Image from East of Readen
I should start off this post by saying I effing loved this book. I don’t think I’ve chowed through a book so quickly as I did this book in months… I legitimately couldn’t put it down. I had forgotten what that felt like.
If you even just liked The Hunger Games, go buy Red Rising. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, perhaps even loved the series, stop reading this post right now and just go purchase Red Rising immediately… because you’ll probably love it even more than The Hunger Games. Trust me when I say that you won’t be disappointed. I haven’t yet encountered somebody who didn’t love the novel.
Pierce Brown capitalizes on the current post-apocalyptic science fiction trend going on in Young Adult fiction (as well as science fiction as a whole) in his series, The Red Rising Trilogy. The first of the series, Red Rising, was released in January of 2014 and was on my to-read list for a multitude of months before I finally got to it in my Kindle queue in late December. I’m so regretting not pushing it to the front of the line immediately, since, like I said before, I totally loved this book.
Red Rising centers on the experiences of a young man named Darrow. Born into a caste-based society enveloping several planets, Darrow has spent his entire life in the the very lowest caste in the system: the Reds. In the Reds, you spend your entire life underground and reaching your 30s is a significant accomplishment as the mortality rate is so high… both due to an absence of medicines as well as their chosen role in society: to mine the core of the planets (in Darrow’s case, Mars) to help terraform the surface to make it livable for the higher castes. Yes, Darrow shines in his caste, he is strong and intelligent and great at his job, but at the same time he is content keeping the status quo. Until tragedy strikes and Darrow’s world is ripped away.
Saved by what he had grown up believing was a terrorist rebel organization, Darrow becomes a hero and a revolutionary… by being physically rebuilt from a weak lower Red into a god-like Gold (even his bone density has to be changed). As the rebel’s weapon, Darrow is thrust into the Golds’ training school (a competitive education in which Golds outmaneuver and even kill other Golds to ensure that the highest caste only allows the strongest to survive); in the Golds, and in the school, Roman mythologies play a huge role: you abandon your blood to choose your own house (kind of like in Harry Potter) named after Roman deities. Darrow, a lowly Red born to work and not to think, must learn to strategize, manipulate, and out-maneuver others to not only win – but survive.
If I keep going I’ll never stop and I’ll totally spoil the entire story so just trust me and go read Red Rising. You won’t regret it.