Red Rising by Pierce Brown follows Darrow, a member of the lowest color class in a future class living on Mars. Darrow and his fellow Reds live under the surface of Mars, working hard everyday to build a better future for themselves and their planet. But they’ve been lied to.
Darrow realizes that humanity had reached the surface of Mars generations ago. The surface is scattered with sprawling buildings and luxurious lifestyles. The Reds are being used as work slaves for the higher classes.
Inspired by this betrayal, Darrow decides to infiltrate the higher Gold class. He must fight for his life and the future of civilization against other Golds. He must do everything he can to bring down his enemies, even if that means he has to become the one thing he hates.
Ordinarily I don’t read books that take place in space. It’s not that I wouldn’t give them a chance typically, it’s that I don’t actively seek them out. I’ve seen this book all over the place, in bookstores and online. There are many comparisons to the Hunger Games, which is a fairly accurate, except for the fact that this book was much more enjoyable for me.
“The measure of a man is what he does when he has power.”
I hate to compare this book to the Hunger Games, but it’s hard not to. The idea behind the book is very similar. There’s a higher class that dictates the lower classes and lives in luxury, while others live in poverty and ruins. There’s even a part of the story that involves fighting for your life in a brutal game reminiscent of capture the flag. I’ll stop there, in fear of spoiling anything! Let me start with the things about this story that I wasn’t thrilled about.
First of all, Darrow can’t do anything wrong. I felt like his character wasn’t quite flawed enough. He was always strong and always had an answer and justification for everything he did. He was stronger and faster and smarter than most. If someone can jump ten feet, he can jump twenty. You get the point. Another thing that slightly bothered me was the fact that I didn’t always feel like I was actually on Mars. This could be a bonus for people who aren’t fans of space books, although this could definitely change in the other books. There were some names of objects that sounded futuristic, which got confusing at first. But after letting the imagination take over, I found it easier to picture these things. Now, onto the things I really enjoyed about this book!
“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”
It was pretty neat getting a glimpse of some of the different of the different castes. They’re not as fleshed out in this book as I’m sure they are in the later books, but it gives you a good taste of what’s to come. There were some pretty exciting scenes in this book that felt like I was watching a brutal game of capture the flag. This was my favorite part of the book.
The story didn’t take a ton of time to explain the worldbuilding in advance, or the terms of objects throughout. You are basically just thrust into this world that everyone is already living in. I actually appreciate when an author can do this well, as it prevents the story from dragging and info-dumping. I believe this story did a pretty good job of worldbuilding without taking pages and pages to explain everything to you.
“Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.”
There were plenty of characters in this book and, surprisingly, I actually felt something toward a few of them. There were fun and crazy characters throughout and I genuinely enjoyed reading about a handful of them. Sevro and Mustang were absolutely lovely characters, which I really didn’t expect to love so much.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi book or even lovers of fantasy. This book is something very different, and I bloodydamn loved it. I can’t wait to read the rest of these books. I hope the other installments are as entertaining as this one was for me. Despite the very, very small issues I had with this book, I really enjoyed it.