Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Ray
My Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: 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. Break the chains. Live for more.
“Love and war are two different battlefields.”
What a unique book that takes you on a RIDE. (Woo!!) This book is not short on action and will have you turning the page until you’ve realized you finished the book and it’s early in the morning and you have responsibilities but you don’t want to do anything but READ MORE OF BROWN’S WRITING. The wonderful Pierce Brown has a very distinct writing style and I’m sure I could point it out even after reading 50 other books after this one. With that being said, it’s an amazing writing style, even if things were hard to picture sometimes BUT…with a world this complex and crazy (good crazy) it’s hard to get it all perfect. Although it isn’t perfect, Pierce Brown gets pretty darn close to it.
Basically, to summarize it more than the synopsis…Darrow takes this task of becoming a Gold (the highest ranked in their society) from a Red (what he currently is, which is at the absolute bottom of society). Although becoming a Gold seems like the hardest part of it all, it isn’t because he’s about to cause a good ‘ole darn rebellion within this system.
Red Rising is THE densest book I’ve read so far, ever, in terms of the world building required to get into the plot/story line. Honestly, I commend any author that can have me like a book that doesn’t have romance that’s jumping at you through every nook and cranny. The beginning of the book may have been filled with new vocabulary galore and terms that have your head spinning, but you get adjusted to it and you start enjoying the story. Like I said, I do really really enjoy how there wasn’t a romance up front because the transformation Darrow, the main character, goes through is amazing to read and compare. The fact that this character does a complete 360 is mind-blogging and it’s amazing to read it and see how the experiences shape Darrow. He goes from this loving and selfless but driven character to one with purpose and a burn to make things right and equal for the Reds of society.
THIS BOOK has so many characters. Such. A. Big. Cast. AND I LIKED IT. But holy darn was it confusing, even until the last page. I did however enjoy the presence of ALL of them. Darrow of course, Cassius, Antonia, Mustang, Pax, Sevro, Titus, the Jackal, the Proctors among others were all such great additions to the story. The deeper you get into the story, the more you realize how deep this story is and how serious the issues these SIXTEEN year olds are dealing with (the story does end with Darrow being 18, though). Honestly, I could NEVER endure what Darrow, Antonia or Mustang endured…but then again I am not a Gold.
Okay so Darrow, Darrow, Darrow…Darrow is one hell of a character. He makes these decisions and you’re just like OH MY GOSH while reading but there are reasons behind everything. Pierce Brown does a fantastic job of setting up strategies and the bonds formed amongst specific characters. The chemistry and togetherness (let’s hope that is a real word) of this story just works so well. The setting is done beautifully, along with the characters, as I said, and the way Pierce makes this story dark and gritty and REAL is also done very well. Golds are trained to be ruthless (or at least some are) and the events that occur reflect that, and the fact that Darrow adapts to the life of a Gold so seamlessly (or how it seems, because we all know the process he had to go through, if you’ve read the novel) is projected really well to the reader.
So basically, all in all this was a FANTASTIC first installment to a trilogy I very well intend on completing! Only complaints however were that at some instances (particularly maybe 80%-90%) in the novel, things dragged a little and I just wanted to get to the end and see how things wrapped up. Also, just the immense cast made it a tad bit hard to distinguish who was who and just keeping a mental list of everyone was a bit tough at times. Regardless of those two little things, this was SO SO GOOD! I definitely reccomend it!