Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Published: January 28th 2014 by Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction (YA)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: 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.
Confession time: I actually read this in March of 2017. I know, almost a year ago! As I’m writing this review, I’m reading the sequel, Golden Son. While reading that, I wanted to look back on my review of the first book -which is when I realized I never actually wrote a review on it. Oops! So here I am, almost 1 year later to tell you that I really loved this book.
The first thing you have to know is that this is the story of a rebellion. The Reds have been mining beneath the surface of Mars for ages, trying to make the surface of Mars an inhabitable place. Little do they know that Mars has been inhabited for centuries -and so have the other planets. Darrow finds out that the Reds have been enslaved for centuries. His wife, Eo, shows him the truth. Then something happens to make Darrow want to fight back. He joins the Sons of Ares, the rebellion, who turn him into a Gold (the ruling class) so he can infiltrate them and bring their society down.
I have to admit that I was hesitant to pick this up. First, because it’s science fiction which is a genre I haven’t read much of. Second, because it’s a rebellion story. After The Hunger Games and the rise of dystopian stories, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all read a lot of rebellion stories with a teenager/twenty-something as the catalyst. I’m glad I picked this up though, because I ended up loving this book.
Somehow, this feels like a true rebellion to me. This story is very dark, violent and brutal which is what makes it a realistic rebellion story to me. Pierce Brown does not pull any punches here. Darrow finds himself questioning whether the end justifies the means. As he infiltrates Gold society and works to rise to the top, he has to do some terrible things himself. Is he still the man Eo loved? How does this make him any better than the Golds? He becomes very morally grey, adapting to the situation to survive.
I was forged in the bowels of this hard world. Sharpened by hate. Strengthened by love.
I feel like I can’t say much about the plot of this book because you need to go into it with a clear mind. Red Rising is pace-wise divided into two parts: the first part features a lot of worldbuilding and setup, and the second half is an incredibly fast-paced read, and twists and turns will continuously take you by surprise.
I found myself surprisingly attached to the side characters as well. Sevro, in particular. I have to admit that it can become kind of confusing as many of the Golds have several names. They have their official birth names related to their family, then nicknames and sometimes stations, etc. Especially when starting the second book, I was confused for a while.
Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart.
I had high expectations before starting this book, because I’d heard so many people rave about it. And I’m happy to see that the hype didn’t ruin this book for me. I absolutely loved it, and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a gritty and intense rebellion.
I am the spark that will set the worlds afire. I am the hammer that cracks the chains.
There you go, my thoughts on Red Rising! Only about a year late… Sorry!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?