Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Published by: Random House
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
Let me tell you about my journey with Red Rising. When I first got an email telling me the eARC was available, I deleted it without much thought. Then a week or so later I started to have second thoughts about deleting that email and went ahead and requested the book. Then once I got it, I kept putting it off and began regretting getting it. Yeah, I was all over the place. Finally I decided to give it a try. I vowed to give it at least 60 pages so I could say I gave it a go, because I was almost certain that I was not going to finish it. Ha! What a fool I was! Red Rising turned out to be … well, it was absolutely freaking brilliant.
I could tell this book was going to make it as a 2014 favorite of mine before I even got 40% in. And it’s only January! I was so extremely engrossed in Red Rising, that I had a very difficult time getting my mind out of that world when I stopped reading it. Not even joking, I couldn’t stop wanting to talk like the characters in the book for the rest of the day after I finished it. That’s how immersed I was. The writing and the world building is magnificent. Even though I couldn’t stop reading and wanted to find out what happens, I found myself trying to read it slowly so I could absorb all of its greatness, savoring every word. I did not want it to end!
The characters … oh, boy! Darrow was by far, one of the best male main characters I’ve read. He has a heart of gold, but he also has a fiery personality. He manages it well though, and is usually smart about it. The times he messes up, he acknowledges it and learns from it. He is constantly evolving throughout the book. When I think about Darrow at the beginning of the book compared to the Darrow at the end, it makes me smile. I consistently loved him the whole time and I’m proud of the person he became.
There were so many exceptional secondary characters, that I don’t even know where to start. I guess a good place would be with Eo. She’s only in the book for a short time at the beginning, but their love was so beautiful. I still get a bit weepy thinking about it. Then there are the colorful people that he meets once he learns the truth about the surface of Mars being populated, who take him from being a Red to being a Gold in order to destroy them. Once he gets into the school with other Golds, the characters are fantastic. I loved them all, good and bad. They made me laugh, cry, angry, and everything in between. I loved every minute of it. There are a lot of characters, but there is so much depth to each one that they all make a tremendous impact. Even from the briefest meetings.
The book takes place over a two year time period, and the author executed this perfectly. There is so much change and growth that it does feel like you’ve been on a long journey with Darrow. Yet, the story keeps a steady pace and is always interesting, so it doesn’t feel laborious. It can be pretty violent and dark at times, which I loved. And damn, the strategy and battles kick ass.
I took a ton of notes while reading Red Rising, because I didn’t want to forget any of it. There are so many aspects that I would love to discuss, but it feels a bit overwhelming. I mean that in good way. I have so much love for this book, that it’s hard for me to fully express all of the whys. I’m telling you though, if there is a book to read in 2014, Red Rising is it!
Update – it’s the day before this review will go live. I read Red Rising and wrote the review almost a month ago, and it’s still cemented in my thoughts. Can I please have the second book already?