Book Title: Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Amazon, Kindle
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: 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.
What did I think? I read the summary with a sort of annoyed eye roll. I immediately pictured Pierce Brown realising that all these dystopian-the-government-is-evil books have already been written and that the market is saturated. Then, one morning, he thought, I KNOW! I'll set mine on Mars. And whilst that might have been what happened, I have to give credit where credit is due.
This book is good.
Not excellent. But good. I hope it'll turn into something much bigger and better (and from what I've heard it will) in the sequels, but for now it's good.
The plot is incredible. It's fast-paced and sets itself apart from everything else on the YA market. It's dark and intense. There's love, friendship, betrayal, intrigues and as a reader you end up really attached to some of these characters. The characters have to make impossible and terrible choices. They have to grow and they have to accept defeat.
The world building is excellent and I think we haven't even seen all of it just yet. The glimpse we got however suggests a complicated and wonderful set up for the rest of the trilogy.
After all this, why didn't I give it a perfect rating?
Because Darrow is too perfect. He feels a bit like a cardboard cutout. He has no flaws, but at the same time he's just your average dude. I did like him, don't get me wrong, but he's not fleshed out. At least not yet. Then there's the second half of the book, and whilst most of the reviews say, that's where it really took off, that's actually where I was somewhat bored. I enjoyed the world building, and the character introduction much more than the actual action scenes later on. But that seems to be just me.
Red Rising is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind their YA dark and gritty and set in space.