Red Rising Book Review

“Funny how a single word can change everything in your life.”
“It is not funny at all. Steel is power. Money is power. But of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.”

Title: Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Rating: 5/5 stars!!

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Format Read: Audiobook

Synopsis: (from Rick Riordan’s Goodreads) Red Rising introduces us to Darrow, a sixteen-year-old miner who toils deep in the mines of Mars a few hundred years in the future. In Darrow’s world, humanity has spread across the solar system, and has been organized into a strict caste system of colors, with Gold at the top and Red at the bottom. Darrow is a Red, but he is making the most of his hard life in the mines. He is good at his work. He has a beautiful wife, Eo (they get married young and die young down in the mines) and though the Reds live in abject poverty, they are a proud, tough clan. They appreciate songs and drink and family. They also hold on to the idea that they are sacrificing for the good of humanity at large. They have been told that they are pioneers on Mars, making the planet habitable through their hard lives mining helium-3, and someday the surface of the planet will be able to support life thanks to their efforts. Someday, the other colors will join them on Mars.

Then Darrow’s life is shattered when he and his wife are arrested for trespassing in a garden that is restricted to the Bronze administrators. Soon Darrow finds himself alone, bereft and marked for execution. He is plucked from the jaws of death by a resistance group known as the Sons of Ares, who show him the Big Lie of his existence: the surface of Mars is actually already inhabited. The other colors have formed great cities, and are allowing the Reds to keep toiling as slaves while the Golds and their minion classes live lives of relative ease. The Sons of Ares have a plan for Darrow: because of his dexterity, constitution and quick mind, he is just the right double agent they need. Using advanced genetic manipulation, they will make Darrow a Gold and send him to infiltrate the Institute, the training academy which produces all the top leaders of the Society that controls the solar system. Darrow’s job is to rise as high as he can within the Gold ranks so he can assist the Sons of Ares in their eventual revolution. The only problem: Darrow first has to survive the Institute.

(spoiler free review!)

So I started this book due to PhantomRin’s lovely fan art and had pretty much no expectations. I’m not into science fiction, in fact I try to avoid it. I don’t even really like dystopian books. BUT THIS BOOK BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. Holy CRAP this book was good. I couldn’t stop listening to the audiobook (my new obsession!). I don’t want to compare this book to The Hunger Games because it isn’t. Honestly it would be so so insulting to compare it to THG because Red Rising is 10000% better. So whenever reviewers compare it to THG I’m just like:


Brown manages to craft something fresh and unbelievably exciting. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before.

Also whenever people compare it to The Red Queen I’m just like??


I absolutely hated The Red Queen. Ugh.


Things I liked:

i. The Setting: The reader has to work really hard in order to understand the setting. Brown doesn’t just throw up a lot of details and overwhelm the reader. The further you get into the book, the more you understand about the setting. The worldbuilding is very complex and I always wanted to know more.

ii. The Grisly Details: The description of Darrow transforming from a Red to a Gold is fucking awesome. Seriously it’s disgusting. They rip him apart, peel off his skin, take his eyes, reroute his nervous system… It’s great. This book is really gory and it’s great. (Can we talk about the scene with the howlers and the horses? Yeah.) This book is cutthroat, dark, emotionally tolling and horrific. It’s fantastic >:)

iii. Mustang: (my new golden child) me in every Mustang scene ever: SLAY QUEEN SLAY. She’s so sassy and fierce and basically she’s #goalz. I felt like all the characters were very unique (holy hell, the Jackal fucking killed me. Well written villains = what I live for) but I just really liked Mustang.

iv: Writing Style: Pierce Brown is SUCH a talented writer. And it’s only his first book like what even. I laughed out loud, gasped out loud, and enjoyed every second of it.

I literally can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. I couldn’t relate to Darrow very well at first but he grew on me. I would definitely follow him into Hell because he grew into a very good leader. He made bad decisions, owned up to them, and moved past his mistakes into something greater. GET THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY!!


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