Book Review: Red Rising

Sunday 20 December 2015 by

Red Rising, Pierce Brown, Hodder & Stoughton, Book, ReadingRed Rising by Pierce Brown

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

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 al 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.

Break the chains. Live for more.


Put down your Hunger Games, dismiss Ender and his story. Meet Red Rising. This is the best thing to come out of the dystopian teenage genre ever. Trust me on this one.

Darrow is a lowRed. He has never seen daylight, or stars, or anything on the surface of Mars, his home planet. Instead, all he knows are the tunnels and mines he and his family live and work in. But circumstances aren’t happy to let him be, and he soon finds himself caught up in a world he had never even imagined existed.

Darrow is the ultimate reluctant hero. He is chosen against his will, but finds himself the only hope in the fight against the Golds. The Golds are the ruling class, and don’t they know it. But the job isn’t as simple as it might seem at first (and that’s after the transformation and the training and the entry to the school and the realisation that the school is really just a morbid kind of battleground) – there are Golds that Darrow finds himself befriending, and even falling for.

This is high-octane stuff. You are gripped from the very beginning, and Darrow is a brilliant protagonist – angry in all the right places, a good guy at heart, but weak and confused. He is just a boy after all. There are a number of twists throughout, some which you see coming, others you don’t. But even the obvious ones are a thrill to read.

I couldn’t get enough of this book. I read it within a day, and immediately picked up the next in the trilogy (Golden Son). There is something so addictive about these books that I can’t quite explain. They are brilliant – exciting, believable (despite being set in space), filled with emotion and tension. Darrow makes a strong lead – forget Katniss, this is a true hero, even filled with pride. The other characters are powerful in their own right; interesting, nuanced and loveable. They create the space in which the story thrives. It becomes a pulsing, racing story that builds to a dramatic conclusion, with enough staying power for the trilogy already.

I can’t wait for the third instalment!

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