Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

15839976Red Rising
(Red Rising Trilogy, #1)
By: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Published: Jan 28, 2014
Genre: Dystopian YA


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.



1thoughtsRed Rising didn’t start out great for me. I found myself struggling with it all because it’s just so slow and boring when we are first introduced to Darrow. I mean, he’s a 16 year old kid who lives bellow ground. His people (the Reds) don’t tend to live that long, considering he finds a 30 year old person as ragged and old, so at 16 he’s also a married man. His job is a dangerous one as a Helldiver. It’s one that is revered not only because of how much skill it takes but also because it’s a very risky job that tends to kill those who do it. So, the book starts off with Darrow in his underground town doing his Helldiver thing and living life. It isn’t until his world is shattered that the story itself started to pick up for me.

Red Rising is a great story. Darrow doesn’t start out by wanting to take over the Golds and bring the Reds up out of the ground. In fact, he’s quite content to be a Helldiver. He doesn’t necessarily love bowing down to the higher castes, kissing their feet, but he will swallow his pride and do it. So with that being said, you see Darrow slowly change over time and he really starts to get behind what he’s doing. This felt a lot like The Hunger Games simply because of the way the characters developed, how they had outside help transforming them into their new role, the caste system to which the main character plans to tear down, and most importantly, the “game” these Gold kids are forced to play in order to see who is the best of the institute. Now the game itself wasn’t necessarily that of Hunger Games. These students played a real game of Risk where they were placed in this terraformed world and fight for their lives while trying to take over the other kingdoms. Which I have to say was really interesting to read.

While the book itself wasn’t that of Darrow taking over the world. It was more or less him trying to survive in the institutes game of Risk. While I did enjoy this story, I don’t think I will continue on. There are some interesting things that take place in the book and I like some of the more gruesome scenes, but I didn’t feel like the story was unique enough. I felt like I’d read the story before.


1favequote“Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.”


8 Thoughts on “Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

  1. Hmmm… I got this book because a lot of people are just mad raving about it. I like your take on it though because I struggle with sci-fi due to the “slow” starts and other sci-fi stuff.

  2. I got about a third of the way through this one before giving up. It was the same old story that’s been played out a million different (or not) ways.

    • I liked some of the aspects of this novel like the whole low gravity hangings and the real life version of Risk. However, I do agree with you, it wasn’t original enough to fully hold my attention because in the back of my mind I kept thinking that I’d read this all before.

  3. I hadn’t heard of this one, it sounds interesting, even with the slow start.

  4. It’s such a messed up concept. I have had this book for a while but can’t seem to commit to reading it. the slow beginning is not going to help. But I do want to try it.

  5. I’ve heard such good things about this, but I think what you’ve said is kind of why I haven’t read it? It does sound pretty familiar in a lot of ways. I’m glad you liked it well enough, though! 🙂 Great review!!

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