Friday, January 2, 2015

Review: Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Red Rising Trilogy #1
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 12/26/14 to 12/31/14
382 Pages

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 a 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.

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Here's to the first review of 2015! Woo! 

I received Red Rising from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I know Red Rising came out a little less than a year ago, but with the release of Golden Sun in a couple of days, I decided to give the series a shot. And to my surprise I did not expect my feels and emotions to act in such a way that is causing me pain and suffering, because holy poop this is a heck of an intense book.

The beginning of the book compared to the rest of it is hugely different, in which the setting is drastically different. It starts off with Darrow living with his family in the underground of Mars. He is a Red, and therefore mines to provide enough resources for terraforming. These resources are given to the "higher-ups" so that they can "prepare" Mars for habitation for the other colors. Oh, and sadly the Reds are the lowest in the caste system. They're basically slaves.

Overall, it sucks for Darrow and the Reds. Luckily, in the latter part of the novel we are thrown into the rebellion phase, where Darrow goes through major surgery to become the highest color, a Gold. Here, we enter the Institute where Golds go to learn and be "drafted" by the higher-ups. Really, it's like football drafting, but uh.....a little violent.

No seriously, the drafting phase is like the board game Risk, but in real life. Every Gold admitted is assigned a House (based on the Greek gods and goddesses), and within that house they plan and strategize to take over the other houses.

Everything is great in the beginning, because everyone has this mindset that there won't be killing since the proctors, or their "gods" are watching them and making sure no one dies.

But of course this isn't necessarily true, and it's evident that the players aren't following the rules. Sure there is medical bots almost everywhere, but sometimes they just don't come in time. It's almost like The Hunger Games, but it lasts for almost year. 

That entire arc of the book is just Darrow strategizing, planning, and finding ways to become the leader of his house and beat the entire game. This means taking over and enslaving each player and knocking out all of the houses. BUT THEN WE FIND OUT it's not even just the players we need to worry about, but also the proctors are involved in this huge nasty business. Basically, everything is unpredictable.

Though I do have to mention that Darrow is really smart and intelligent. Like, incredibly so, in that I don't understand how he got that smart. I mean, I do mind and then I don't mind, because I love cheering for the underdog. Darrow did mess up sometimes, and was also betrayed a lot, but [slight spoiler] the enemy in the book was widely exaggerated and the ending was kind of anticlimactic. [end spoiler]

Overall, this didn't hinder in my enjoyment of Red Rising, since everything, including the world-building and the characters, were creatively well-written. Although there is a lot of new terminology, it reflects on our real life in that it can be easily interpreted (like in Earth Girl and that slang ha). I would like to point out that that there are a lot of characters and a lot of details, plus the pacing is incredibly fast at points, skipping weeks and sometimes even months between paragraphs. 

Red Rising worked for me, and I am excited to get on with Golden Son, because I have no idea what the heck Darrow is going to do next. 
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