Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Title: Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
Author: Pierce Brown
Released January 28, 2014
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5

Summary

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

I don't see a ton of YA books written from a male's POV like Red Rising.  I mean, there are definitely a lot out there (i,e, Harry Potter, An Ember in the Ashes), but the majority of popular YA books are from a female's perspective.  I find it kind of refreshing.

I was hesitant to start this book because, despite the good reviews, I wasn't convinced by the summary that I would be into it.  I'm not usually interested in stories set in space.  I still had this attitude when I first started reading it.  At first, I had trouble getting into the story, but the more I got used to the terminology and learned more about Darrow, the more hooked I became.

A lot of people compare this book to The Hunger Games and Rick Riordan's books, and I could definitely see why in terms of teenagers fighting each other and Roman influences.  However, I think this book really holds its own in originality.  Darrow is a Red, a low class citizen in an empire ruled by Golds.  He grew up thinking his role in mining on Mars was paving the way for life off Earth.  When he discovers that it is all a lie, he is recruited by a group of rebels and transformed into a Gold.  But, in order for him to infiltrate the empire, he has to gain power.  The only way for him to do that is to go through the Academy.  The Academy is where Golds fight each other (not necessarily to the death) to become Primus of their house.  If they are successful in the Academy, they can get apprenticeships from affable Golds.

While the story was really interesting and kept me reading even during exam week, two points kept me from giving this 5 starts: (1) I found it hard to connect emotionally to Darrow and (2) the writing felt a little too lazy sometimes.  What I mean by that is the author told us what happened, but didn't show us what happened.  I think the concept is called "show, don't tell." I actually see this often in YA books.  Basically, it lacked the descriptions needed to make me feel like I'm experiencing the story for myself.

Despite those issues, I was still rooting for Darrow and his comrades all the way to the end.  If any of ya'll read this, Roque and Sevro were my faves!  I recommend Red Rising if you like books with politics, strategy, and a little sci-fi.

Get ready for lots of reviews everyone! I'm on Christmas break and plan to get a LOT of reading done before the spring semester!!

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