Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Red Rising

Red Rising
By Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon Blurb
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

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 reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds 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.

The Good
Red Rising is the love child of 1984 and The Hunger Games. Not literally, but in the sense of political intrigue in a gritty dystopia. With such a distinguished parentage, you know it has to be good. I stumbled across this series late, just as I did with The Hunger Games. My first impression was just how good the writing was. Abso-freaking-lutely brilliant. Pierce's style grabs you and doesn't let go.

You love the characters. Each one is fascinating in the own way with their own breath of life.

The plot is tight and I never felt the story drag or droop. Even during the calm parts, I was fully engaged. From a writer perspective, I really want to see the beat sheet for Red Rising. The plot was just that well done.

The Bad
The story was so amazingly intricate that when the ending came, it felt rushed. BUT... I'm not sure if it was or I was just to hyped up on it's amazing story. Regardless, the conclusion does build to a screaming finish. And that ain't bad. I'm looking forward to rereading it again to check my impressions on the second pass.

One possible reason for feeling unfulfilled by the ending could be something called 'Hiding The Ball.' This is when authors have something so cool coming up they don't want to spoil the surprise, so the don't clue the reader in. Pierce Brown does do this a LOT, but it's usually not a problem. I think maybe there were just too many balls being hidden during the ending that they fumbled. Some of the ones I noted on a second read weren't even that big of a reveal when the 'secret' did come out.

Audio Version
Tim Gerard Reynolds was the best choice for narrator they could have made. His performance of each character is flawless. Loved every minute of his presentation.

The Spin
Red Rising comes across as wonderfully as The Hunger Games did: a gritty dystopia with engaging characters and action filled story. To my greatest relief, I started the series two months before the release of book three: Morning Star. After finishing book two: Golden Son, I can't wait!

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