Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1 
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Release Date: January 28, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.


Let me start by saying I LOVE THIS SERIES. And had I not already read Golden Son by the time I wrote this review, I would have given this book 5 stars. But with Golden Son being UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLY AMAZING, I feel the need to distinguish between the two with a star differential, which in hindsight is probably fair. But folks, do not let that stop you from reading this series. 

I don't even know where to start professing my love, but I guess the world-building and premise are as good a place as any.  The world in Red Rising spans the solar system and consists of a hierarchical society distinguished by color, with Golds at the top, reds at the bottom, and 12 other colors in between - each with their respective role in society. The Golds rule like Gods, while the Reds naively toil away beneath the surface of Mars, their lives being expendable. Darrow is a Red and is seemingly content with his existence, but his wife is not. When she commits an innocent act punishable by death, she hopes to spur Darrow into leading a rebellion for their people. But rather than follow her wishes, Darrow, consumed by grief, follows her to the grave. Only a rebel force, with other plans for him, saves him from dying. They genetically modify Darrow to turn him into a Gold, so that he can bring them down from the inside. And to do so, Darrow must become the thing he hates most to save his people and honor his wife. HOW AWESOME IS THAT RIGHT THERE?

Well, it gets even better. The Golds have a Hunger Games-esque selection process for identifying their best and brightest and Darrow must win it if he wants his choice of apprenticeship. Darrow must outsmart several other ruthless, power-hungry Golds, only there are no rules and the Game overseers are playing favorites. This was the part of the story I enjoyed the most because I found it to be so damn exciting but I have to say that I am quite in awe/obsessed over the entirety of it. It was like this book was written with all of the things that I love in mind. The world, the characters, the plot were all deeply emotional, richly complex, and unfailingly unpredictable. It might have taken some time to build up to that, but my god, it just kept getting better and better.

Since I have already read Golden Son, I can say that Pierce Brown outdoes himself. This series is easily a new favorite and outshines the majority of books out there. It is no surprise that it won for Best Debut on Goodreads. I can't recommend it enough. It has everything. 

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