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 Terri M. LeBlanc on

3 of 5 stars

Another #ShelfLove book bites the dust. Another free book from MidAmeriConII bites the dust. I’m sensing a theme in my reviews lately. Apparently, subconsciously, I’ve decided to take the #ShelfLove Challenge head on this year!

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

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 21 May, 2017: Finished reading
  • 21 May, 2017: Reviewed