Thursday, May 26, 2016
Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising, Book One
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Publication Date: 25 September 2014
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
Break the chains. Live for more. (summary from Goodreads)
An intense, action-packed novel, Red Rising is not to be missed.
So a little before reading this book I started watching the television series Spartacus. I didn't expect to love it as I'm a bit of a sook about violence, but love it I did. A little too much. I can get a bit obsessive, see, so I forced myself to take a break between seasons. Decided to start Red Rising early for book club. I only got a little into it before tossing it aside - hello, Spartacus vibes! Honestly, I had no idea what Red Rising was about aside from the blurb on the book. I was unimpressed with the coincidence, let me tell you. Not seriously, mind you. I was in no way passing judgement on this book, don't get me wrong. Just rolling my eyes and having a laugh at the way the world works. Or Fate, as it may be. And I should get on with actually reviewing Red Rising, right? This book is pretty darn awesome, and in my experience at least, quite original. I loved the mix of Ancient Roman history with science fiction. Thousands of years in the future, planets like Mars colonized, amazing technology, and this futuristic civilization honours and mimics one from way back. It gives Red Rising a sense of new and unknown as well as a familiarity. I should also say that Red Rising may not be for the fainthearted. There's a fight to the last man standing tone to this novel. That's not exact, but you get my drift. It's violent and seriously brutal. The action certainly keeps the pace moving. The story takes place over two years but it never drags. What's done well is it isn't violence for violence sake, necessarily. Brown doesn't hold back but this society is incredibly brutal in nature and his prose fairly reflects that. It's hard hitting and thought-provoking. Red Rising questions ideas of honour, morality, violence and humanity. It's the questions that had me hooked. Do I agree or disagree with Darrow's actions? Is the dream ultimately worth it? How far is too far?
Darrow drives Red Rising for me. I think if I didn't feel some form of connection with Brown's characters, ultimately I couldn't have handled the kind of story Red Rising is. I'm a wimp, I freely admit it. But if I'm invested, it's all good. Honestly, I loved quite a number of Brown's characters. They're all different and they had me, at one time or another, laughing, cheering, disgusted, crying, despairing. I'm not going to go into detail about these characters though because it'd be too easy to delve into spoilers. I'm really looking forward to continuing this series as I'm desperate to see where each and every character journeys next. Darrow I can write about. He's a great character. One that is sure to become iconic. Reckless and impulsive, but when he reigns it in, so smart. At times I loved and hated him. Darrow is somewhat a dark character, both hero and villain. That's what has me invested. How his story will play out has me so intrigued. I can see things going so very well or so very wrong and it's a balance Brown wields masterfully.
Red Rising is a fierce and ruthless story that is sure to shock and remain with you.