Review: Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Series: Red Rising
Genre: Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 5-
Content Warning: Rape (off-the-page)
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

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. [redacted by reviewer because I feel like this is spoilery]

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.


This is going to be a short review, because I didn’t really connect with this book, but I’m not sure that I fully understand why.

Basically, I didn’t care about Darrow, the slaves, his backstory, or his rebellion. Once he got to The Institute and the Hunger Games comp got underway I really started enjoying the book, but I genuinely don’t care about the larger story. Maybe Brown jumped into his Rue-moment too quickly, I don’t’ know, but it had zero emotional impact for me. I also had a hard time suspending my disbelief that his long-game infiltration strategy would work.

I also didn’t like the writing style at the beginning, which may be why I didn’t care about Darrow’s backstory. But the more I read the more I got into it, so clearly there’s nothing wrong with it. Again, I’m not sure what about it I didn’t like, it just felt strange to me.

Finally, this isn’t the most effective worldbuilding for me. In particular, the way the Gold-caste super-humans are described is inconsistent. At the beginning, Darrow describes them as being almost God-like in terms of appearance, physical ability, and brainpower. But then once he starts spending time around them and it’s not convenient plot-wise for everyone to be perfect, they are just like, regular people. Some of them are even *gasp* ugly.

I did really enjoy the war games at The Institute. While I see why there’s a consistent Hunger Games comp, they aren’t quite the same. Regardless, it was pretty entertaining, and by the end I was fully invested in Darrow’s scheming.

This book was fine. I’m not inclined to continue with this series, but someone I have similar reading tastes says the series gets better as it goes, and I liked it well enough to take her word for it and keep reading. Hopefully the rest of the series will be less disappointing.

4 thoughts on “Review: Red Rising

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