Series: Red Rising #1
Published by Del Rey on January 28, 2014
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Science Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Amazon Vine
The war begins...
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow 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...
I bloodydamn loved RED RISING. It was a “stay up until my eyes bleed and keep reading anyway” book. I just couldn’t get enough of Darrow and his dark, violent world, and as soon as I turned the last page, I wanted to read it over.
I hate making comparisons, but if you took The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, Ender’s Game, Game of Thrones, and maybe even Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, threw them all together and put them hundreds of years in the future, you have RED RISING. However, this book isn’t a copy of any of those, but you can definitely see elements or inspiration from all of those (and probably more that I missed). Also, mentioning all those is the easiest way I can think of to describe it, since I don’t want to spoil a second of this book.
So, that said, RED RISING is original and super creative. I cannot remember the last time an author has surprised me so much. It’s so packed with action, betrayals, and plot twists that I was never sure who to trust, or even who was good and who was bad. At its deepest, RED RISING is about power. Who has it, who doesn’t, and what to do with it.
RED RISING is the story of Darrow, a 16 year-old miner who lives beneath Mars’s surface. He is a Red, and his job, along with all other Reds, is to prepare Mars for the other Colors. In Pierce Brown’s world, there are castes of colors, with the most powerful, Golds, on top, and the least, Reds, on the bottom. And when I say Darrow’s Red, I mean it — his hair, eyes, and skin are red. Same with the other colors. Browns (servants) are Brown. Grays (police) are Gray. The colors lock everyone into their slot in society, into their specific role and job.
Although Darrow is 16, he reads much older, and so I think RED RISING is a great crossover book, with wide appeal for both teens and adults. Reds mature quickly; at 16, Darrow is already married. He loves his wife Eo more than anything else, and when she is killed for an act of rebellion, her death thrusts Darrow into a search for vengeance and power. The beginning of the book is a bit slow, but it really establishes Darrow’s world and the difficult lives he and the other Reds have, as the “pioneers” of Mars.
Recruited by the Sons of Ares, a rebel group, Darrow undergoes a painful and lengthy transformation into a Gold. I loved that the whole transformation was detailed, since too often that sort of thing is swept over in books. The process was also a good bridge between the “Red world” and the “Gold world,” showing the differences between both. Gold society is influenced by Ancient Greek culture, something else I really liked.
Once Darrow passes the tests for the Institute, that’s when the real story begins. From that point on, I kept trying to flip ahead, because I was so eager to know what would happen next.
RED RISING easily makes my list of favorites, and I cannot wait to read the rest of this trilogy. With such a powerful debut, I know it’s going to be fantastic.
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