Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) – Pierce Brown

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a red risingRed, 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. 

Rating: 4/5

Ai. I am conflicted. On one hand, I really did enjoy the storytelling and the writing. On the other, there were quite a few things that bugged me. Seriously, this was like a bloodthirsty Percy Jackson crossed with the Hunger Games.

For starters, we have the groupings of people according to traits – this time, organised by colours – Reds, the downtrodden miners (why are all the oppressed people in dystopias miners? District 12, anyone?), Pinks, the pleasure people, Golds, the ones at the top, Grey, the law enforcement, etc. And they are kept docile by propaganda spewed by the Capital Gold rulers. Food and other goods are used as prizes for an individual mining group meeting their quota the winners of the hunger games and provided with food and other goods, there are public lashings, a sacrificial lamb, and a sneaky rebel broadcast of a televised message to try gall the masses. SOUND FAMILIAR?

And the blurb goes:
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. 

Which is when it feels like we switch to reading a completely different book. Suddenly, we are in the midst of another rivalry, this time, between 12 of the Gold Houses. I’m a little fuzzy on all the hierarchies within the hierarchies, to be honest. But we have House Mars, House Diana, Mercury, Jupiter, etc, and the kids in this command school are literally dumped into a battlefield and have to fight to the death play a very violent game of what essentially amounts to capture the flag, and, oh, who the hell am I kidding, they pretty much fight to the death. There are benevolent and not so benevolent benefactors and nefarious parties with dodgy agendas, and the games end with the last one standing, who then earns a very priviledged position in the leadership structure.

There were so many characters and alliances that I went a bit cross eyed trying to remember them all, and as I mentioned, all the groupings within groupings tended to overcomplicate things somewhat.

All in all, Red Rising feels like a blend of fantasy and dystopia, and my rating is based on the overall enjoyment factor, rather than the critical qualms I had, which were many.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy) – Pierce Brown

  1. I loved his sense of pacing – the man tells a tight tale. I loved the continuity – there can be such discrepancies in style from volume to volume. And I loved the story, although I more than acknowledge all your points as valid. Great review!

    Like

  2. I initially had issues remember things around this one as well but it turned out great for me. The world was really one of the things I loved about this (although the whole idea does resemble The Hunger Games)… Great review! 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s