Red Rising and its subsequent sequels hit the book world by storm. I’ve been hearing from friends who have read or listened to this series rave about it. So when the opportunity presented itself at MidAmeriConII to grab a free promotional copy, I jumped at the chance.
Red Rising is too much for me. Too much blood. Too much violence. Too much space. I just felt overwhelmed by everything in the story. I had the goal of finishing this one before Phoenix ComicCon which I did accomplish, but if I didn’t have that goal, I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to read. Maybe if I hadn’t pressed myself to finish the book, I could have taken breaks from the blood and violence and not have been so overwhelmed.
The world Darrow, our main character, lives in is amazing. The idea that humans could colonize Mars seems realistic based on advances in the private world of space travel. It doesn’t surprise me that humans find a way to ruin the colonization experiment that seems to be a mash up of the districts in The Hunger Games series and the profiling in the Divergent series. The unique twist on the hierarchy is that it is rooted in Roman mythology. So I had to search the dusty corners of my mind (and Wikipedia) to remind myself who the gods and goddesses were and their role in the Roman culture and how that connected to the story within Red Rising. The fact I made the effort to do a little research outside the novel, in my mind, is proof I enjoyed the story on some level.
I often forget that the Roman culture, which made many technological advances, was also bloody and violent—conquering the known world, gladiators, and crucifixion. This violence is magnified in Red Rising as Darrow and his fellow classmates move through their final challenge at school and get access to better and better tech and become more strategic about their battles. By the end, all the violence, blood and killing started to wear on me and I actually started to hate pretty much everyone in the story.
Was my experience with Red Rising entirely negative? No, Darrow’s mission and passion took me in until the violence ratcheted up to 11. At that point, all seemed lost and I couldn’t take it any more along with a two or three poor character reveals, on the whole I was disappointed with Red Rising in the end.
This review was originally posted on Second Run Reviews
- Started reading
- 21 May, 2017: Finished reading
- 21 May, 2017: Reviewed