Red Rising by Pierce Brown

December 11, 2013
Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Also by this author: Golden Son
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-01-28
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley
Also in this series: Golden Son

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five-stars

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.“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 reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds 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.BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Pierce Brown's Golden Son.Praise for Red Rising  “[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today   “Red Rising is a sophisticated vision. . . . Brown will find a devoted audience.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch“A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews   “Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down. I am already on the lookout for the next one.”—Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Sword of Shannara  “Pierce Brown has done an astounding job at delivering a powerful piece of literature that will definitely make a mark in the minds of readers.”—The Huffington Post   “Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . a must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian epics.”—Examiner.com   “[A] great debut . . . The author gathers a spread of elements together in much the same way George R. R. Martin does.”—Tor.com   “Pierce Brown’s empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision.”—Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. How to write a review for this one? Well, just to start, I will say it was fantastic. This is a fast paced book that is very hard to put down.  It is a story of life, of love, of society, of justice, of evil and of vengeance. It is also dark. Yes, there are similarities, parallels to other books out there, but I did not feel like I was reading the same story or reading it in quite the same way. Hunger Games, Ender’s Game (there is even a reference to Ender’s Game) are the first two books I think people will compare it to. But you can find similarities to even Kingkiller Chronicles, Blood Song and Harry Potter (it’s like a ‘roided out cut throat Hogwarts). But, just because Red Rising may be reminiscent of parts of other novels does not mean that it tells an unoriginal story. It has it’s own story to tell with Darrow in the center.

In a universe (because this goes beyond just one world), Darrow is born to the lowest of low of the castes. Castes are so separated here, they you can tell what caste a member is from by their coloring. Darrow is born to work in the dangerous mines of Mars, slaving for barely enough to eat. He lives the very hard life of a Red, where the repercussions for not following the rules are very harsh and brutal. A hard life with a harsh punishments, ruled over by pretty much every other level of society. The reds work underground, never seeing the sky or stars and breaking their backs in hopes of creating a refuge for people from a dying earth.

Or so they think. Darrow comes to find that civilization has come to the surface of the planet generations earlier. The refuge has already been built and the Reds have been left in darkness as unknowing slaves to the system. Now throw in a heartbreaking personal tragedy caused by the highest of society and we find our protagonist joining with resistance group on the road to vengeance.

I like Darrow quite a bit. Yes, a good number of things come very easy for him. He excels in his life as a Red, and proves to be highly adaptable. But, he is also not perfect, he makes mistakes, he has weaknesses. He appears to be a fallible character who just happens to greatly excel in some areas. So, the question becomes, will this fallible, yet highly skilled person from the lowest caste of society be able to penetrate the Gold class and help the resistance group take them down from within? According to the doctrine, absolutely not. He should not be able to physically or intellectually come even close to being able to compete with Golds. He is after all, just a lowly, dimwitted Red. But if he does, how will he react to living the life of a Gold? Do they have it so much easier than the Reds? Are they born evil because of their place in society? Or will he face a dilemma as he gets to know some of these people he hates. The people born to the Gold caste who he blames for all that was taken from him.

To find the answers to some of these questions, you’ll just have to read the book. For others, you’ll have to read the series (because they are still not answered). I absolutely recommend reading this one, it is dark, it is fast and it is exciting. And the second one is on my must read list as soon as it becomes available.

Red  Rising will be released January 28th 2014  by Del Rey (Random House). Many thanks to  Del Rey (Random House) and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

five-stars

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