Book Reviews

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 28-01-2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★★


The storyDarrow is one of the Reds burrowing deep into Mars to mine the elements needed to terraform the planet so that the other colours can one day join them.  Or so he believed.  Helped by a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow is disguised as a Gold, one of the ruling class, and manages to obtain entry into The Institute, where Golds learn and compete for apprenticeships.  Darrow hopes to work his way up from the inside, but the Institute may be more than he bargained for – and he soon finds out that not all Golds are created equal.

The story is dramatic, gripping and full of twists and turns – but it’s also dark and gritty.  If you’re expecting fluff, or romance, or anything of the like, put Red Rising down and step away!


The characters
Darrow is great.  I can definitely understand the comparisons between him and Ender (of Ender’s Game). Both are old beyond their years, occasionally ruthless and hrd, but also compassionate.  Darrow is, with good reason, driven by fury and hatred of the Golds, and it’s absolutely impossible not to sympathise with him.

Brown’s writing is evocative and emotional, and it will suck you into Darrow’s mind and world.  You feel Darrow’s heartbreak, his rage, his shock, as he does.  His love for Eo comes through so clearly which also makes him very easy to like.

There are a lot of characters in Red Rising but it’s hard to comment on many without spoiling elements of the story.  I will say I thought the women were great – Eo, Mustang and – to a lesser extent – Harmony are strong, fierce, opinionated and independent women you can’t help but like.


final thoughts

Red Rising was slightly darker than I expected – more adult than YA I would say – but I really liked it despite, or perhaps because of, that.  It’s refreshing to read a dystopian novel that stands out, both because of the unusual setting and the dark events that Darrow and the other characters are put through.

There were a few things I didn’t think were perfect about Red Rising.  For one thing, the language took me a little while to get used to, and the sheer number of Houses was a little confusing at first, but overall I really enjoyed Red Rising and I’ll definitely be getting my hands on book 2!

Buy it? This is one I think is worth buying.
In a nutshell: A hugely absorbing start to the series – I can’t wait for the next book!

Other Reviews of Red Rising: Not Yet Read | Popcorn reads | Fantasy Book Cafe

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