- Series: Red Rising (Book 1)
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034553980X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345539809
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4,448 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Red Rising Paperback – July 15, 2014
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“[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
“[A] great debut . . . The author gathers a spread of elements together in much the same way George R. R. Martin does.”—Tordotcom
“Very ambitious . . . a natural for Hunger Games fans of all ages.”—Booklist
“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow: Pierce Brown’s empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision.”—Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic
“A Hollywood-ready story with plenty of action and thrills.”—Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of . . . Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games . . . [Red Rising] will captivate readers and leave them wanting more.”—Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Pierce Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, and Dark Age. His work has been published in thirty-three languages and thirty-five territories. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next novel.
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Society in Red Rising is a caste system (based upon birth), where the inhabitants fall into a hierarchy of 14 “colors” representing their ranking within society. At the top of the hierarchy are the Golds, who through genetic and surgical manipulation have evolved as superior human beings. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the Reds, who are unskilled manual laborers, conditioned to a brutal environment. The remainder of society falls into one of the other “colors” that fill a specific need within society.
Red Rising focuses on the Golds and Reds: the Golds rule society with an iron fist and no compassion; the Reds toil all day in their underground city where they remain miners from generation to generation. These Reds have no actual knowledge of the rest of society; they have been deceived into believing that by mining helium-3 they are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. In reality, Mars and the rest of the solar system had been successfully colonized centuries earlier. The Golds control not only what and where the Reds live and work, but what they know. Our hero, Darrow, is a Red. He and the Reds like him are essentially slaves to a decadent ruling class, enslaved for generation after generation with no voice and no hope.
But there are those who have learned the truth and want change. The story takes shape as Darrow is rescued by a group of rebels known as The Sons of Ares; Darrow has been selected to infiltrate the Golds at its highest levels.
The book is fast paced and exciting, although it takes roughly two thirds of the book to establish the backstory. This is both a positive and a negative: it takes a long time to get to the exciting part, but one of the things I liked about this book is the in-depth character development and backstory. I gave this book a rating of four out of five due to the excellent character development and backstory, and the quick pace once it reached its stride.
Series general review: Recommended. First book is the strongest, a more gut wrenching, better written version of the Hunger Games. Books 2-3 are OK. The sequels are dragged down by: 1) Time lapse/gap between books. 2) Poor characterization.
Book 1: 5, Book 2: 4, Book 3: 3
Book 1: 5 Stars
Overview: Red Rising follows Darrow. A young slave born into a mine working family. After suffering loss and hardship he must make a choice: continue on as before? end his life? or strike back at the oppressors? What follows is basically GATTICA and The Hunger Games. On Steroids.
+ Overarching themes. A back and forth look at the human spirit, what drives people, and what people are willing to overcome.
+ Awesome world. The author does a great job building a plausible universe. It is detailed and interesting. While certain sci-fi elements don't pass the logic test, it is an enjoyable universe.
+ Does a good job with keeping the protagonist 'human'. No infallible/invincible characters here.
+ An exciting read. Hard to put down
+/- Most stories pull you into following a person, this story pulled me into following a movement, an idea of change. I did not particularly like Darrow, but that didn't take away from the story.
+/- Bloody. Themes include slavery/rape/torture/cannibalism.
- Written POV. Best described as First Person masquerading as Third Person Limited. We are basically watching a story unfold with limited information into Darrow's mind... but the story is filled with: 'I did...'.
- Relatively poor characterization. Most characters are stereotypical with limited growth. The characters that do show changes are recycled: as the series goes on, the same 'growth' is applied to 3-4 other characters.
And yet one day, four days ago to be exact, a copy happened to fall into my lap and upon reading the first page I was instantly, irrevocably HOOKED. I write this now having ripped through the entire trilogy in THREE DAYS.
Did I surreptitiously read it on my phone at work? YES. Did I battle exhaustion trying to read one more chapter into the late, late night despite loving sleep almost as much as chocolate? YES. Did I pounce on every vaguely bookish person I know and blather with the crazed look and incoherence of a fanatic about this novel, despite not even being a sci-fi reader? YES.
Don't be put off by the proliferation of all caps in my review. I haven't been this excited about a book in such a long time, plus I was in a bit of a reading slump, having been adrift in a sea of discarded books. So you must forgive me.
Okay, I will concede that the comparisons to Hunger Games and the Lord of the Flies have merit. Not only that, there are heavy Greek and Roman allusions. There are recognizable, familiar elements. This is after all a classic Hero's Journey. The lowly Darrow, motivated by grief and revenge manages to rise to the highest strata - to even the realm of the gods.
It is not original and yet it is. Like Sevro and the Howlers and the rest of the House of Mars, I want to follow Darrow and see what next audacious step he takes. I was constantly surprised, on the edge of my seat trying to see how he would win or recover from a failure.
I'll admit there are problems. The female characters do not seem fully realized. There's a helluva lot of rape going on. But even with its flaws, Red Rising slayed me. I was all in from the first line to the last. I got the next book after a hundred pages in.
One thing I am thankful for, having come into this series rather late is that I had the entire trilogy at my disposal, reading one right after the other, without that agonizing long wait in between.
So far, Red Rising is probably #6 (out of 35) in my top reads of 2017.