in this, things are a lore more brutal, there's very little romance, and it has an entirely different vibe. This is not another Hunger Games, it's an entirely separate book that adds another breath of fresh air to the genre.
Like I said, the plot was complex, there where lots of elements, politics, background, history, how things work with the Houses and everything and the colours all woven in to along with our main arc to create a complex story, that was truly action packed and had all the severity the situation warranted. Yes it made me laugh in places, but it was at times brutal and at times very sad as it was humorous, but it was entertaining and engaging, and I love a plot that is very clearly well thought, and is not at all easy to figure out. There's lots of different elements to the plots, and there's lots of emotion. It has a unique setting, set up and premise, the majority of the book is unique, with the colours and the houses and so on.
I feel like the second book has been very well set up, very subtly, the main focus was on Darrow and what was going on right then, and what needed to be done next, but at the end there's a very subtle set up to the next book, and I say subtle because I have a very vague idea of what the next book will contain, at some point there'll be a showdown with Cassius, there's going to be lots of dealings with Augustus, but beyond that, I can't really predict what's going to happen next. I have a feeling it's going to be a very different set up and vibe to this book, meaning there won't be another battle field (well there could be, but I don't think so, not like the Hunger Games with the second arena) I feel like we're going to see the story moving more towards the endgame as it's the second.
Red Rising, I am so pleased to say, deserves all of the hype it gets, and I truly loved the book, and enjoyed reading it. It was emotional, at times funny, complex, engaging and unique. It really makes you think, about if the world was truly like that, what colour would you be? What would you do if you where a Red? You understand the characters actions, you see some truly great character growth and change and not just from the main character, and the book is truly unpredictable. You'll race through it, there's no info-dumps bogging down the narrative, and it's a truly fantastic book. I can't gush enough about it!
I am incredibly excited for the next book, I can't wait to see what happens to Darrow next, to get back in to this strange and fascinating world and to see my new favourite characters again!
4.0 out of 5 stars Strife on Mars,
Any dystopian novel that involves children killing one another is inevitably going to be compared to the Hunger Games. This is probably not a terribly useful thing to do, as the popularity of the Hunger Games far outstrips its quality. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the travails of Katniss when I read them, but the themes and ideas in the Hunger Games have been explored better elsewhere, before and since.
Red Rising does have the pace and excitement of HG, but it also has a better handle on human psychology, making it more reminiscent of Julianna Baggott's Pure Trilogy series. Unlike the regime Katniss is subjected to, the striated dystopia that exists in Red Rising is credible. You might actually set up a society that way if you were hell-bent on enslaving sections of the population. It might even work. In this respect the book is far more like Koushun Takami's masterwork, Battle Royale.
The novel opens with Darrow drilling at the bottom of a very deep mine shaft. Darrow is a 'Red', the lowest strata of Mars society. Red's are manual workers terraforming Mars for the rest of humanity. It's not an easy life. The Reds sit at the bottom the rainbow. Society is made up of a full spectrum of colours, with each one having its own specific function, most of which are designed to ensure the Reds keep digging. Sitting atop the chromatic pile are the Golds. To Darrow they are almost living gods. Cruel, impersonal and ruthless.
After Darrow and his wife are sentenced to a brutal whipping, for a minor misdemeanour, events quickly spiral out of control. Before he knows it Darrow is wrenched from his old life to become a cog in the machine of a clandestine group of freedom fighters. A cog maybe, but a vital one. Darrow has been chosen to infiltrate the Golds.
That summary offers little more than the blurb, and it's hard to review much further without spoiling things. In order to become a Gold and then work his way to the very top, Darrow must enrol in their most deadly games. What follows is a brutal capture the flag type game that echoes the titles mentioned above. It's compelling stuff, particularly in the early stages. Darrow must face test after test and even tests within tests. There are several factions, each mirroring aspects of a particular god. The rivalry between factions gives the book and additional dimension, as does the in-fighting within Darrow's faction. With a group of alphas all vying for control the result is pure Lord of the Flies.
Further tension is added by the need for Darrow to keep his identity secret. He must trust and be trusted by Golds, the people he hates most in his life. Leaving aside whether it makes sense to run a recruitment process that kills over half of your golden generation and mutilates most of the survivors (though you might wish it when watching the Apprentice), this is an exciting read. I would imagine post traumatic stress disorder most be very common amongst Mars's upper echelons. The book does require some suspension of belief and the final stages of the trial didn't really work for me. Having managed so well to keep his story on a human emotional level, Pierce's final chapters descend into an amorphous melee, which is a shame.
So the book didn't quite deliver on the promise shown. I'd probably give it silver rather than gold, but there is lots of great stuff here. It's moving in places, exciting and keeps you guessing as to what's going on. The final chapters set up nicely for book 2. Unlike the Hunger Games, Red Rising feels like it was always conceived as a multi-part story. Based on the strength of Red Rising, I'm very much looking forward to finding out what Darrow does next.
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully unique.,
Red Rising is a book that instantly caught my eye when it was displayed around Goodreads early this year, but i forgot to add it to my TBR to keep track of it. So when I stumbled upon the website BookBrigr, and saw that this wonderful book was available for review I just pressed request straight away. I received it the next day and tried to start it, but I wasn't in the mood. Knowing that I had to read it before the 25th of this month I decided to buckle down and just get on with it. What I didn't expect to find was me staying up in to the late hours of the night reading. It's something I very rarely do as I regret it so much the next day what with having a kid, but I didn't think about it. I was hooked.
On the front of the book there is just one quote from author Scott Sigler. it reads "Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow". That one quote is about the only thing you need to know about this book before starting it, because even though there is similarities to other popular dystopian characters or other popular dystopian books, there really isn't anyone like Darrow or the world that Pierce Brown has managed to create.
Darrow is a 16 year old Red, which makes him one of lowest of the color-coded caste. He, and the other Reds, live in a colony deep in Mars. Their job? make Mars habitable so that one day people can live on it. However what they weren't aware of is the Golds, the highest of the colour-coded castes, have been lying to them for years. Mars has already been terraformed and people have been living there for decades.
In one day, everything Darrow thought he know, everything he ever loved or worked for is taken away from him. So what does he do? he decides to become part of a group of revolutionaries. He has nothing left to lose, so when he's told they want infiltrate the Golds by enlisting him in the Institute, a prestigious school for society's elite, he doesn't look back. Despite the danger, despite the time it take him to get to where he needs to be, despite finding himself in situations where is them or him, he does what he has to do. He made a promise to Eo, his once wife and it's the only thing that keeps him going.
I'll be honest, when this book first started I wasn't' sure it was for me, I know a lot of people had problems with it before part two and ended up putting in their DNF pile, but as someone who has been there and felt it, I can't describe how happy I was to keep going. After part one this book has so much to offer, and though it drags and time seems to move without much happening, in the end the friendships formed, the commitment and struggle that Darrow has to go through to achieve his goal is worth it.
The characters in this book is one thing I loved the most. Darrow always stayed true to himself, even though he was made to look and talk different and become something that he's grown up hating. Even though there was a hint of attraction to new characters, he always remembered and loved Eo, never once straying from that despite how long it had been since he saw them. The sub characters in this book, just wow. Sevro and Pax, two Golds that Darrows finds himself forming an bond with, there were a lot of characters I liked but those two were my favourite.
The world building? in my opinion was faultless. There was a lot of things I didn't like about this book however, it contains some disturbing themes but they are handled right and in a way, completely necessary to the book and the development of certain characters.
In short, I loved this book and I can't wait to read the next one. Pierce Brown wrote a brilliant science fiction book that just proves that despite your age, you are never too old to enjoy a well written young adult book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Red Rising.,
Just finished reading Red rising by Pierce Brown – I confess that I went into this with maybe slightly negative feelings. I was feeling a little bit meh about another futuristic dystopian novel. Lets face it Collins was to dystopia what Meyers was to Vampires and frankly it became a little bit tedious to say the least. So, let’s just assume I was going to be a little bit of a tougher nut to crack on this novel than I sometimes feel when I start reading. This is the first thing that makes it so much more surprising that I totally enjoyed this book. Not only did Brown win me over but he gripped me and had the pages turning so fast that you could be forgiven for thinking I was Johnny 5 – need input!
Okay, the novel gets off to a fairly quick start. We’re introduced in short measure to the mining community and I’m talking about the mining community on Mars! These people work bloody hard – they have to make a quota in order to eat. The idea of luxuries is ridiculous beyond measure. These people have nothing – however, what they do have is love and passion in abundance. In that respect they are rich and their families bathe in the wealth of love that they all hold for each other. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of harsh competition between the different families, which is understandable given the benefits, but they all still have a fairly tight knit community. Now, all that, came across in fairly short measure. Brown has a wonderful eloquence with words that imparts knowledge without impeding the story. What happens next is eye opening for you the reader and for Darrow who is the main protagonist. Yes, we’ve both been taken for a ride here – by someone. There is some pretty deep s*** going on here! And, I don’t want to give it away – however, this is a review so I have to write something and I’m going to move the story on without telling you exactly why. Suffice to say that Darrow finds himself in a situation where he is part of a team, warring against other teams for the prize of becoming the best. This is not a fight to the death – this is a game of survival and tactics, a game of politics and making friends where you least suspected. A game where you can rise to the very top.
So, onto a more critical analysis. The setting. Easy to visualise. Nothing too over the top in the way of future sophisticated scenery just a glimpse, not enough to date the story too quickly. Basically the people on earth have discovered ways of colonising other planets. They need a certain gas (found beneath the exterior of Mars – hence the miners) in order to do so.
The characters – we have a brief glimpse at the beginning of the miners and they really do have the pretty fuzzy end of the lollypop, which makes the reveal so much worse. Obviously the main character is Darrow – and he’s a dilemma. He starts off the story with a fire in his belly. He is on a mission which is not necessarily the one he wants but it’s the only chance he has. Having read the book I’m not sure about Darrow I don’t dislike him, in fact the opposite, however I think that Brown is clearly trying to get across how a person is influenced by their environment. Darrow is in a competition and he wants to win. Of course he wants to win for a purpose and yet reading the story does he also start to become a tiny little bit like the people he most hates – anyway, I move into other realms. There are plenty of characters, slimy two timers, hench-can’t-be-stopped-don’t-mess-with-me-mothers and straight-up-crazy-arsed-in-a good-way-runs-with-wolves-and-scares-the-shit-out-of-everyone types. Basically there are good guys and bad guys on every team, in fact there are right and wrong people in every strata – and that’s the way it is and it starts to come out as the story goes along.
Anyway, the whole dystopia boils down to the fact that society has become segregated. People are born and live into a colour that defines them for the rest of their lives. Reds are miners, Golds are the top echelon of society and then there are a whole variety of colours in-between. Looked at in that way and in the way that the book is written it seems almost an exaggerated take on the class system. There are more stratas than upper, middle and lower class but at the end of the day it boils down to the uppers and lowers which are basically the ones where the disparity are most likely to show issues in any society. As an example, you have people of the upper stratas killing time and flying around on their hover boots chasing young girls to frolic away the afternoon whilst others of the lower factions are struggling to make a living and stay alive.
What makes this book so readable and so intense is the competition that Darrow becomes a part of. It’s really tough. I don’t know whether this is YA, but I personally thought it was due to the age of the main protagonist and yet this gets down right dirty and ugly. This isn’t a simple game of survival – it gets much more tough than that. It’s a gritty read and also reads almost like a straight up fantasy given the setting which during the games is almost mediaeval.
Anyway, this is a very cryptic review because I don’t really want to give too much away. I enjoyed this. I thought the writer’s style was addictive. I found the whole competition intriguing and I’m perfectly sure that I’ve missed a lot of nuances that I’m sure everybody else will pick up on. So read it and tell me what I missed.
A book which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) by Pierce Brown (Hardcover - 28 Jan. 2014)
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