Book Review: Red Rising


Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world 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 sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

First line in the book:  “I would have lived in peace.”

Title: Red Rising (#1)
Author: Pierce Brown
My Edition: Published by Del Rey in 2014, with 382 pages
Age: Young Adult (15+)
Series: Red Rising (3 books)
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, War, Action

Because Ida wouldn’t stop talking about it, and I’m obviously a YA science fiction fan, so I thought; Why not just try it? (That way I can make Ida shut up about it).

What I really liked was the plot. It’s different, and I’ve never really read a book with a similar plot, so I was interested from the beginning. I do want to point out that, yes, I did see a lot of similarities between The Hunger Games and Red Rising, and I’ve tried to put that aside while reviewing it, but I just want to point out the obvious.

Darrow is Katniss, Eo is Primrose, Mustang is Peeta. Matteo is Cinna, Dancer is Effie. No, I’m not making assumptions to where I’m saying that Pierce Brown has made his characters out of Suzanne Collins’ characters. I’m simply saying that they all serve kind of the same purpose. Darrow’s father died for a cause, Katniss’ father didn’t, or did he? And Eo isn’t Darrow’s sister, but the one person he holds closest to his heart. Mustang comes along early, but it isn’t until later on that Darrow sees something more in her, like Katniss does with Peeta. Mars’ Proctor reminds me of a Haymitch character, but I think I’m drawing the line too far by saying that. They’re not the same at all. I just saw a lot of similarities.

The writing is interesting. I’m more of a straight forward kind of girl, and Pierce Brown does write like that, only with a more difficult language (English isn’t my mother tongue, but I like reading books in english, but sometimes it just gets the better of me, which I think this book did). I found it hard to really understand some of the phrases, and I don’t know if that comes from some kind of language barrier, or the fact that Pierce Brown some times didn’t explain what a thing was. I had to ask Ida while reading it, because I couldn’t understand what things was. Which is close to never when I read books. So, this kind of dragged the book down a little bit for me, but I’m sure that if you’re better than me in english, you’ll get it just right.


We have the MC Darrow, who turned out to not be my favorite character at all. I liked him, he’s likable, and I do find him interesting as an MC, but I found myself liking some of his “sidekicks” better. My favorite characters turned out to be Eo and Servo!

Darrow is the typical underdog, he’s a red turned Gold. We like underdogs, we route for them to win and we want them to win, we kind of expect it. The different thing separating Darrow from a lot of heroes I think, is the fact that he has this personal agenda. He’s got so much anger towards the people he’s working with, and he’s doing this amazing job at hiding it. I actually sometimes forgot that we are supposed to feel sorry for him. At the end of the day I felt like I started to dislike him from early on, maybe because he turns more Gold than he should, and maybe it’s all a play, which I’m sure is going be answered during Golden Son (#2) .

Eo is this beautiful girl, and I imagine her so vividly like an angel. She kinds of reminds me of Primrose in the Hunger Games; she’s kind and gentle and she hasn’t hurt a soul. Mustang was a girl I really liked from the beginning. She’s kind of that strong female character I always look for when I read books. She’s more or less the brains, but she has this dark secret, drawing us closer to her. Servo was my absolute favorite from where he turned up. I love funny sidekicks, and Servo was the perfect one.

I feel like there are similarities that I can’t really put aside, but I won’t bring it up again. I like the book, and I’m looking forward to reading Golden Son. I route for Darrow even though I’m not really a fan of him, and I wish I could bring Eo back.

Favorite quote: “The measure of a man is what he does when he has power.”



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