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Red Rising Paperback – July 15, 2014
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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 the Hardcover 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 the Hardcover edition.
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-- I am the spark that will set the worlds afire. I am the hammer that cracks the chains.
The beginning was a little predictable, I mean to create a man with an epic quest there must be a great injustice done to him. Darrow is that boy/man, while most boys of seventeen but he has seen and been through too much to be a boy any longer. Married to his childhood sweetheart Eo at sixteen he works for his clan mining underground on Mars so the planet can be terraformed for future generations. He works hard to provide for them but it seems that they are destined to be low forever. Eo has dreams to make their lot in life better for Darrow to stand up and rebel but he wants nothing except her.
-- “You think a dream is worth dying for. I say it isn’t. You say it’s better to die on your feet. I say it’s better to live on our knees.”
When Darrow finds out his entire life has been a lie, that mars is already terraformed and has been for generations he is recruited to rebel against the system by transforming from a lowly Red into a Gold, the rulers of the worlds who believe themselves to be Gods among men. Now he must infiltrate their system and become the best Gold possible so that in the future he can destroy them from the inside.
Red Rising is dark and intense, full of intrigues and betrayals. Even though the beginning is predictable the rest of the book is not. Just when I start to feel comfortable with the characters and the roles they are playing the rug gets pulled out from under me and I have a very new understanding of the game and the society that constructed it. No one is safe and no one is what they seem.
I loved some of the side characters, there are so many that are slightly off. It could be because they are brilliant but it could also be because they are crazy, perhaps both. Servo was one of my favorites and I was never quite sure what that guy was going to pull next.
-- “I killed their pack leader,” Servo says when I ask why the wolves follow him. He looks me up and down and flashes me an impish grin from beneath the wolf pelt. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t fit in your skin.”
Brown has given us glimpses into a vast and complicated world. We have only seen a small part of it so far but what I’ve seen is dark, cruel and intricate. Throughout the story Darrow stumbles and falls but the transformation of him from the beginning of the story to the end was amazing and you get to see every misstep and mistake along the way to make you believe the transformation. I can’t wait to see how Brown follows Red Rising up. Definitely a dystopian worth diving into.
I loved the beginning of this novel. The bleak life and hardship that the Reds face is so clearly mapped out. I really got a good feel for what life and culture was like for the Reds. I love a good sci-fi novel with a class struggle, so I was hooked from the beginning. The book takes a turn once Darrow gets mixed up in the revolution and finds out that everything he had ever been told was a lie. I found Darrow's physical transformation super interesting, and watching him try to change himself and struggle so hard with that was one of the things that I loved about this novel. It's something that I was glad that he constantly conflicted with throughout the novel. He had to find a way to appear like a Gold, but without losing his identity as a Red in the process. Not an easy thing to do, and I like that we saw Darrow not always succeed with this.
I will admit, I do feel like at times the pacing got a little too slow for me. Once Darrow is in the battlefield, parts of that just got too slow and boring for me. A lot of what happens at this point in the book is really important to Darrow's mission, so a lot of it was integral to the overall plot but...some of it just dragged on way too much. I was like, "I get it, can we just finish this battle now?"
Darrow was an interesting character to read about. I felt like he read more like an adult, which I think was fine in this case because he was a Red that had already had a wife and grew up a lot quicker than the Golds he was surrounded by. Dude was straight up diabolical at the end as he systematically started to take out all the big bads to win favor in the battlefield. While, I really enjoyed this, at times I thought he was super reckless! Like when they were forging his name into the institute and he refused to go by a Gold-like name and insisted on keeping his Red-name. I thought that was a really stupid plan, and I'm actually surprised more people weren't suspicious of him. He also makes a lot of bad decisions in the battlefield, even if he is trying to do the best for everyone. I really liked that about him, because although he seemed like this amazing hero, he also had a lot of flaws and sometimes he just failed. Sometimes it's okay to fail.
I think a lot of the characters in this novel were written really well. Some are just there to be background characters, which I think is pretty obvious, but Mustang and Sevro have to stand out the most from the other characters. I loved that Sevro was such a little psycho! I also liked that he was just so loyal to Darrow. He didn't ask questions, he just made sure things got done. I also really liked that we never knew what was with Mustang until the very end. I was real cautious of her the entire book, as I wasn't sure what her angle was. I'm still not entirely sure she still isn't just playing the game, and that's what made her so interesting!
I liked this book a lot, and I'm kind of mad that I didn't read it sooner! I would definitely recommend this for fans of The Hunger Games or Sci-fi fans in general.