Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

redrisingThe 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.

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page Count: 382

I started this book not knowing what to expect. Seen as Pierce Brown was crowned hottest YA author by Buzzfeed (Yes, this is for real! Check out the post here!), I guess I just assumed that Red Rising would be a Young Adult dystopian novel … well, I am not so sure now. Despite the main characters being teens, I think this is a very adult book.

You cannot imagine how “gorydamn” hard it is for me to write this review right now, because this book took me completely by surprise and swept me off my feet. I can’t say that it was love at first sight though. The book itself is separated into several parts and it starts out with a lot of information, just to negate everything we thought we knew in the second part. The world-building is really complex with it’s own unique vocabulary that needs some time getting used to. Like Districts in the Hunger Games and Factions in Divergent, we now have Colours that separate the people – Red being the lowest and Gold being the highest in the hierarchy. There were also tons of references to Greek and Roman mythology, which I really loved, which I thought gave the story a very distinct voice.

Right from the beginning everything is very dark, cruel and unjust. A lot of things are already considered given from the get go, but at the same time so many very emotional things happen that you aren’t yet ready for. I think that maybe there wasn’t enough time to get to know everyone properly for some of the tropes to really hit you with their full force. However, as I went on I found myself unable to put the book down. There was this raw rage, the sense of injustice, an incredible amount of scheming and the pure confusion about who to trust. My whole body tensed up at times, almost shaking from the intensity with which I had to know how the story continues.

I really have to give it to Pierce Brown for creating such complex characters, each of them having a unique motivation, likable and dislikable traits. Darrow is a strong hero, but he is also human and therefore makes mistakes. He is incredibly relatable in his struggle between getting vengeance and justice for his people, but he is far from being the only great character! I changed my mind about so many people several times throughout the book, feeling my heart crack every single time there was another betrayal or death. So many people die! I was emotionally exhausted by the end.

In the end, I can only give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because of it’s slow start. Other than that I utterly loved it and cannot wait to continue with the series!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! People who like dystopian novels in the slightest bit HAVE TO check it out!


Do you know what I am going to do now? I am going to order Golden Son, that’s what! Have you read Red Rising? What’s your take on it?

58 thoughts on “Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

  1. I’m so happy that you liked it 🙂 . I agree with you, the beginning is really slow and it has a lot of new information but as soon as you’re into the world it becomes an amazing book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book so much. I still can’t put into review worthy words the level of love I had for this book. I am SOOO happy that you enjoyed it and YAS, there is sooo much adult level shit that goes down that it really is only YA because of their ages. I do think that Pierce is pushing the boundary of what is allowed in YA though becuase he’s saying something about what should be in YA, that these harder more complex issues CAN be tackled under this age category and authors don’t need to dumb down their stories because of their target audience. IDK, that’s just my take. All the feels for this book. All the feels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a hard time writing this review too, still not sure I made the book any justice, because I really loved it.
      I get what you mean by YA not getting watered down – I think that is important as well, but YA is such a broad genre. It’s from age 12 to 18 and I really don’t think that this book is suited for teens below 15. :/ It was really, really intense!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true! Your absolutely right. YA is a broad genre with a massive age group. 12-18 is actually very broad in terms of cognitive development so I agree with you 100% . I feel like there should be a subdivision in YA pointing to the upper end so people know that under a certain age the content may not be appropriate/relatable.
        And yes. RR was intense. I haven’t read Golden Son and have held off because I told myself I wouldn’t get caught up in it until I finished the current draft of my manuscript but omg the urge to just read it is soo real!! Lol. I can already imagine the level of book hangover that one is going to give me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can only agree with that as well. A sort of sub-division would really help to clarify things and make sure everyone knows what’s suitable for what age.
        I am probably going to get Golden Son in a couple of days and will tear through it. I am scared of all the feels it’s going to give me! Good luck with your manuscript though! I am still not finished with my first draft from back in November :/ and I am hopeless with editing my other novel … ups!

        Liked by 1 person

      • *grabby hands for GS!!* I am also terrified of the feels. I think that book will just destroy me. I sort of also want to wait until I can get Morning Star so I can dive right into it after GS if the feels are too much. I have been working on this since March of last year. So many ups and downs. So many. I could write a book on all the ups and downs writing this one book has given me. ANYWAY… Lol…enough of my sob story, what do you write?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am a little worried about the wait for Morning Star afterwards, but the release soon! I can do this – deluding myself is my specialty!
        I hear you on the writing thing! There are really times where I don’t even want open the word document and other times I can’t stop (surprisingly that happens in Starbucks a lot).
        I tried writing a Contemporary RomCom first and last year I started a sort of SciFi story. They both need SO MUCH work! I am not the best writer, but I like it, so I say that is what counts most!


      • Your story is important!!! Don’t give up on it! 😄 You don’t have to be the best writer to grow into a better one. I thought I was a good writer when I started this book, then I met CPs and realized I knew nothing about writing. Lol. It’s a journey for sure. Your love for your story is what matters most! At least that’s what I believe too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely agree with Pierce’s status as “hottest YA male author” because dang, he is one attractive dude! But focussing on the actual book, I sadly haven’t read it yet but I indeed have heard great things about it. 😊
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen this book on 289738 different blogs and I STILL haven’t read it. Seriously though, what am I doing with my life? You might have pushed me towards getting to it quicker though XD GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY? yas. Count me in. I don’t know, the whole world-building and hierarchy looks so cool, I really need to try this. Also A+ gif usage. Because Tangled. Loved the review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds really full-on in terms of dystopian-ness (not sure if that’s even a word but oh well xD), but it also looks really interesting! I shall be keeping an eye out for this next time I go to the library. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Right, so I was hesitating about reading this book. Yes, the initial motivation was Pierce the hottie author, but let’s just say that was what made me curious in the first place.

    Red Rising has great reviews, and yours is one of them! I totally trust your opinion and taste 😀 so, I might give it a try.

    Now, before that, let me ask you, is there any romance, love-story line or such? I kinda need a little bit of that in a book to completely hook me up.

    Great great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha Pierce was definitely the reason I checked out the book. He is so funny! Have you seen the videos on Tashapolis’ channel?
      Red Rising was amazing! Give it a little time in the beginning though, it can be overwhelming!
      Romance … hmmm … yes, sort of … but it really isn’t a main focus. It comes through a little more in Golden Son in my opinion thouhg.


  7. So I finished the Red Rising audio book, and it was better than I could’ve imagined. I loved how it just twisted and turned so that you were never sure what to expect (well, there were a few points where i knew what to expect, but half of those points were revealed in the book’s summary, and the other I guessed as that was what I would write). For example, I never saw the school being a real battlefield coming. Everyone’s referred to school as a battlefield before, but I think this is the first time outside of a comedy manga where it was taken literally.I also really liked a lot of the characters, especially Darrow and Sevro and Roke (I actually imagined myself as Darrow, just because I’ve always wanted to play a hero). I also liked Mustang, but because she’s such a common trope in fiction–the princess who’s a bit different than others of her kind who falls in love with the hero–I think it might’ve gotten in the way of me liking her more. Still, these are a great bunch of characters.
    I’m not sure what I would’ve changed, but there probably is something. I just can’t think of it at the moment. If I think of something, I’ll let you know.
    Oh, and you can bet next month I’ll be getting the Golden Son audio book. Should be fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just like a minor thing up front. His name is spelled Roque 😉 just saying!
      I can’t believe you have the patience to wait one whole month to continue with the audio book hahaha I had to tear into that right away. Then again, Red Rising doesn’t have as much of a cliffhanger ending as Golden Son does …
      The characters are what really carries the story. I fell in love with so many of them, which made some betrayals and twists even worse. Can’t wait to hear what you think about the sequels! I am so happy to have hooked you on the story as well!


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