red rising trilogy
author : pierce brown
pages : [hardcover] 382
memorable quote : You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.
favorite characters : mustang & darrow
(note: I found this book more fun to read without reading this summary, which now that I see it I feel gives away a little too much of the plot!)
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s 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 on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that 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.
I’ve been wanting to read Red Rising for a while because I’ve heard great things about it! I’m glad that I finally took a chance on it and picked it up as a great ebook deal, because I think that I’m going to end up really liking this trilogy.
Darrow’s world is really interesting. Of course it has a few of the same elements as other dystopian novels, excepting the fact that this one is set on Mars and humans have colonized many moons and a few planets–if you can call them human anymore. People are classified by their color, which determines everything about their lives. Where they work and live, what resources they have available, who they answer to. Darrow is a Red, on the bottom of the ladder, and he’ll live and die beneath the surface of Mars. Never to see the sun or the fruit of his labors as he strives to make Mars habitable.
As a main character, I liked Darrow. He was more complicated than I’m used to seeing in novels like this, where a rebellion will rally around a single individual for their cause. He wanted nothing to do with the rebellion and finds himself swept up in it–so, obviously, he isn’t perfect, and isn’t inclined to follow orders either. I loved that I couldn’t quite tell what his decisions would be because he was continuously struggling to consider whether he should do things for his own good, and his personal agenda, or if he should follow the guidance of the rebellion.
One thing I disliked about this book is how much time and how many events are covered and rushed through. The transition between Darrow’s ignorance and then his involvement is very abrupt, with not enough writing to emphasize his transformation to make it up to me. Obviously anyone going through that extreme of a change would be greatly affected and I feel like the writing kind of skimmed over what that would end up doing to him, in favor of pushing forward plot points and then, confusingly, throwing him into games where people really aren’t supposed to die but surprisingly end up dying pretty often. You would think the Golds would either realize they shouldn’t be killing all of their best and brightest, or that they should change their rules so they aren’t contradicting themselves.
I do really look forward to the second book, because I can’t really imagine where it will go and I love the overall concept of these novels. I feel like I would have liked Red Rising a lot more if it hadn’t suddenly gone from cool, unique science fiction into a Roman gladiator Hunger Games, but I’ll still give it four stars because it was great enough to leave me wanting to read more.