Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)

Author| Pierce Brown
Edition| Kindle eBook
Genre| Science Fiction/Dystopian
Publisher| Del Ray
Rating| 4.5 Stars
Other Posts| FIF

My friend, K, says this is her favorite book series of all time so I promised to read it.  And this book... this book!  People, I have heard good things about it, it has been compared to Hunger Games and Ender's Game all the time.  Normally, that's a little too much hype and not enough accuracy.  In this case, it is absolutely spot on.

I can't say much because it is best to go into this book a little unprepared, but it follows Darrow, a red.  Red's are the lowest members of a society based on a caste system where each level is designated by a color.  Gold's are at the top.  As a Red, Darrow mines in the depths of Mars for a material that allows people to terraform the planet's surface and make it habitable.  Things aren't great for Red's- they live in horrible cramped conditions.  Darrow's wife, Eo, is a bit of a revolutionary thinker, and her thinking gets them into a mess that eventually leads Darrow to discover the truth- he's been lied to the whole time.

This is one of the most fully realized world's I have ever read.  I can't find any discrepancies in the world-building and I have tried.  It's so grand and so unique!  It takes place in space and is wonderfully entertaining.  This book does ride rather close to Hunger Games, but it also has several differences that might make it better.  How dare I say that?  Well, I am a fan of Hunger Games, but it's also definitely a YA book and while that series is dark and serious, this one gets a little more so.  Whereas it takes until Mockingjay to really see the actual evils of war, Red Rising hits it square on the nose right away.

The characters are easily the best part though.  There are so many!  And the greatest thing is that none of them are really one-dimensional.  Each major character has their own motivations, their own plans, and their own thoughts.  They move towards their own goals and it creates this feeling of uncertainty for Darrow and the reader.  Each character is smart, too.  My favorite part of any book is when the characters can pull one over on me or when they make decisions that actually make sense!  I never once found myself thinking someone should have done something different.  The language- which is absolutely gorgeous and rather Shakespearean- is a perfect compliment to the brains behind each member.  For those wondering, in this book, Sevro, Antonia, and Pax are my favorite.

I did find some aspects of this book frustrating- namely the learning Darrow has to go through.  It's not so much what he learns- it was really great character growth, actually- but the repetition of how he learns his lessons.  He would rise, and then fall drastically, and have to pick up the pieces.  Yes, that's a great way to teach a lesson, but by the end it became a little redundant and the cycle almost predictable.  I kind begin to pinpoint when he would fall again.

This book runs forward at breakneck speed and gives no time to breath.  Which is wonderful.  There are so many twists and turns that my head was spinning.  And they're unpredictable because there's nothing that leads you to expect something.  If you do suspect something, it's because the author wants you to so that when the carpet is pulled out from under you even faster.

Basically, I've already recommended this book to so many people.  I am going through withdrawals, actually.  That's how good it is.  It's so immersive!  And I recommend reading this book alongside its sequel.  Especially if you want to torture yourself.  Please, please, please go pick this one up immediately!  You won't regret it!

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