Title: Red Rising (#1)
Author: Pierce Brown
On the Shelves: Fiction> Sci-Fi/Dystopian
The war begins…
Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.
Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable – and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow 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… (Goodreads 2014)
Red Rising follows the story of Darrow, a “low level Red” who basically spends his days risking his life, drilling for fuel, as most of the low-reds do. Soon, the rest of society will move to Mars, once the low reds have sacrificed their lives daily to make it habitable for human life, and the low reds will be rewarded. Except there is a twist- Mars is habitable already, and has been for hundreds of years. The society is exploiting the ignorance of the low reds to ensure they will always have fuel provided by them. The low reds have been kept in the dark, both literally and figuratively, being used as slaves while the rest of society are spending their days enjoying themselves. As you can imagine, Darrow is pissed. Red Rising is literally about Darrow, the Red, infiltrating the society and rising through the ranks.
For some reason, this book seemed to take an age for me to finish. It is a well written, carefully paced book. But I just didn’t get “into” it. You know when sometimes a book just doesn’t gel for you? I loved the opening chapters but once Darrow left the Reds…I hardly had any idea what the hell was going on half the time. It was bizarre! I didn’t form any attachments to any characters so I actually didn’t care less what happened to them, which certainly didn’t help when the later 2/3rds of this book was all warfare and fighting. The only character I grew attached to was Eo, and obviously, that doesn’t last very long in this book. I did enjoy this story for what it is, and I did want to know how it ended so I managed to finish it. But I think, for me, the pacing was quite slow. While slow pacing works well for giving the writer a chance for strong world-building, I was starting to lose both my patience and interest because it felt like I was reading pages and pages and it felt like nothing substantial was happening, which got pretty frustrating.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to be continuing with this series, but for those who like in depth fantasy novels and dystopia, I would definitely recommend this book- you’ll probably enjoy it!