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Red Rising Paperback – July 15, 2014
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2014: Look beyond the inevitable comparison to The Hunger Games--Red Rising is the first book of a gritty, complex trilogy that blazes its own trail. On desolate Mars, the protagonist, Darrow, is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, taking on a dangerous role in an attempt to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. By turns brutal and heartfelt, Red Rising is nonstop action with surprising twists and unforgettable characters. --Seira Wilson--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A lot happens in this first installment of a projected trilogy. Darrow, living in a mining colony on Mars, sees his wife executed by the government, nearly dies himself, is rescued by the underground revolutionary group known as Sons of Ares, learns his government has been lying to him (and to everybody else), and is recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of society and help to bring it down from within—and that’s all inside the first 100 pages. This is a very ambitious novel, with a fully realized society (class structure is organized by color: Darrow is a Red, a worker, a member of the lower class) and a cast of well-drawn characters. Although it should appeal to all age groups, there is a definite YA hook: despite being a veteran miner and a married man, Darrow is 16 when the novel begins. If told well, stories of oppression and rebellion have a built-in audience, and this one is told very well indeed. A natural for Hunger Games fans of all ages. --David Pitt --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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This power hierarchy has developed as humans have conquered the solar system, terraforming planets and establishing settlements as close as the Moon and as far as Pluto. And our hero Darrow soon learns that even within the various colors, there are still battles over social status. The struggles aren't just between the classes, but also within them.
And the more I read this book, the more I wondered what the author Pierce Brown had read. To be sure, we see influences from contemporary ("speculative") fiction, but also from the classics. We see the Olympians as named by the Romans and I detect inspiration from the Iliad.
It's almost as if the central part of this book is The Game of Thrones filtered through Harry Potter, The Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games.
Brown has not only read this modern classics, but has also studied political theory, as if he has not just read Machiavelli's Prince, but also absorbed Leo Strauss's understanding that book on gaining and maintaining power. And I daresay he has read some Clauswitz and that Prussian general and theorist's forerunners in the field of military strategy.
At times, it seems, there were more twists in this book that in the spiral staircase in the highest tower of Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle. And the ending is a bit over the top. But it is a fun read.
The very moment I finished it on my kindle, I pressed a few buttons and ordered its sequel.
A quick note:
Those who couldn't get past the first few pages: **Push your little bum through it!** I felt this struggle in the beginning too and actually put this book away for 2 years (!) , but when I came back and just jumped in, hit that 50-ish page mark, I was complete trash for this series and the author's writing!
The things that stood out to me about this book the most was the writing, I loved the highLingo `( camel-case (programmers unite!))` and the colored tiers. The hierarchy, how this all fits into a sci-fi world. How the world out there is so big and yet when we start reading, we can't even fathom the chaos and vastness of it all that is brewing right atop our favorite character's mine(read: home). We get to learn and journey along with Darrow and see the worst and some of the best parts of this new Terra-formed Mars and the world they live in through Darrow's dry-wit and perspective. We get to see him grow as a character tremendously and I can go on and on about the fine young man he has become after the events of this book. They are forced to make some of the hardest decisions in their lives during their testing, and seeing the character growth is in and of itself something to admire, if nothing else. But, once the ball gets rolling, no amount of bodies piled up together can stop it, so enjoy helldiver Darrow-life while you can.
This book is unapologetically clever, thought-provoking, ruthless, cunning, captivating, scary, and most importantly, it makes you reevaluate a lot of very important topics in society, not just in this fictional world. It's relevant right now.
<<<Spoilers to follow from here>>>
I made a note of when I officially fell in love with Darrow, Sevro, Pax, and Mustang(Virginia) on page 166. One of the sticky notes with less context simply stated: "all the goosebumps all the gorydamn time!" Books don't do that for me. I can usually see plot twists and characters being forced to say and do things to seem "good" in the reader's eye straight away, yet nothing was forced here. I was smacked upside the head every time there was a twist. I was still guessing right up until the last page.
A few more things I adore about the writing and the world/characters:
- The color castes and how you can be carved into a completely different person, not on the inside, my friends, all outside. Super strength, extremely good looks, a really tight little bum, some jingly bits, whatever you want, but inside...ohhh, inside they are still the same pigs/broken children/men/woman, etc. They talk to one another in such a way that it just makes you feel like you could easily fit in with them. Some are vile and just plain rude, others slap you in the face with a really well-crafted set of words. It feels like they could be my friends. I only speak for myself here, but I am extremely sarcastic and would fit right in using this kinda lingo! It's often said that those who are more verbose and non-beat-around-the-bushers are some of the most honest/loyal humans you get.
- ALL the betrayal, high stakes, very much of the Adrenalin, very much of the kill-kill and some stab-stab(okay, a lot). What got me shaking my head when I finished this was how real and utterly heartbreaking every second of their trial was. The loss and the betrayal and the realization of a society that is corrupt, as many are, and then when the trials were done and our brilliant little cinnamon roll Darrow and co. kicked some butt, it was over, just like that.
- He overthrew a freaking corrupt structure/society and did something no one would have dared. He took the fight to the ruthless idiots watching kids being murdered and tortured and doing nothing, and he then proceeded to stick their heads where the sun don't shine, one by one. Also, Epic battle scene!
And to get back to my point, here we have this high-stakes, life-and-death situation, and then when it's done, nothing. It's like it wasn't that serious, like lives weren't lost and that friends hadn't died and friends hadn't betrayed.
This makes me loves these books even more. It shows how terribly ruthless and full of sh$t this society and the hierarchy of it is. How we need Darrow and his band of misfits to overthrow society. To make a change or to just slingBlade an ArchGovernor's head off his fake body ^.^ (no this didn't happen bit it should!!)
Bloodydamn brilliant read. 10/10 would suffer the feels again!
R.I.P my sweet little Pax, you teddybear, you </3
I cannot say exactly that this book is wholly original either. I recognize many other books influence through the pages of Red Rising. Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies also come to mind. Yet it still feels fresh. Most important is how strong of a Main character Darrow is. He is the voice of the book. He is a very proactive protagonist.
This has some elements of YA to it but I never felt as if I was reading a YA novel. It all feels very mature in a way that things like the Hunger Games just didn't to me. So if YA isn't you thing don't worry.
My biggest compliant I have is there are a lot of side characters. I found it difficult to keep track of them all. Usually in first person books there is less side characters to keep track of. Since we never get a POV from them they can be forgettable. To many times he would be talking to a character and I would be at a loss for who they were exactly. That might be my own memory instead of a fault of the book.
I really loved Red Rising. I am excited to start reading book two. If the rest of the series delivers on the promise of this great book then this will be very special indeed.
Most recent customer reviews
Coming off a slow start (and I mean really slow start), <u>Red Rising</u>...Read more