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 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.
©2013 Pierce Brown (P)2014 Recorded Books
I'll be honest. I wasn't sucked into this book right away- it felt like Brown needed some time to really warm the story up. I also realize this is the foundational work for a saga, or trilogy at least. Once it got moving though... amazingly good. The four stars is just because of my perception of slow starting- other's mileage may vary.
There will be comparisons drawn to the Hunger Games. Having read those as well, I can say this is a far *far* more complex meditation on those themes in a much more adult way. It is worth the listen. I am left, as with other series I love that are just getting started, wanting more immediately. But, it looks as if we will have to wait some time for book two (Golden Son, Early 2015 release).
I loved the narration, but it imparted an interesting and almost assuredly unintended subtlety- I thought the Author was Scottish or Irish and making a commentary on English rule and oppression. Turns out the fellow is American and lives in LA. That's what I get for taking things to literally and then drawing subtle conclusions which others may not see, at all. A different narrator would have changed the book dramatically for me. I don't know whether in a good or bad way.
In the end, Brown drew me into an all encompassing vision of a dystopian future. I was fully invested in the outcomes of the major characters. I cannot wait for Golden Son.
This brilliant new author manages a great story set in a technologically advanced future, while nonetheless recapitulating the whole of human history in one action packed novel.
Starting from a place of repression, murder and slavery (the reader's Irish accent reminding one of the class wars of Great Britain's empire stage), the protagonist is transformed and becomes a member of the ruling class, while going through a brutal rite of passage. He emerges triumphant but within himself still torn and tragic, the paradox of his birthright painfully intact.
The story is completely absorbing and draws the listener onto a stage of high drama and classic tragedy. A compelling classical theme of Roman flavor, complete with the mythic implications of its various houses and gods, supports the whole plot.
Altogether a most promising first novel, and the next in the series promises further excellence. I am a fan and hope we have more from Mr. Brown at the earliest opportunity.
First, let me say that the fact that this book was narrated by Tim Reynolds was a primary reason I took a chance with this story. I was not disappointed in the least. The story is told in the first person, which I particularly enjoy, and begins with a very dark and hopeless setting for our main character and his family and people. Even though our main character, Darrow, is only 16 when the story starts, I would hardly call this a young adult fiction. There are some pretty gruesome moments but nothing that is out of bounds.
The beginning is a bit clunky as the author is setting the stage for our young hero, and confusing at times if you let your mind wander. However, once Darrow's path is set, the story moves along smartly. As Darrow is faced with challenge after challenge, he learns about sacrifice, compassion, patience, and qualities that leaders must have in order to overcome incredible adversity. He learns...
Brown is effective creating believable characters, both good and bad, that are complex and struggle with life and death choices. There are some lighthearted moments which help ease the tension, but not many. I've read some comparing this to Hunger Games, which is a stretch I believe. Maybe some elements such as overcoming oppression and injustice but everything else is quite different.
Reynolds is at the top of the class in terms of quality narrators and bringing a story to life. Simply outstanding.
The story does end a little abruptly and clearly sets up the next story, but hardly detracts from the quality of the book. If you like epic fantasy yarns, and this one clearly sets up nicely for the remaining two books of this trilogy, you will enjoy this one. Most highly recommended.
Yes. Already have. This book has everything a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian lover could ever want.
There were so many! I don't want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say, there are many ups and downs, lots of twists and plenty of tension to go around. The rise and fall of allegiances and friendships, betrayals and unswerving loyalties, is always surprising. Other than that, I guess I'm always a sucker for a good makeover...
A red son rises.
The only reason I didn't give Red Rising five stars (and maybe this isn't fair) but many elements of this novel seem cliche... like Hunger Games, Ender's Game, Sparticus and various classic mythologies thrown in a blender. Makes a very delicious smoothie though... Plenty in there to distinguish it from other dystopian works but enough similarities that it was a touch... banal? Still enjoyable. Still a thrill-ride.
I love almost anything post-apocalyptic, zombie, scifi, ect. Always looking for some new earhole entertainment!
This is certainly the best book I've listened to all year! Excellent story by Pierce Brown and a great performance by Tim Gerard Reynolds. I love the Irish accent! Not a bad singing voice either. The reaper's song is etched into my mind now. This reminded me a little of The Hunger Games, but I think this is much better! Can't wait to start book 2!
This is a mash up of Lord of the Flies, Hunger Games, and every other post-apocalypse story you've read, except it will take years to get anywhere. It took about a year to end this book. Lots of blood and gore, lots of treachery. I did not see the different events as progressive steps moving the main character or the plot along; they just killed more people and gave the hero yet another chance to moan that "I didn't plan for that! Now what do I do?"
It does show the savagery of humans when given power over others and when forced to kill or die (Lord of the Flies). It does show a cruel decadent society that the underdogs need to destroy (Hunger Games). It does show humans willing to suffer and sacrifice either to outlive a global destruction (Dust: The Silo Saga) or to terraform an unhospitable planet (tons of these).
It does not really make you like the main character after the first part of the book, when he makes "the big discovery." And HE didn't make it anyway. And the deception has been going on for 700 years. It just seems all drawn out too long. I might get through the second book, but from here it looks doubtful.
Lies and manipulation by those in power has been taken to a new level in this futuristic interstellar society. Low reds who work the mines well below the surface of Mars are ruthlessly exploited under the illusion that the fruit of there labor will be a terraformed planet where their descendants will be able to live prosperous lives. The truth is the surface of the planet is already quite habitable and occupied by high reds (servants) and other colors that serve the ruling class of golds who have harnessed science to augment their physical prowess.
We do not spend too much time in this drab depressing environment. Just long enough to meet Darrow who is a helldiver mining helium-3. It is one of the more dangerous jobs requiring skills that will be useful to a revolutionary group intent on upsetting the golds vice like grip on the rest of humanity. They are called the sons of ares.
Darrow's wife is hung for a political infraction and he gets an appointment with the hangman next for cutting her body down and burying it rather then leaving it to be exhibited as an example. But, the sons of ares have other plans for him. And Darrow now has a lot of motivation.
Darrow is sculpted (bio engineered) to appear to be a gold. The sons of ares plan is to overthrow the power structure by infiltrating the highest level of command with one of their own. In order to get noticed he must do well at the academy. This is not an easy task. The golds felt that previous empires always fell because the powerful let themselves get soft. So the academy is a ruthless environment where it is sometimes kill or be killed. There are 12 armies and the leader and army that can conquer the rest are most likely to have the best careers in the real world.
If you liked the hunger games trilogy you will love this three book adventure. It is not a cheap imitation. If anything, this is a more richly drawn society. I usually wait before diving into the second book of a series, but this was so good there was only a few hours before the first book ended and the second book was started.
A movie deal has been done, so if you are one of those who likes to read the book before the film comes out - get this book now.
This is one of those books that you wait entire year hoping to find - solidly written, great storyline, intricate characterizations, and without the need to suspend disbelief at poor world building. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop as the story unfolded and surprised me at so many turns.
The synopsis - a boy in the lower echelons of a society, born into slave labor in the RED mining quarters underground in Mars, will find his life irrevocably changed when a small civil disobedience spirals into unforeseeable events. And one woman will choose a path for him through her own strength and sacrifice. To give any more of the plot would be to spoil the surprises to come.
This book was, to me, pure space opera. And this is just the first novel in a series with huge potential - I simply cannot wait to see where the author will take the characters in the next novel since it promises to be a huge change as well.
If I had to sum up the feel of the story - it would be a melange of the philosophy of Gattaca, action and conflict of Hunger Games, and grungy setting of Total Recall. As well, there is definitely the underlying earnestness that you find in a Homer Hickman book. Of course, creating analogies can make the book sound derivative - which I never felt while reading it. Somehow, all those influences converged into a book with characters that are flawed, real, and very interesting. Especially, the women aren't nuns/whores prototypes in so many books like this - they are full fleshed characters as well.
This really is one of those books that comes rarely - wholly satisfying science fiction type dystopia with an engaging and surprising storyline that is easy to read and not bogged down by descriptions or the science in the fiction.
Pierce Brown creates a dystopian future where mankind has populated the solar system and created a hierarchical caste system of colors. Strict rules and roles are assigned to each color, some of which are: Reds who provide the manual labor, Pinks who master the arts of pleasure, Blues who pilot the starships, Obsidians who fight the wars, Silvers who run the businesses, and Golds who rule society.
Darrow is born into this society at the bottom of the totem pole as a Red who works in the mines of Mars. As a Helldiver he risks his life manning a drill in the dangerous helium-3 mines but he accepts his role without question. He knows that mankind has ruined the Earth and helium-3 is needed to terraform Mars to provide humanity with a new home. He is proud of his work and understands that the Reds are sacrificing themselves to save humanity. Except it is all a lie....
Pierce Brown's tale of rebellion in a dystopian future is often compared to the Hunger Games and the parallels between the two are obvious; however, I would say that Red Rising is bigger in scale and darker in story. Darrow's coming of age is a wild ride and he goes through a brutal awakening as he learns the truth of the world he lives in. Darrow comes to hate the Gold ruling class because of the terrible things done to him and his people but it is not an inherent part of his nature. Thus he is conflicted as he faces the prospect of turning into the type of person he hates in order to successfully fight back.
Of course this is a Young Adult (YA) coming of age story so it does have some of the common weaker plot points contained in such novels. The one the bugged me the most is how easily certain powerful adults were overcome when the teenagers decided to push back against society's structure. It was too easy and convenient and that's why this one lands at 4 stars for me and not 5. Despite that fact I definitely enjoyed this more than the first book of the Hunger Games and I eagerly moved on to book 2: Golden Son.
Tim Gerard Reynolds is an awesome narrator and he was one of the reasons I decided to give this book a try in the first place. He did not disappoint and he really brought the characters to life by voicing them with his typical excellence.
"Very good book"
No, but I generally just listen to books once. There are just too many good ones to get through 😏
Easy , has to be Darrow. Very likeable character that you are always rooting for and hoping that he doesn't get consumed by his anger
Fitchner - makes you laugh the way he does the character.
Make gold bleed red
If you like the hunger games this one is for you. It's more sci fi in a good way. I'm reading the next book already...
"Ender Wiggin meets Paul Atreides & Katniss"
Firstly, I did enjoy this story. It is well written and the dialogue worked for me with a couple of pivot points where the narrative could turn one way or another. That said, there's an awful lot of Ender on Mars here (Ender even gets a hat-tip in a line of dialogue) with a good chunk of Paul Atreides and some obvious allusions to Katniss' story. So much so, that it really began to annoy me in the middle section of the book.
The narrator is decent and clear but having the poor underclass speaking with Oirish accents and the cruel elite in mock RP is crass and hackneyed. There's a lot of dialogue and thankfully, the narrator doesn't quite sustain the level of shrieking he delivers in the first third.
"Spartacus retold mixed with Red Faction"
Many good reviews drew my attention to this book, it didn't really sound like my thing to be honest but because of the reviews I thought I'll give it a go.
I wondered were it was going at the beginning and it wasn't griping me, but out of nowhere it did! I grabbed by the throat and wouldn't let go.
once it started it didn't stop the was never a slow moment in the book. the story may not have been the most original but the way it was told and the characters were. I think it was a new take on the story of Spartacus.
I thought it was brilliant and if you are stuck for a new book to listen to I would recommend Red Rising.
"Very good writing and narration"
Very good writing and narration. Also the world and character building is amazing. I recommend it for all readers.
I wanted to quit my job so I could finish it without interruptions. The narrator makes an excellent book into a masterpiece.
"Tell a Book by it's Cover?"
Yes, I admit it - I was drawn to this book by the beautiful and very striking cover. Rather shallow, perhaps, but in this case the visuals did not fail as the contents were exactly that: a remarkable and vividly told story beautifully written. The rise of Darrow, a Red, one of an enslaved class of peoples, into one of the Gold, the elites, is at times harrowing and does not always show our hero in a favourable light. Which is why this book is so successful. It is human nature pushed to extremes, of love, of hate and the need to survive not just for oneself but for an ideal, even when that ideal is sometimes elusive.
The narrator, T.G.Reynolds performs an epic interpretation, also. For the first few minutes I found his voice uncomfortable to hear but it very quickly translated into THE voice, Darrow's voice and added immensely to the pleasure. He even manages to sing sweetly, briefly, a song forbidden, too gentle to be called an anthem of rebellion yet this is what it is. And this, too, summarises the book for me. It is a tale of violence in an extreme world but told without recourse to prolonged description of gore and body hacking, though some of this occurred, of course. A story of trying to right wrongs but, in the doing, committing these same cruelties oneself. And confusion over the how's, the where's and even, sometimes, even the why's of life.
A rattling good read, and an excellent narration all wrapped up in a pretty package to leave the reader thinking and wanting more. All there just by opening the eye catching cover.
Though the narration was brilliant, I didn't like the change from sci-fi to dystopia and I found myself uninterested in the characters and the plot.
DNF at 70%.
Greatest book yet,,, marathon listen couldn't put it down
Was sitting in my wish list for months :. Didn't realise it was a diamond
Really enjoyed it, characters, storyline and the guy reading it. Sort of predictable in places but that makes for a nice easy listen 😊
"Can't put it down"
One hell of a story can't wait for the next part . five stars from the start to the end.
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