Red Rising by Pierce Brown
I’ll start this review by saying Red Rising is one heck of a wild ride! If you enjoy Dystopian novels with a fun fantasy/sci-fi twist, this one is for you.
Darrow is a Red….the lowest caste in a color coded society in the far future. Reds are the workhorses of society who believe they are working to make the surface of Mars inhabitable for future generations. They spend their very short lives sacrificing and working hard all the while believing they are making a better life for their children. Darrow’s job is to be a Helldiver and he operates a very large and complicated drill meant to mine Helium3 from miles deep under the surface of Mars. At sixteen years old, he is married to the love of his life, EO. One of the many things that I enjoyed about this story was that the romance between Darrow and EO wasn’t your typical dystopian teenage angsty type of love. Their relationship felt so real, authentic and genuine. The overwhelming love and admiration Darrow feels for his wife is so obvious and apparent.
All their lives, the Reds are taught to believe that they are both inherently different and less than other colors. Especially the Golds, who are the top caste and the governing force of society. What happens when Darrow finds out that everything he’s ever known his entire life is a lie? Mars already is inhabited….in fact, it’s a bustling, thriving and successful society and has been for a very long time. All the while, the Golds are content to let the Reds remain living and working underground solely to provide for them….basically keeping them as slaves. Soon after realizing this, Darrow is introduced to an underground group of rebels who wants nothing more than to stop the Golds and their selfish abuse of power. And they decide that Darrow is their man…the one who will infiltrate the Gold caste and take it down from within. Unfortunately for Darrow, he has absolutely no idea what it is he’s about to get himself into.
I know what you are thinking….not another Dystopian fantasy novel. But….wait! This is so much better and quite a bit different than most other Dystopian novels. Red Risisng is like The Hunger Games’ older, deeper, wiser, yet slightly more disturbed brother….with a little influence from his friend, The Game of Thrones. There is some fantastic world building in this novel which is one of the things I love about a good fantasy story….jumping out of everyday life, into a completely different world. This book definitely gives you that.
The cast of characters are also fantastic. Not a single one of the many people in this story are one dimensional or flat. Brown makes you feel for each and every one…weather those feelings are; sympathy, love, hate, anger or frustration…each character becomes so real. There are also some very epic and intense battle scenes that will make The Hunger Games feel like child’s play. Added to that are some fantastic strategy, betrayals and twists all throughout the story.
Red Rising is the first in a three book series that is a good mix of; dystopia, sci-fi and epic war/battle fantasy all rolled into one. This first installment is so good and finishing it has me very excited to move onto the second book, The Golden Son.
If this genre is something you normally like, definitely read this one!
My Rating: 4/5 Stars