Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: Review of Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Red Rising. Red Rising. Why did I take so long to get to you?? Chosen as the Science Fiction Book of the Month by my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, this had actually been sat on my Kindle for months. Despite having heard some really wonderful things about it – which I now completely understand – its nomination as Book of the Month was what finally pushed me into reading it.

The opening gripped me straight away, introducing the reader to Darrow’s world. It is a dark, grimy world, with only a faint glimmer of hope. The people of this world work hard to terraform Mars, so that in the future their descendants can live normal lives on the red planet. Yet soon, Darrow discovers that everything he and his people have worked for is a lie – Mars is already terraformed. The Reds, as his people are known, are being used as slaves, tricked into thinking they are making a contribution to society, and other higher social groups benefit from their work. Darrow becomes involved with a group of rebels, and must disguise himself as a Gold, the highest of the groups, in order to infiltrate the system. To do this, he gains a place at their military academy, and what followed felt almost like a feudal setting on another planet: groups of teenagers vying for power and territory.

One thing that really struck me about this book was the relationships and character development. In a book that is very brutal and sometimes shocking in its portrayal of a society and human nature, there were also some tender moments. Darrow’s relationship with his wife, Eo, was wonderful. Having known each other since they were small children, their relationship is a close one and felt so genuine, nothing like many teenage relationships in books. This may also be a byproduct of Darrow’s society throwing children into adulthood too early.

Additionally, Darrow’s character progression was fantastic. The reader follows his journey from a courageous but perhaps reckless Red to a focused and determined Gold. He keeps to his roots, but on the way he develops so much. One scene that really stood out to me showed what Darrow could become if he really immersed himself into the Gold way of life, and demonstrated the stark contrast between the social groups. Although he becomes a Gold on the outside, he never really forgets why he is there, remaining a Red within.

The action slowed down a little towards the middle, but this doesn’t mean nothing happened. Darrow and his house prepared themselves for battle, allegiances were forged and shattered, friendships built and destroyed, enemies made and truths revealed. I finished this book in a matter of days – carrying my Kindle with me everywhere I went, reading it at every spare moment. Red Rising is an absolute must read for science fiction fans, but I would also highly recommend it to those who are new to the genre. I cannot WAIT to read the sequel, Golden Son!

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12 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Month 2015: Review of Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown”

  1. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this, and even though the initial premise didn’t really grab me, the enthusiastic reviews are having me reconsider that. Grea reviews!

  2. I’ve always thought this one was a fantasy!! And now to learn that it is set on Mars…wow, I am so wrong. I, too, saw it being promoted everywhere but I just never got around to reading it…I have to admit it might be because over-hype does push me away from things. But sounds like I’m depriving myself of a good read so I should give it a go, anyway πŸ™‚

  3. I loved Red Rising and Golden Son is one of the books I am reading just now. It is good but I am struggling a little to get in to it, Red Rising seemed more accessible. It could be the usual problem of reading a book then having to wait months to read the second book and forgetting important plot points!!

    1. I just started it today! And then my banana exploded in my bag and covered the book so… it looks less pretty now 😦

      It does start quite abruptly, and two years after the events of Red Rising. I’m interested to learn what Darrow has been up to!

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