Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

RED RISING by Pierce Brown  
Published by Del Rey – Random House Hardcover: 978-0-345-53978-6 Ebook: 978-0-345-53979-3 
See what all the buzz is about on Goodreads 

“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler

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.

My thoughts:

Red Rising was compared to The Hunger Games (as so many dystopian novels are). I’ll admit when a new release is compared to my much loved The Hunger Games I tend to shake my fist in the air while shouting BLASPHEMY. I’ll also admit most of those novels lead to disappointment. I went into Red Rising hesitantly, crossing my fingers and praying that disappointment wouldn’t come. I’m pleased to announce it didn’t.

The first few pages of Red Rising were confusing as I tried to acclimate to the foreign world in which it takes place, but I found myself engrossed in Darrow’s world in no time. As I reached the 10% mark I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was taken from beauty to devastation in a few short pages. I couldn’t fathom how the author could do what he did. I won’t reveal what events shattered my heart into tiny pieces, but I advise you to keep the tissues handy. The events that unfolded set into place what can only be described as an epic adventure.

Now excuse me while I go all fangirl for a moment. This novel can easily be described as downright brilliant and absolutely stunning. The author’s words summoned so much emotion and vivid visualizations of the world in which the characters reside. I’ve encountered few authors whose writing I would call beautiful. Maggie Stiefvater and Jandy Nelson both quickly come to mind. Pierce Brown is now perched very high on that list. His narrative had me starting paragraphs and pages over to drink in the loveliness of his words. I’m a sucker for pretty flowing writing and admit I’m a tad smitten with Mr. Brown’s words. He even made the act of war, and all its gory details, sound glorious and dignified. I wanted to climb in and battle it out at Darrow's side. Pierce Brown, your imagination and creativity is something all aspiring authors should covet.

Now I mentioned beauty and pretty, but please don’t think this novel is full of rainbows and unicorns. The violence at times was disturbing. I’ll admit I set it down to take a break. The fact that I came back to read more is testimony to Red Rising’s amazingness. This isn’t a book I wanted to devour in one sitting. Instead I felt the need to pace myself savoring every tiny detail. Plowing through would have easily lead to emotional overload. Even though I took my time, I still feel my heart came out covered in band-aids. So much feeling and emotion in this book. Writing this review makes me want to grab it and read it again.

The characters may be the best part of this book. Main character, Darrow, is what every hero should strive to be. He straddled the line of compassionate and ruthless. I enjoyed witnessing his inner turmoil as the novel progressed. He is a character who loves with all his heart. I adored that about him. The secondary characters were all well developed and unique. The romantic elements added something without overshadowing Darrow's battle. Loved, loved, loved.

Bottom line - This book is a must read for anyone and everyone who enjoys the dystopian genre. Pierce Brown has set the bar high, and I'm eager to see where he takes readers next!

Darrow's world is intricate. I can see this being a turn off initially. I highly recommend visiting and familiarizing yourself with the society’s structure (the references to Greek mythology had my inner geek squealing in delight).

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 Source: NetGalley


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