Red Rising

Red Rising

Book - 2014 | First edition
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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.
Publisher: New York : Del Rey, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780345539786
Branch Call Number: SCI BROWN-P
Characteristics: 382 pages : illustration, map ; 25 cm


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Oct 12, 2020

Takes a little getting into but after a couple of chapters , it takes off.

Jul 02, 2020

This series isn't in my normal genres of preference. I love it. When I first put it on my list I put off reading it because, I mean, it's some pretty heavy stuff. I didn't figure I'd like it that much. It is so engaging and entrancing. I was so invested so quickly and in it's forward momentum. As I've burned through the series (about a book a day) I've been constantly surprised. I've seen comments disparaging it in comparison to The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a YA series. It's written for young adults and this book is written for adults. I really feel like all the nuances of ever looming questions are touched on. Reason, morality, ethics, brutality, war, peace, life, death. There's a massive amount of depth here. Much much bigger points of significance than you'll find in YA dystopian novels. No judgement! I love those books too but these are two different species.

ArapahoeTiegan Feb 13, 2020

I enjoyed the writing, characters, and story enough that I know I will continue with the series. However, I did find myself disappointed that the entire book takes place in the training school. I was so ready to move on and it just never did. I'm hoping to learn more about the organization of the universe in the following books.

Jan 10, 2020

I love the book. while yes it is a lot like the Hunger games it's better. the author does a superb job. i'm reading the book for the second time and still very much enamored with the characters their struggles. it's worth reading.

Dec 28, 2019

speculative fiction; somewhat like Hunger games, may be more substantial than that. maybe

Nov 15, 2019

This book is very well written and I agree with others it is similar to the Hunger Games series. I am giving it a low rating because of what felt like excessively violent subject matter. I decided to stop reading this book a little over half way through because of the violence and discussion of rape.

WCL_Rosie Oct 23, 2019

A fast paced, dystopian sci-fi that readers might compare to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. An oppressed member of the lowest caste in their society, Darrow infiltrates the highest caste for revenge and justice, but struggles when he realizes he shares many similarities with the people supposed to be his enemies.

I've been meaning to read this for about a year. Prior to reading it, I'd gotten a veritable boatload of gushing reviews, both from Goodreads reviewers and from a lot of my friends. Alas...well..."Red Rising" wasn't quite my thing. It was enjoyable, for sure, and it had a lot of promise, but I had two main issues with it: the plot and the main character (Darrow).

The first quarter or so of "Red Rising" seemed to be somewhat original. I think I would've enjoyed it a tiny bit more if the twist hadn't been spoiled for me beforehand, but that wasn't the only reason why I'm not the biggest fan. As soon as Darrow gets recruited for the Sons of Ares, the plot goes down a cliche-riddled rabbit hole. I found it to be waaaaaaaaaaay too derivative of The Hunger Games--strong, young member of the lowest class gets shipped off into the elite, ruling class, gets thrown into a battle to the death in an arena designed to look like the woods, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Speaking of which, the “gets thrown into a battle to the death in a woodsy arena” mess went on for far too long. I found myself skimming through the last one hundred pages or so.

Now, let’s talk about Darrow. I...sort of liked him at the beginning of the book? It seemed like he was going to be something of a flawed and fallible character, but likeable enough to root for. But, soon as Mickey and Matteo groomed him up to be a Gold, all hopes of said character traits disappeared like half of the universe after Thanos snapped his fingers. Darrow became the polar opposite of what I thought he was going to be as soon as he entered the arena--arrogant, insensitive, headstrong, and impulsive. I lost interest in him quickly. Sidenote, Eo probably existed only to create trauma for the character, which, while I see the logic behind it, sort of bugs me for some reason.

That being said, there were some things that I really did enjoy about this book. Pierce Brown obviously spent a great deal of time creating the societal structure of Mars, and outlining the history of human space travel without making it an overwhelming infodump. It was very intriguing to see how the different Colors played their roles in the Martian world, and the assignments/traits that each Color possessed. Makes me many colors are there in all? Is Teal a thing on Mars? What are the purposes of Teals, if so? I mean, chances are, this is all put to rest in the later installments in the series, but I don’t know if I’m motivated to read the rest of the series. Most of the characters were also very well-written, and the prose made them feel very real.

Well, that was a little disappointing. “Red Rising” had enough good qualities to garner a three star rating from yours truly, but it just wasn’t quite my style. It’s tragically difficult to find great sci-fi these days. Sigh.

Aug 09, 2019

Darrow is a Red: born in the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, he believes he and his people are pioneers, slaving away so humanity can leave behind a dying, overpopulated Earth. But when Darrow’s beloved wife Eo is killed after trying to stand up to their Gold masters, Darrow learns the truth–the Reds have been tricked. Mars has been liveable for hundreds of years, and the other Colors have spread throughout the solar system, living off of Red slavery. When Darrow is sentenced to death, the renegade Sons of Ares step in with a plan: transform him into a Gold so he can bring down the system from within. But first Darrow must gain the body and mind of a Gold, and then, be tested according to their rules. At any step they may discover his true Color, and even if they do not, he may still fail to rise within the Gold ranks. Darrow must try keep the dream Eo died for alive, even as he becomes the very thing he hates the most.
Imagine the principles of Sparta pushed into a future where humans have colonized the galaxy, and you’d get Red Rising. Darrow is probably the only character Brown has put all of his energy into (although Eo and some of Darrow’s Gold allies are also well depicted), and his work shows. It’s fascinating to watch Darrow go from slavery and hopelessness to the fierce, strategic warrior he becomes. The pacing is not too fast in order to give Brown time to describe Darrow’s experiences in detail, and the story really hooks into you and keeps you reading. The writing can get brutal at times, but that makes sense, given the brutality of the story. I’m excited to read Golden Son, the second book in the series.

taereads Jul 30, 2019

This book is so wild, I couldn't help but be invested in the lives of the characters. My friend recommended this book to me and the lasting impression I get from it is that I read 'Lord of the Flies' but in space.

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Aug 30, 2018

aly_hansen thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 13, 2018

latwell1 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Dec 02, 2016

LauraSteinert thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jun 12, 2015

Meepster6299 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 25

donnamswan Jul 06, 2014

donnamswan thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Apr 07, 2014

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Apr 06, 2014

rem85 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Feb 18, 2019


Dec 02, 2016

Power must be claimed. Wealth won. Rule, dominion, empire purchased with blood. You scar-less children deserve nothing. You do not know pain. Your do not know what your forefathers sacrificed to place you on these heights. But soon, you will. Soon, we will teach you why Gold rules mankind. And I promise, of those among you, only those few fir for power will survive.

Jun 12, 2015

"I am my father's son"


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Jun 12, 2015

This was an amazing story about a young man Darrow. He lives in a futuristic world where the human race has learned to live on other planets. To organize society, the people formed a hierarchy, with Reds at the bottom and Golds at the top. His wife ends up getting hung for singing a forbidden song. A rebellion begins and Darrow infiltrates the Gold's academy. He earns the top rank in his year there and gets close with the Arch Governor of Mars.
It was captivating and I think you should read this story :)

LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

Darrow has the most dangerous job on Mars. He is the helldiver of Lycos, running the drill deep underground that mines Mars for valuable natural resources. Helldivers to not generally live long lives, like his father who died when he was a child. But Darrow has other plans, he is going to make something of himself, and his clan. But he can only rise so far, the caste system of society keeps his people down. They are Reds, deemed to be good at nothing but hard labor. They are ruled over by the Blues, Greys, and at the top...the Golds, the apex of human evolution.

To celebrate a particularly bountiful month in the mines, Darrow and his wife sneak off to see a big of the martian sky (a view not allowed to lowly Reds). Returning home they are caught and imprisoned for their crime. When their punishment, a whipping turns public, Eo sacrifices her life to speak out against the Golds and the caste system. She and Darrow are sentenced to die by hanging...Darrow's life is saved by the resistance movement, Eo's life is not.

The resistance tells Darrow they need him to overthrow the Golds, to prove that anyone has what it takes to be a Gold and that the colors mean nothing. Now that the Golds think he is dead, the plan is to teach Darrow to be one of them, to infiltrate their ranks, to push him into the highest ranks the government and military. Then to reveal his true origins and bring the system crashing down.

But first Darrow must survive the most grueling surgeries to remove his Red scars, a grueling initiation and finally the cruel war-games that constitute an entrance exam to the Gold academy. Can Darrow leave his old ways behind, sacrifice everything to avenge Eo?


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