Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising
Title: Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
Author: Pierce Brown
Social Media: Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Imprint: Del Rey
Price and Format: eBook at $12.99
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Pierce Brown’s first novel, RED RISING (Del Rey Books), debuts January 28, 2014. It is the first installment in The Red Rising Trilogy.Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign. Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

About The Book:
“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.

General Observations:

Excellent Narrative Elements: The plot is fascinating, the world building is brilliant, the motley crew of characters are engaging and the narrative has fast pacing. Red Rising is definitely one of those “Oops, I accidentally stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading” books. I understand how some critics are comparing Red Rising to The Hunger Games, but I enjoyed Red Rising far more than the predictable Hunger Games. In my view, Katniss always made the safe choice, there were no emotional stakes or morale ambiguity involved, this is not the case with Red Rising (and it is glorious!).

Didn’t Think This Through: While I get the premise of the Narrative, it does make me question, just how many Reds have been through the transformation process? Just where are the Sons of Ares getting funding for these clearly expensive transformation techniques? How are they keeping tabs on the situation? I understand that a certain select few of people will be watching Darrow perform at The Institute but do the Sons of Ares have connections to those people? It just seems like their “message in a bottle” mentality isn’t going to yield high results or it’s going to take an extraordinarily long time to make any sort of head way.

Stuffed into the Fridge: If it wasn’t for the fact that this writing trope is the narrative catalyst for the trilogy, I would have given it five stars, but alas.

RMFAO Genre Challenge 2016

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