I received the ARC for Red Rising through Netgalley in return for my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher, author and Netgalley.
Here is a summary for the novel that I got off of the book’s website:
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.
Okay, now I can gab about the book (please excuse the abbreviations. Time is tight these days…).
Red Rising is everything it promises to be. It’s an exciting, riveting, blockbuster read that is reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Personally, I felt that it leaned more towards G.O.T than T.H.G, and this ultimately served to make it a unique addition to the dystopian genre (more on that later…)
Character-wise, this novel is quite similar to T.H.G. Darrow makes his mark in the dystopia-character index as a male version of Katniss-brave, crafty, loyal, and with just enough of a dry sense of humor- yet he still retains his own distinctive voice, unique to only this novel. Additionally, he carries a maturity that would allow older readers to enjoy his journey.
I won’t reveal too much of the plot, especially given the excellent summary above. I will say that the novel is, much like G.O.T and T.H.G, absolutely gripping and addictive. I was glued from page one, and felt invested in the story. As I said before, it was more reminiscent of G.O.T than T.H.G. Some of this is due to setting: while T.H.G had an earthy, stripped down, almost historic feel to it, Red Rising captures more of a sci-fi/fantasy feel to it. For dystopia purists, this may be a bit hard to adjust to at first, but for people like me, who enjoy the many creative variations of dystopian literature, I found this novel to be refreshingly unique and imaginative.
In summary, I think that Pierce Brown has a nice, long career ahead of him. His ability to capture the hallmarks of dystopian literature-heart wrenching scenes, compelling characters, epic storylines- yet still maintain his own voice and style shows terrific writing skill. Ultimately, Red Rising is an exciting, worthwhile read that is perfect for both older teen and adult readers.