Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)

by Pierce Brown


Pierce Brown's heart-pounding debut is the first book in a spectacular series that combines the drama of Game of Thrones with the epic scope of Star Wars.


'Pierce Brown's empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision . . . Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow' - Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

'[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field' - USA Today


Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

Reviewed by Joséphine on

3 of 5 stars

Initial thoughts: Red Rising can be divided into two parts: the first 14 chapters/quarter of the book, and the rest of the book. The first book was absolutely dull, the main character had no personality, Eo was the Juliet to Darrow's Romeo, and I actually wished for them that Chapter 6 had been the obliterating end. The writing style was stuffy and lacked any form of distinction. In short, I was bored to tears.

Anyhow, I pressed on because rarely do I have it in me to DNF a book. Also, friends and reviews insisted things would get better. They were right, the plot took off. The writing style evolved too once the stakes grew — it became cruder. Some readers, I'm sure, enjoy that sort of language. I'm not really one of those but at at least it was less dull as a result. Besides, when primal instincts of characters surface, that's a fair choice of tone.

Plus, Darrow grew less dull as the book progressed. I wouldn't say he became relatable but I did want to know how things would turn out for him. Although, I found Sevro and Mustang far, far more interesting. They're the ones who defied expectations. Darrow's path on the plot arch was way too straight forward in the end.

That being said, I'm kind of done with dystopian games that adults force on youngsters for their personal entertainment. I'll still read The Hunger Games eventually (I know, I know!) but beyond that, they're starting to lack originality. What Red Rising did serve was brutality, which kept pushing the envelope, taunting me to guess the limits. That, more than anything else, is what made it an engrossing read after all.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 28 December, 2018: Finished reading
  • 28 December, 2018: Reviewed