Wednesday, April 25, 2018

XBR4OF #11: Red Rising #1

Xyra's Book Reviews for Older Followers

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

A friend of mine from The Leaky Cauldron posted something about this book on Facebook; I checked it out, read the blurb, and thought the premise sounded interesting albeit brutal. 

The front cover has a quote...
"Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow." ~Scott Sigler
I haven't read Ender's Game, but I have read The Hunger Games. Mentioning Katniss, if you are familiar with her and all her people went through, then you can guess how brutal this story could be. As I have read the Hunger Games trilogy, I could see bits that reminded me of Katniss's story. However, the Golds are capital residents on steroids; and all the tributes are their own⏤not from outlying districts.

Red Rising is book one in a series. The series currently has five books. Book six is yet untitled. Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, Dark Age...

The Blurb

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free, " she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.""I live for you," I say sadly.Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."
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 bloods 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 forded 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.

The Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Things that make you say, "Whaaatt??" That would be the ending...and that's no spoiler, well, maybe a small one.

I had never heard of this series until a friend suggested it. A very good suggestion. However, the first chapter did not impress me. In fact, I almost put the book down. The style seemed disjointed and character overly crass. In the past, I would confer with my GUSIALI friends and they would tell me, "Just keep reading." Though we do not chat as we used to, their voices urged me to continue, to look for more. I found it.

Darrow is fantastic. Emotional. Sometimes not quick to think, other times a tactical genius.

Otherwise there are so many characters, I'm not 100% certain who will continue through the entire series. I can guess the ones that are more developed like Cassius, Mustang, and Sevro (who I keep calling Servo) will make themselves present as the story progresses (I have not visited the Howlers fan sites; will wait until after book 2).

This is a quest rebellion adventure. Darrow is the chosen one (or maybe one of many; the most successful perhaps). A dream planted by a wife, tended by a carver and rebels, grew through dangers untold in a cruel academy.

Once into part two the pace really picked up for me. By part four, I stopped reading before bed because I was having a hard time putting it down; I had to know what was going to happen next.

Twists, turns, surprises. Blood, battle, betrayal. Love, loyalty, and hatred. You'll find it all in these pages. The book comes to a close, but does not stand alone. The quest is not finished.

As I want to learn what happens next and will be calling the library shortly to see if I can get book two, I'll say this is a good read. I am glad I did not quit on Darrow. Maybe I am a Howler.

Happy reading!

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