Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

RR(1)“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

5 stars

Science Fiction |  Fantasy | Dystopia

Can I get a Howl-yeah for Red Rising? I mean seriously, it was gorydamn awesome. The characters were damn good with a hint of badassary, the world building was beyond phenomenal and the writing style was deliciously creative; all in all this was a gorydamn masterpiece. 

If that was all it took, this review would be over wouldn’t it? But I am sure you want more… lets dive in!

Obviously right off the bat the atmosphere is there.  Red Rising takes place on Mars where the lowest of the caste system is digging, the Reds. Darrow is our main character who is the youngest Helldriver in history of the colony, operating a drill-like machinery into the planet. Darrow is sixteen, married to his sweetheart Eo and living what he believes is the best life he can have or rather should have. To Darrow and to the rest of the Red caste population they are working to make the planet suitable for future generations. Unfortunately this is simply a lie, this is to keep the Reds living like savages, they are slaves to the higher caste populations and Eo discovers this (FYI, this is in the blurb of the synopsis, so this is not a spoiler). Ultimately this leads to Eo being executed, leaving Darrow to rise from the mines and take on the vengeance. Brought back to be created into a Gold, the highest of the caste system then he has one mission: infiltrate the rankings and bring them down. 

Darrow is the apple of my eye throughout this series. Something about him is just powerful. He is a reluctant hero thrown into a world he didn’t ask for, his life was ripped from his chest in mere seconds. It is gut wrenching to read his emotional battles, to feel his pain. The best part, Darrow is not perfect. He is completely and utterly flawed. He makes tough choices, the bad choices, Darrow becomes a monster of men but each time he makes a mistake he grows and learns. His growth is beyond riveting. 

Not only is Darrow the only lead man of my speckle heart, it is just the overall supporting cast that makes this a perfect blend of dynamics. Pierce created so many multi-dimensional characters, once the reader takes a notch off of the layer, another twist comes slamming into your face like a wrecking ball leaving you stranded trying to piece together the next puzzle. There are lackeys, psychopaths, sociopaths, degenerates, manaics, badassary in the highest levels of women – there is no limits to where these characters depths reach. There is a complete emotional connection built with the characters, as a reader there is investment. 

With such a great character backbone it almost seems insane that anything else is needed, but the world building is completely in a world of it’s own, literally. Although it is confusing at first – understanding the process, the caste system, the worlds and how the character revolve together, it is a lot to take in as a reader, but it is worth it. If there was anything not included I think it would have affected the story, overall it would have been detrimental to the plot. The moments of Darrow entering the institute with the other Golds, the atmosphere they are thrown in is just phenomenal. There is no other word I can say…

Honestly this is just a blend of survival of the fittest to society dynamics with the true face of what darkness can cause a human that boils into a true reluctant hero and his band and f howlers. Many people compare this to The Hunger Games, and although I see some similar elements this doesn’t compare. Pierce created a world that is rougher, harder, the emotional climb is beyond worldly depths that are untouchable. Everything is just more – comparing it to anything else is almost an insult in my opinion. The second you find yourself reading page after page, as the reader you are sucked into this world of everything bloodyhell brilliant; fantasy, dystopian, science fiction – the balance is perfect.

This is a masterpiece. Read it. You are welcome.

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