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 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 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.
I was a bit apprehensive about picking up Red Rising at first, because all the synopsizes for the book went something like, “In a world where society is divided into rigorous groups…” etc, and it sounded like every dystopian-ish series I´d ever read. But, boy, was I wrong.
The whole class system isn´t something new; we see it in Divergent, The Hunger Games and many others. But what makes Pierce´s version of it more interesting is how deeply the concept of hierarchy is explored. While reading, I could almost taste the political and social aspects of the plot; they were woven in the dialogue, in the settings, in the character development. It´s impossible to read Darrow´s story and not understand how it reflects aspects of our own society.
After finishing the book I honestly felt like starting a revolution. I wanted to crush injustice and unite the peoples of Earth. Late night reading sessions in this world led to sleep-muddled decisions such as: adding The Art of War to my “Want To Read’ shelf on Goodreads. Seriously, though, Pierce introduces us to amazing world-building and some really unique vocabulary
The story is gory (like, REALLY GORY), but it´s also one of the most aesthetic books I´ve ever read in my life. I could perfectly imagine the scenery, with the castles, highlands, snow-covered mountains…I could see the wolf-cloaked boys and girls, sneaking across dark forests with their faces painted with blood and their knuckles white around swords and axes. In every chapter, there was at least one scene that made me itch for paper and pastel crayons.
Pierce Brown managed to make a far-fetched world seem realistic, through incredible descriptions and raw human relationships. These characters suffer like there´s no tomorrow, making more enemies than allies, but they´re also just teenagers. Some rise as leaders amidst the gore, others succumb to the grotesquerie. Their situation is cruel, unfairly approved by their government and their families, meaning that they´re definitely not soft characters. In this book, the weak die early and you won´t find any damsels needing rescue. But, at the same time, here I am, a seventeen-year old girl who can barely run five kilometers, adopting this hoard of murderers as my fictional children (Darrow, Sevro and the Howlers have a special place in my heart).
Although I would´ve liked for the conflict with the Jackal (another messed up teenager with a penchant for nastiness) to have been more developed, Red Rising most definitely deserves five stars. If you´re a fan of Game of Thrones and 1984, you´ll enjoy this.