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.
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 was born in high heels and I've worn them ever since." ~Helena Christensen
Yes, absolutely. The characters had many nuances, and there were so many with such varied and unusual names - I'd like to hope I didn't miss anything! The story itself was compelling, and I honestly cared for the characters...unlike some books you can compare it to.
Its certainly in the hierarchy, dystopian, sci-fi fantasy place that's popular right now - but the characters made so much of the story. They are complex...bad and good, well-intentioned often in their own way, privileged but broken, deprived yet empowered. Some are redeemed, some are evil, some are nearly perfect (like Eo)...but...and the big but...you don't necessarily know how each character will remain. They feel real. You can't advance the story in your head 5 chapters and get it right, you can't predict all the choices they'll make. I love that.
Darrow building his merry band of rejects!
Sharpened by hate. Strengthened by love.
If you're a fan of the genre - then you will not regret Red Rising. I'm eagerly awaiting Golden Son and most likely won't be able to wait on the AudioBook - so let's see if we can get them both released at the same time!
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.
You never have to wait for anything if you bring a good book.
The unsatisfying ending seems to scream SEQUEL in big bold letters and I wonder if the plodding pace and overstuffed details that are unevenly distributed in the book are a means to bulk up this offering for those of us who judge a book by it's size.
Brown weaves in a well-spun adventure when the student houses battle each other for dominance, but the story seems to borrow heavily from more successful endeavors such as "Ender's Game," the "Hunger Games" and even the Harry Potter series. It's almost as if he's trying to write specifically to fit into a new genre called "children coming of age in a future dystopia."
The narrator does a fairly good job other than a kind of plodding pace that to be fair might be the narration rather than the narrator.
I found the amount of harbored long term rage, both from the hero and from his enemies, more than a little is unbelievable. I was also unconvinced by the miraculous transition of the hero from slave to superman. How does someone go from pure ignorance to top of class on sheer will power alone, especially if any speed-reading technology is also available to the upper class folks he is competing with? How does futuristic cosmetic surgery make a working class boy into an elite warrior in a way that the elites who own planets could not afford to do for themselves?
This book pretends to champion democratic and meritocratic values, but I fear it undermines this goal by letting its hero take shortcuts to greatness because he was born to be better than others.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
This book was really hard to rate because it was well written, but it felt like a collection of YA book tropes.
Is it set in a Dystopian future? Why yes it is.
Is the main character avenging the tragic rebellious death of a loved one that happens to get played on TV? Well, now that you mention it, yes.
Does the main character have to attend a special school, where more than 70% of the students die in training (which is utterly ridiculous by the way)? How did you guess?
Is there a game in which the contestants fight each other to the death? Yes, there is.
Is the main character very cocky and smarter than everyone else, despite the fact that they are all better education than him? Yes, yes he is.
Name some more YA tropes and they are in this book.
Now if I had not read any other YA books in the last 5 years, this would probably be ranked as one of the best YA books ever written. However, there is just way too much, "been there done that" feeling when reading this. Which makes it an OK read but not great, and thus 2 stars, which means, "It was OK" per good reads.
This is, by far, the best YA book I've encountered. I've seen it compared to Divergent, a society with stratified classes each serving a specific purpose, but the similarities end there. Divergent is as far from Red Rising as Plan 9 from Outerspace is from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The complexity of story and characters that Brown has created makes it difficult to pigeon-hole Red Rising as a YA fiction. It is simply a great novel that can be appreciated by anyone of any age. It avoids the angst filled love story, ever present in YA fiction, and instead focuses on the inner turmoil of a young man born into near slavery who has a chance to save his class and his society from the tyrannic rule of a master race.
Brown has penned a novel that transcends genre and should be read by all.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
If you've read The Hunger Games and other dystopian science fiction novels, the premise of Red Rising is a familiar one. The hero of the story, Darrow, is a tough-beyond-his-years teenager from the lowly "Red" mining caste, which spends its days drilling under the surface of Mars. Turns out, though, that Mars has been terraformed for centuries, and the Reds, like other color-coded castes, are dominated by the "Golds", who consider themselves to be superior to all other humans and therefore the natural rulers.
The first few chapters are a little rushed and clunky. Darrow gets on the wrong side of his masters and nearly pays for it with his life, except a rebel group rescues him at the last moment to recruit him for a special assignment. They remake him to look and act like a Gold, with the goal of having him rise up to a position of power in Gold society. This was the point at which I nearly stopped reading, because the tropes felt so overdone.
Luckily, the story becomes much more engaging once Darrow and a crop of young Golds are thrown into the trials of the Institute, which is designed to find those with the most leadership potential and weed out the least capable. The Golds, as we learn, fear decadence and have a Darwinistic philosophy to keep it in check. Accordingly, the Institute is a vast competitive proving ground that falls somewhere between the arena of The Hunger Games and the battle school in Ender's Game. Students are assigned a house (each named after a different Roman/Greek god) and placed in a large, open preserve where they must figure out how to defend a base, make use of resources, and conquer the other tribes. Fans of the aforementioned books will probably enjoy all the scheming, combat, alliances, double-crossing, and tests of character. It's not original stuff, but Brown makes good use of factions, symbols, and the personalities of his central characters to keep the wheels of the plot turning -- and to make some deeper points about the nature of governance and social order, as they evolve from law of the jungle.
If the characters are a little too crafty and mentally tough to be fully believable as teens, the taut storytelling and good sense of pacing kept me hooked until the end. The echoes of the Iliad, with interfering "gods" and warriors trying to build names for themselves, might strike some readers as cheesy, but I enjoyed them. At this point, the youths-forced-into-contrived-war-games subgenre of science fiction is rather crowded, but Red Rising will probably please fans of it. There's plenty of setup for the next book, which promises dangerous political games amongst the grownups.
I enjoyed the audiobook narration, which uses an Irish brogue to suggest the Reds, and an upper-class British accent for the Golds. Tim Gerard Reynolds does a good job of switching between the two, for Darrow's inner monologues and spoken dialogue. A few of the side characters might have been easier to distinguish.
A couple reviews call this a young adult novel? I don't quite understand where that comes from other than the fact that the story line resembles hunger games. It's a brutal fantasy novel that was inlayed into a dystopian universe like Lord of the flies / brave new world/ender's game. I also love the song and the singing of it several times. I think the audio book brought something more than the plain text version can offer.
I love to read. Always have & always will. Audible makes it possible when I can't sit and read. Audio brings great stories to life!!!!
BLOODY DAMN AWESOME
That was BLOODYDAMN AWESOME!!! For once the reviews did not exaggerate. This book is a cross of Spartacus meets a even more sick, twisted version of the Hunger Games and I loved every minute...... This one has it all, an unstoppable underdog, wicked villains, love, hilarity and non-stop action. I was either cracking up laughing, flinching at the violence or just straight up pissed off & appalled at the injustice of the Golds. Definitely, the best book I have read this year and I don't see how it will be out done!!!
"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.
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