Available January 28th
Publisher: Del Rey
Hardback 400 pages
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Goodreads- The war begins...
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow 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...
This, this is the book I have been looking for...the one that would break my reading slump. It's taken almost two months to get me out of it but this one , RED RISING, has me excited about reading again!
This is like The Hunger Games on steroids, in Space, with the Roman Gods and not the down trodden, but the HAVES waging war on each other. This book was so unexpected, every plot twist had me clutching my stomach or getting sick to it or just not believing it. I sit here in the post after glow of reading a really great book and I just don't want to share with you. But I know you won't just believe me as I haven't written a real review in such a long time. So here goes....
Let me just make a blanket statement and say that Darrow's point of view is the one the story is told from. He's young, 16, married and just full of energy and anger and rash. But he's also chained, by his station, he is a Red, the lowest class and he just does the same thing, day in and day out never questioning if there could be something more for himself, for his family and his clan. For the other Reds. Darrow is a constantly evolving and growing character and as time passes, Darrow holds onto the best of himself, and lets go of the rest. He plays so many different characters in the novel, husband, rebel, leader, follower, friend, foe, healer, all while keeping his eye on the prize. (Yes, I am being very secretive because I don't want to spoil anything for you.)
I don't even know what other characters to explain to you. There are so many others that are primary at times and then they fall away to be replaced by someone new. I will say that given the nature of the "game" (it's actually called school) that is being played and because it is told from Darrow's point of view, we only know the other characters as well as Darrow does. And in a cut throat game where there can be only one winner, loyalties will always shift and friends can stab you in the back in a heartbeat.
The World- This is the only minor fault I have with the novel, I don't get why the world is as it is. Why is everyone living on all the various planets and moons if Earth is still habitable? And it is, the novel says so. There is a very brief description about how the Golds got to be top dog and it had to do with them defeating Earth, but that's it. I would have liked a longer explanation. (I'm sure one is coming). But with the opening of the book, I can feel the sweat dripping down Darrows fry suit as he pushes himself in his drill, faster, harder, trying to mine more Helium 3 than any other crew. Brown doesn't overuse the word red to describe Darrow's world and yet it's the only color I see when I picture it, everything covered in a layer of red dust, people included. It's an underground desert to me. The other parts that are described (again not giving anything away) are rushed in some areas so that I don't get a clear grasp of what they look like and then other ares are fully developed so I know exactly what the landscape is like, I can picture it in my mind.
The Story- Yes, yes, yes!!! This was an amazing story for me. I'm sure it's been told before in some other way. But Brown puts the right character, Darrow, with the right amount of tragedy and heroism in him, and throws the impossible at him and because of the tragedy, not in spite of it, he is propelled to be heroic. He is the underdog, meant to be a rebel, a symbol for the Reds, but first he has to do something, become powerful so that he can be seen by them, martial their support. Because the Reds have no idea what he finds out about the planet. And with Darrow as a Gold, but the heart of a Red, he sees how difficult it is going to be to betray the Golds that he calls friends. But still, there is the one thing that started all of this, that one thing that broke him and made him reckless enough to risk everything. And it still drives him. I'm not sure if I have read a story where the hero is driven by this one particular thing for so long.
Thoughts- I kind of shared those in The Story. I think it is almost perfectly executed. Just a bit more depth into what happened to Earth and why the world had to expand so far out into the solar system. How did the adaptations happen to make the different colored people. I loved Darrow. I thought he was vulnerable and young, strong and smart, caring and kind, but also harsh when he needed to be. His kindness and friendliness were both a strength and a weakness. He was really my favorite part of the book, a great character can make a book and Darrow is a great character. I can't wait to see what Pierce Brown has in store for the next book. This one did not end on a cliffhanger but it ended on a very big- Oh WOW!
I will say that I thought this would be one of those seven book series. I think it would be a shame to squash this rich, vibrant, vast world with an array of peoples and variety of villains into too small of a page count. Just saying I wouldn't mind reading about Darrow and his merry band of howlers a little longer than a trilogy.
I would recommend this to older teens as there is a lot of violence, sexual themes and adult situations and language. This is Science Fiction but doesn't get gadgety or anything. It is set on Mars. I'm just trying to get across if you don't like Science Fiction don't let it stop you from reading this series. I have a feeling the next book will get more techie, but I am ready for it! It has a dystopian feeling to it so those of you that still don't have enough of that...you'll be happy with this. If you loved The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, this is your cup of Tea. I loved how the Roman as opposed to the Greek Gods were thrown in and you'll like how they meddle in things. So you like the gods, you'll love that. It doesn't have a Young Adult feel to it. At least I didn't think so. Maybe because the Golds all had to act like adults when they fought each other. In any case, I'd recommend even to those who don't read YA.
I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or my thoughts in my review. I was not compensated for my review.