Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Year of Publication: 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Number of Pages: 382
Summary: From Goodreads: “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.”
Review: Red Rising falls into the category of Bookstagram made me read it. After seeing so many people raving about how much they loved it, I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, once I finally got around to reading it, I was disappointed by it.
There are two main reasons why I wasn’t a fan of this book. The first is because it felt like a blend of a bunch of dystopian novels. The Institute reminded me of The Hunger Games, and the society felt very Orwellian. It’s not that these things are necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that I’m generally not a big fan of dystopian novels.
The second reason why I didn’t like this book was that I didn’t care for any of the characters. I wasn’t a fan of Darrow because he was too much of a reluctant hero. I felt like he was doing everything for all the wrong reasons and that he didn’t truly believe in the cause. It was obvious that he would rather either be dead or back at home and that he was doing everything because someone else told him to do it. I found it difficult to root for him because it was clear that he didn’t believe in his cause.
I found that the middle of the book dragged too much. The slow plot made me almost not finish the book and the only reason why I finished it was because two of my friends were reading it at the same time as me. I also had a hard time keeping track of all the minor characters in the book, and I found myself going back to try to figure out who was who and what was going on.
Despite all my negative comments about the book so far, I do have a few positive things to say. I liked the beginning of the book, and I liked Eo. I liked Eo’s drive and passion and I wish some of her drive and passion would have rubbed off on Darrow. I also didn’t mind the ending of the book, I found the final battles to be exciting, and I appreciated some of the plot twists. If I had to pick a favourite character, I’d choose Sevro because he is driven, sneaky, creative, and loyal and because I’m pretty sure that the only reason why Darrow found any success was because of him.
Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I find that for me, it’s the characters who make or break a book, and in this case, the main character broke the book for me. I may at some point pick up Golden Sun and Morning Star because I’ve heard that they are a lot better than Red Rising, but at this point, I’m not in a hurry to check them out.
Favourite Quote: ““Funny how a single word can change everything in your life.”
“It is not funny at all. Steel is power. Money is power. But of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.”
I look at him for a moment. Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart. I come from a people of song and dance. I don’t need him to tell me the power of words. But I smile nonetheless.”
Rating: 2/5 Stars