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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 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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Love the character of Ragnar.
Action sequences are very compelling.
Not a big fan of Reaper's self absorption musings though.
In fact, I read the series only after Ragnar beat Bombadil in the Cage Match.
Definitely a book I looked forward to reading in bed to go to sleep at night, and even sneaking in a few daytime pages in-between responsibilities.
Long book, and given that it's a series that I'll probably continue next, it may be a while before I emerge from the lives & place of these characters.
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.
The main character has very believable motivations, and his transformation from a singularly skilled nobody of an oppressed caste to a Society-breaker infiltrating the world of his oppressors is an enjoyable ride.
This novel is somewhat limited in it's scope by the author's decision to narrate the story solely in the first person. Thus some of the significant events in the story that would have been really fun to experience as they happened, instead you only find out about after the fact and in limited detail, as the main character finds out about them. Regardless, the relationships built, the shifting alliances, the stunning revelations, and the continuing struggle all make this one of the best new stories I've read since 'Ready Player One'.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be reading the rest of the series very soon. This could turn into something great.