After all of the hype and rave reviews that “Red Rising” received from the media and book bloggers alike, here’s my take on Pierce Brown’s debut novel.
There’s something about teenage angst, revolution, disobedience and fight against the system when it comes to dystopian/futuristic novels. The novel centers around Darrow, who lives in an extremely segregated society, where “Reds” just like him don’t even know they are enslaved. Reds toil under the surface of planet Mars, wasting their lives just to make the planet habitable… only it already is. After the death of his wife, Eo, who defied the power of the “Golden” class by singing a song of freedom and revolution, and his own supposed demise, Darrow is spirited away by the secretive Sons of Ares (the “terrorists” who fight to bring down the unjust society from within).
“Red Rising” is something like Hunger Games, Divergent, ABC’s “Revenge”, Star Wars and 5th Element… all put together. Rising is a story of the fight for justice, fight against oppression and abuse of the weak, a story of staying true to your own spirit… A brutal tale of how the foundations of the “Academy” started to crumble as Darrow joined the finest of the “Golds” in a fight for leadership, of friendships that crumbled when power and loyalties came in the way. The heroes are flawed, the enemies are not all that dislikable. This is one of the elements I liked the most about the novel.
The negatives? Pierce Brown throws the reader into the new universe with what I felt was hundreds of new names for societal groups, places and things, which I frankly found quite distracting and overwhelming. Very distracting if you compare with, for instance, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fellowship of the Ring or the Game of Thrones… The first novels of masterpiece series do not even stand close to “Red Rising” when it comes to dropping new concepts on the reader in every other line of the first five or so chapters. It’s a shame that at some point, the new elements of “Red Rising” universe risk to become smudged and unclear in the minds of the reader. This is the only point point that makes me have a split opinion on the overall very well-written book. So, there you go, one note for writing, the other for the plot.
Entertainment Weekly review promised a wild ride. I must admit, the novel starts off with a shaky start that almost put me off, but now I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment of the trilogy. Because whatever my minor complaints might be, “Red Rising” is a stunning debut that deserves to be read and deserves to get to the silver screens, so, movie studios, get your hands on the rights already!
Writing: 3,5 *
Overall note: 4*