Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Release date: Jan 28th 2014
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, 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
The writing style! I have actually never read a book that made me feel like Red Rising did. My heart was actually hammering in my chest. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. (To be honest, I've never been on a rollercoaster, but if I ever do, it probably feels like reading this book). The action and suspense in this book was so amazingly presented.
The plot. I've seen a lot of readers complain about this, and yes, it IS slow at first, but if you stick through the first 20%, it get WAY better! I'd like to say that all those twists that I never saw coming kept me glued to the pages, but actually, I had to take regular intervals BECAUSE I COULDN'T HANDLE IT ALL. In a totally good way. There were moments I had to just put the book down, breathe in deep to prevent myself from hyperventilating, and then go back to the book.
The characters. Okay, so on Goodreads, I read lots of reviews complaining that Darrow is a Gary Stu, and I suppose that's true for the most part, because he is totally glorified and it's all "you-are-oh-so-special-and-different" at first, but once he starts the tests, he becomes more relatable. He still had that "I'm invincible" vibe, but my heart still ached for him.
Mustang and Sevro were absolute favourites, and I loved how loyal they are to Darrow. For some reason I want to give Sevro a big, tight hug, and maybe some lollipops to cheer him up.
Cassius evokes feelings that are amazingly complex, and I still don't really know what to think about him
All the characters were well-written and really, really complex.
The ending. When I was about 20% into the book, all I could think of was "this will not end well". After all, so many bloodydamn terrible things happened, and I hadn't even made to 50%! BUT, do not fear, my friends, because (oh, thank God), this book does not end in a cliffhanger. THANK YOU, PIERCE BROWN. Everything was wrapped up, more or less, and you are still curious enough to read the sequel (something that I hope to do VERY soon).
Well, the beginning, for one. It IS a bit slow, but I stuck with it because I was so curious about the hype. Yes, there is drama at the beginning, too, but I didn't start to care until Darrow met the Sons of Ares. Except for the beginning, I can't find anything else to complain about.
I've seen Red Rising being compared to The Hunger Games, and while that's not untrue, Ender's Game seems to be a better comparison. There was something about the writing style and the characters that very strongly reminded me of Orson Scott Card. I've also seen people compare this to Red Queen, but I'm going to tell you that Red Queen is nothing like this book, so you can put that complaint out of your mind.
Red Rising had a bit of a slow start, but the thrilling action and suspense later more than made up for it. Definitely recommended to dystopian fans and fans of Ender's Game, An Ember In The Ashes and The Hunger Games.