Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
Red Rising was a very enjoyable and clearly well-written book. However, it was not the most original, and I found it hard to follow at parts.
Series: Red Rising Trilogy, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Rating: 4 stars
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.
Red Rising was a very enjoyable and clearly well-written book. However, it was not the most original, and I found it hard to follow at parts. Although I did have a pleasant experience with this book, I don’t think I’ll continue with the rest of the trilogy (by this I mean the second book, which just came out) at this point.
I loved the audiobook narrator! Tim Gerard Reynolds’s voice is super beautiful and amazing to listen to. Unfortunately, I found Red Rising a difficult book to listen to on audiobook, since it seemed to require more of my attention and focus than I could give when listening.
The plot and world-building of this book is very complicated at times. It does suit the book very well, and I most certainly enjoyed this aspect of the book, but I’d recommend reading this book rather than listening to fully appreciate it. However, there is a beautiful song that plays a main part in Red Rising, and it is so beautifully sung on the audiobook you cannot miss out! So here is a video so you can enjoy the best parts of both the book and audiobook!
As I mentioned before, this book doesn’t have the most original plot and themes. It is probably the best book for The Hunger Games fans on book hangover, since it is nearly identical in many ways, although many people even argue it is better. First of all, Darrow is a Red, people who are forced to work for the “good” of the human race, but it turns out that the highest level of people, the Golds, are keeping the Reds in the dark about the current situation and exploiting their work. So Darrow, with the help of a secret organization, pretends to be a Gold and goes to their special school. At this school, they are forced to kill each other and compete in a multiple year long arena “exercise” where they need to conquer the other teams, killing if necessary. Guess who wins? Sound similar to Katniss, the girl from District 12 in a dystopian society, who participates in the arena game where young teens are forced to fight against each other to the death and surprise surprise she wins?
Although the focus of this book is not on romance, there is some super sweet attraction involved. Without giving to much away, I love the romance between Darrow and Eo. It is interesting that they are married so young, which is unusual for your average YA book, but it fits this book perfectly.
Something I really loved about this book is the Greek and Roman influences. Greek letters are used as names of tribes, the Greek and Roman gods are used as names for coaches in the arena game, and it is even acknowledged that the dystopian society reflects the Spartan lifestyle of military might. Many of the character’s names are Roman too, such as Cassius, Titus, Pollux, Pax (an ironic name if ever I’ve heard one), etc.
All in all, I did enjoy this book. For the meantime, will not be reading Golden Son, but it is not unlikely that I will attempt to re-read this book someday in the future and enjoy it even more!
This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge.