Friday, January 17, 2014

Early Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: (Del Rey) Random House
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future 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 joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

There's a lot of hype surrounding this book, and for once it's totally deserved. 
How often can you really say that?!
When I first started reading it, I was pretty convinced that it was going to be a fairly average book.
I mean, I've read a lot of dystopians and a lot of sci-fi lately. Was this really going to be that different?
And after the first chapter, I was less than impressed. 
It's set underground. On Mars.
And everyone is color-coded.
AWESOME. Haven't seen that at least 200 times before...
Oh. And the main character is already married? AT SEVENTEEN!?
He's some sort of super-skilled digger? 
What? Is he part mole-man?
Are they DANCING as a form of rebellion?
What the fuck kind of stupid shit is this?!
Yeah. I was not impressed.

Ah, but I was so veryvery wrong.
After that initial chapter introducing you to Darrow and his life, this book starts to get really interesting...really fast. 
Darrow's wife is not content with their life, even though she is very much in love with him. She wants to fight against the Golds that she feels are enslaving her people. Darrow, on the other hand, is not willing to risk their safety (hers in particular) for a dream he doesn't believe in. He may not think that their life is fair, but he believes that he is doing the right thing for future generations by helping to terraform the planet. She, however, sees the potential Darrow has to save the Reds, even when he doesn't see it himself.
And she does something unthinkable to help him realize that potential.
What she does sets Darrow on an incredible journey to the surface, and into the heart of the enemy. To help realize her dream, he eventually agrees to join the Red's rebellion. He also agrees to allow them to transform him into one of the elite Golds. It's no easy task, since it requires genetic modification, surgery, and lessons in speech and etiquette. After all of this, he must not only gain entrance to their training academy, but come out of it at the head of the class.

Unfortunately, not much is known about what happens to the young Golds who enter the academy, only that it produces the future leaders of their society. The rebels have enough resources to forge his documents, but once inside, Darrow will be on his own. 
When he enters the academy, he feels nothing but revulsion for these obnoxious children. They are lazy, greedy, pampered, and shallow. He has already seen first hand the extent of the Gold's evil deceptions, and nothing will stand in the way of him bringing them down. His hatred of these elitist teenagers burns white-hot in his chest, and it doesn't matter what he has to do in order to emerge victorious...
Oh shit.
Not many things are truly black and white...are they? 

M'kay. Lots of comparisons to The Hunger Games floating around out there.
In my opinion, Red Rising takes The Hunger Games and spanks it's overrated ass.
Don't get me wrong, I liked Suzanne Collin's trilogy, and (obviously) so did a lot of other people. 
But I never quite loved  it. 
Mainly, because Katniss always seemed to be an unwilling participant in the story. She was pushed, pulled, and prodded into everything that she did. And in the end, I felt disappointed that her character never seemed to grow past that. She did what she had to do...and she survived
The End.
I wanted to see some sort of spark of life in her, but it seemed (to me) like she was just a depressed puddle of skin, who would occasionally snap out of it and do something extraordinary.
Darrow, on the other hand, grew and changed throughout the entire book. He started out as a Katniss-like character, but ended up a different person entirely. His motivations changed, his beliefs changed, and even his view of the world changed. He stopped being a bystander in his life, and the result was spectacular.

I gotta say, the writing in this is nothing short of amazing. It's just...I can't adequately describe how much Brown made me feel for these characters. Really, I was blown away.
Especially surprising since this was a debut novel.

If you only read one book this year, it needs to be this one. Seriously.


Alyn Yang said...

LOL! Part mole-man. Well now,you got me there. I will make sure this is one of the books I read this year.


Hey, whatever works!

The Literary Darling said...

Gotta read this...I'm going through a dystopian/sci-fi phase myself and this sounds like it needs be on my TBR list! thanks for the review :)


Definitely add this one!

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