Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown

MY ⭐️ RATING: 5/5

Format: Kindle Whispersync

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

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.

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MY REVIEW

A riveting dystopian story that feels like it has some influence from the Irish-Catholic immigration to America, with how it deals with the characters of what they were promised and how they are treated, as well as the slavery and classism that the Irish faced when coming to America. This type of influence gives this some very deep roots in yet another dark time in American history. Since this is set in the future on Mars, it goes to show that we haven’t learned anything from our past. Mr. Brown does a great job of intertwining a little bit of both Greek and Roman culture and mythos into the history which helps in its immense complexity. Also, if you don’t know, Greek history/mythos is my jam, so I absolutely loved the fact that it is used as part of the culture in this series.

The writing is fantastic and just draws you in immediately, there was a scene midway through that was just so beautiful as it was describing a character dying. That sounds weird… but it was so eloquent and moving. There are some fantastically complex characters that Mr. Brown gives us, like Darrow & Sevro who are instantly characters that you can’t help but love and root for, and that only continues to grow as the story goes on. As the characters are complex, so is the story itself, which is deep with family, political agendas, love, vengeance, betrayal and sadness. There were several moments that just rocked me and left me shell-shocked, just absolutely phenomenal.

“What do you live for?” I ask her suddenly. “Is it for me? Is it for family and love? Or is it for some dream?”
“It’s not just some dream, Darrow. I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,”I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

The narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds, does a fantastic job with his Irish farmers accent (inside joke with 2 friends). In all seriousness, I thought he did an excellent job and made this 100x better. All the different voices used with the characters, including the emotions of love, hate, anger, fear and compassion could all be felt. There were several times where he delivered with so much passion as I said above about the dying scene, that you just sat there eating up every single word as if it were your last.

This novel and series is continuously compared to The Hunger Games and Maze Runner, I don’t completely agree with those comparisons… I felt like it had a lot of similarities to The Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The 100 by Kass Morgan, I’ve never read either of these books, just going off of the film and tv show. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s not suitable for younger readers, because they’ve likely seen worse in film already, but this is definitely geared more towards an older audience. Red Rising doesn’t really have a reason to be in the YA category that Goodreads has it in, other than the fact the characters are young adults. That doesn’t make it YA though. All that said, this will battle for the #1 spot in my top 15 books of the year!

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