Red Rising Review

A fantastic take on a society based on class…..when the top class has way too much power and arrogance.

Author: Pierce Brown. Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

Page count: 382

Red Rising Cover Art

Holy cow! Wow! Other words that show my surprise! I had heard great things about Red Rising by Pierce Brown but I wasn’t ready for story that was contained within these pages. If you have never read this book before, then stop reading this review, go and buy this book….right now!

This is a story based around a boy called Darrow, who has born into the Reds, spending their lives mining for Helium to help terraform Mars. What a noble cause! However, you quickly find out that this is all a lie and they have been manipulated and used for centuries. The story follows Darrow as he desperately tries to turn the tide on those that rule, but things obviously are not as straight forward, with incredible twists and turns along the way.

The pacing of this novel, for me was the greatest part. It starts out slow, almost so that I questioned it for a while within the first 50 pages but it gradually builds up as the plot thickens. The reason why I love the pacing so much, is because it mimics the story beautifully. As Darrow moves through and becomes further entrenched into his mission, the pacing matches it throughout. After about 100 pages I was doomed. Stuck, gripped to the pages, trying to find out what happens next in the story. I just couldn’t get enough. Not many books for me have the pacing so well thought out, and it is only when you reach the end, that you fully appreciate the slow start.

This is not who I am, who I want to be. I want to be a father, a husband, a dancer. Let me dig in the earth.

Red Rising, Pierce Brown

The other part of the novel which I loved, was the theme it was based around. I myself was born in what some would consider a lower class and having to fight hard to get to where I am today. So in some ways I can relate to Darrow’s journey, maybe without the bloodshed and betrayal. It was the themes surrounding the class system within society that I loved within the book, and how it holds values linked to our own society just in a more extreme level. Brown created a world dominated by this class system and has used it to create a world enriched, where depending on the family you are born into, will automatically decide you colour and role in life. The idea of predetermined roles within life is a theme I find engaging within the fantasy and sci-fi space, especially when it is written so fantastically.

The cast of characters is also fantastic within the story, the cast within the start of the novel contrast brilliantly with the cast found within the later parts. I won’t go into too much detail about the character because I don’t want to give anything away, but my favourite character was the crazed but loyal Servo. Brown’s characters have the ability to make you love them one chapter, hate them within the next chapter only to go back to routing for them the one after. Their wasn’t a single character that was wasted, even the smallest of characters had a place within the novel.

My only issue with this novel is the first person the story is written in. I usually prefer third person, but I don’t mind novels written within the first person. There were just the occasionally sentences within the first person, that removed me for a few moments from the flow, more so at the beginning, but I quickly got back on track. This is not to say Brown’s writing isn’t engaging, I think this is more linked to my own preferences within novels.

I would give this book a solid 4/5 and I have got he sequel locked and loaded in my TBR.

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