Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

So now I am behind on my book reviews, but hey…that happens right? At least I am attempting it (lol).


“I am the Reaper, death is my shadow.”

I have had Red Rising by Pierce Brown on my “to-read” list for awhile, over a year at least. I kept putting it off because…well….the thought of a story on Mars was a bit of a literary turn off for me.  I have only had three books that take place in space actually catch my attention, most are too sci-fiy and roboty for me. (If you are wondering, the three are Ender’s Game, Enchantress From The Stars, and Shade’s Children. Arguably, the last takes place on Earth, but it still encompasses what I generally turn away from in SciFi/fantasy)  I’m working in broadening my horizon in that area.

Red Rising though….Man, I am so mad I kept waiting for so long.  This book was AMAZING. Plus, Pierce Brown is apparently a fellow Potter fan so there is always that.

This book takes the current YA dystopian obsession and turns it up a notch.  A really big notch. First, we have a male main character which, if you haven’t noticed is different. Then, you know, we’re on Mars, and the society he created there is just amazing.

Brown throws you right into the world of Darrow, a Red Helldiver (a type of miner) who is helping in the glorious charge of making Mars comparable for humans to live on. Earth is dying you see, so the Reds have the very important job of making a new home for mankind. Darrow thinks no higher than the caves he lives in and lives for his wife, Eo.

After a series of unfortunate events, Darrow finds out everything he has been told is a lie. Aligning himself with some very interesting people, he gets the chance to infiltrate Gold society and get into their school, the Institute.  Here is where we get a feel of Battle Royale or The Hunger Games, except not as extreme.

Society here is divided by color, which I found to be a clever change up. Red is the lowest and Gold is the top. In between you have (in no order) White, Yellow, Blue, Copper, Grey, Obsidian, Pink, Violet, Orange, and Brown.  I actually found this chart on Books Bones and Buffy’s review of the book (read their review here), which I think they may have gotten on Red Rising’s site:


“Break the chains, my love.”

Your profession depends on which Color you get born into.

So not only is this a fantastic world, but this is also an incredibly quotable book. I like highlighting lines I enjoy, but since I had a library book I couldn’t. Here are a few though, for your enjoyment.

They pushed and pushed for so long. They knew I was something dangerous, something different. Sooner or later, they had to know I would snap and come to cut them down. Or perhaps they think I’m still a child. The fools. Alexander was a child when he ruined his first nation.

My people sing, we dance, we love. That is our strength. But we also dig. And then we die. Seldom do we get to choose why. That choice is power. That choice has been our only weapon. But it is not enough.

“Things are set in stone. Things are well ordered. Reds at the bottom, everyone else standing on our backs. Now you’re looking at me and you’re realizing that we don’t bloodydamn like it down there. Red is rising, Mickey.”

Yeah, like I said, amazing quotes. This is also a great book for history buffs. Seriously, Gold society in so many aspects is like it is straight out of Rome. There are also nods to various book/movie heroes (like Ender) and in a few parts I got the feel of Darrow taking a sort of Christ-like mantle. Granted, that could be just me, but it did make for an interesting twist. And speaking of twists… Just when you think you know what is going to happen, or what is going on, you don’t. This book twists and turns in a beautifully brilliant way.

All in all, seriously: read this. Don’t wait for the MOVIE (script is in the works and rights already bought) because that will be a few years. It is a fast pace, hard to put down book, that also cleverly combines humor
If you still need convincing, read this article from Bustle on why Red Rising will be bigger than the Hunger Games.

(P.S: Rupert Grint for Darrow? Except he might be too short…)


About misplacedselchie

I enjoy random writing related thoughts, plot bunnies, and good books. One of these days I'll get my own book finished.
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4 Responses to Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

  1. Erika says:

    I’ve heard so many great things about this book and now I want to read it. It’s dystopian mixed with sci-fi and I love those kinds of books. And I really want a good young adult dystopian book right now. I also find it rather refreshing that this time the main character is a guy, not that kickass heroines (which I do love) are a bad thing…I’ve been just reading too much of

    • Oh you most definitely need to read this one then! I enjoyed having a male main character for once. He keeps getting compared to Ender (I think on the copy I was reading it said something like “Move over Katniss and Ender…”), and I don’t like that. Ender’s Game is a completely different type of world if that makes sense and he and Darrow are in no way comparable (lol).

      • Erika says:

        I definitely will! 🙂 I know what you mean. I sometimes find it irritating when some books gets compared to other ones. Can’t a book just be great without any comparisons?!haha

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Domechild by Shiv Ramdas | The Misplaced Selchie

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