By Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy, Book 1
My Rating: 5 Stars
Top Pick of 2014 right here people!!!! That’s all you need to know…now go out and buy this book. Someone comes into the library and says “Can you recommend a good book?” My answer is “Yes. Have you read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising? No, well here you go. It’s not just good, it’s great. Now go home and devour this book like you would a piece of pie.” They generally laugh and think I’m insane, then they come back a few days later and say “Whoa, that book was awesome. Do you have the next one?” They always know from the look on my face that we have a long wait ahead of us for the next book in this series. But they better get in line because I already have my name on the first copy to arrive. Seriously, no one has hated this book. In fact, the last time I checked it’s one of Amazon’s Top Picks for 2014. Don’t believe me, check out some of the other reviews of this book and perhaps you’ll be swayed.
The only way I can describe this book is sci-fi space meets the hunger games. Intrigued? Confused? Still not interested? Ok, here goes….
Darrow is a Red, which is the lowest Caste in a color cast system. He and other Red’s toil beneath the surface of Mars where they mine helium-3 which is used in the terraforming process on Mars. The Reds work below the surface, never seeing the stars, so that colonists from Earth can come to Mars and live. Darrow, believes that his hard work and sacrifice is done to help the human race. But Darrow soon learns that everything he knows is a lie. In fact, Reds are nothing but a slave race to the Golds, the rulers of their society. Darrow has never been to the surface of Mars, so when he discovers that he’s been lied to his entire life and generations before him have been lied to by the Golds, he wants revenge. The truth is painful as Darrow, tries to come to terms with the fact that the Mars surface has been terraformed for hundreds of years and there are entire cities, parks and communities on the surface who live with the knowledge that Reds continue to slave away below the surface, never knowing anything about what happens above them. When Darrow loses everything he holds dear, he sacrifices everything to join a silent rebellion that seeks to overthrow the Golds from within. Darrow has been chosen to infiltrate The Institute, a school of sorts where the next generation of ruling Golds are trained. What happens at The Institute is a mystery, and they can only guess at what Darrow will face once he arrives. What is certain is that Darrow will have to fight for his life amongst the best and most vicious of the ruling class. But in order to beat them, he must give up everything he’s ever knows including himself. He must become one of them to beat them.
In Red Rising, Brown has created an original and highly complicated world. It will take you some time to learn the dialect and to truly figure out what is really going on in this book but it’s well worth the effort. The world is well planned and the caste system is well defined. Brown’s time spent building both of these aspects of the story pays off in the end. The product of his time spent, is a world rich with unique characters and a complicated history of the human race. I loved how the story progresses, from below the surface of Mars where there is danger and poverty, to the surface of the planet where there is more wealth than you can imagine. Then we move to The Institute where nothing is what it seems. The readers confusion with what is happening to Darrow is shared by Darrow within the story. The reader learns the truth as Darrow does, and secrets are revealed in bits and pieces. This book is a fight for survival. A fight for power, redemption and freedom. In Red Rising, Brown has created some of the best characters I’ve come across recently. I loved Darrow and all his Institute mates. The suspense that builds as the book progresses is impressive and will certainly keep you hooked. This book plays out like a game of Risk, with all the strategy, planning and evasiveness the characters must do to achieve their goals. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. Look for it 2015. You can rest assured there will be a review of it by me showing up shortly after it’s published.