Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Book Review: Red Rising

So here's the plan. Every few weeks I will post a review of the book that grabbed my attention the most in the last while and I'll share my thoughts here! I know that I am no professional critic and that my ideas and thoughts may differ from yours if/when you read these books, but that is the beauty of the internet! Maybe these books will mean something different to you- and that's the best part! 

Now, it's pretty tricky to do a good review without a few potential spoilers, so if you're worried I understand. I promise I won't reveal anything that will wreck it for you. Lord knows I've had that happen in the past and sobbed. It sucks. A. Lot. Most of the time it leads to rage-crying and profanities that are ugly and often yelled. I get it. So I'll keep it vague enough that you won't know any more than what the back jacket says! 

Here we go! Review One. And it could not be for a more amazing book. 

WARNING: May contain epicness and a slight chance for literary addiction. Side effects may include, but are not limited to: 

-Sleep deprivation
-Red eyes
-Chills so bad they hurt
-The desire to slap characters with a book on morals
-Fist pumping
-The need to talk to anyone who will listen about how torn up you are about what your beloved characters are forced to endure
-Frequent use of the term "Bloodydamn" in everyday life
-Reoccurring dreams of epic battles

"On Mars there is not much gravity. So you have to pull the feet to break the neck. They let the loved ones do it." 

This line was the first one I read when I searched the book originally. Talk about an attention grabber. 

Now, I hadn't heard of this book until a few weeks after it hit shelves. I was desperately searching for a book to fill the void left from Alexandra Bracken's masterpiece, Never Fade (which I will be reviewing next month) and my husband suggested this one. He was online trying to help his poor wife handle her book dependency, bless his soul, and unwittingly stumbled across this gem. 

"Hey, you like Sci-Fi, right?" 

Uh. YEAH. 

I am a huge science fiction/fantasy fan, and anything that falls into those realms with a dystopian flare has my immediate attention. Granted, my tastes range from favorites like Jane Eyre to Dune to Harry Potter (obviously!) to text books on Greek and Roman mythology and everything inbetween. 

If you, like me, enjoy losing yourself completely in the words on a page, then this is one title you should pick up immediately. It sucks you in from that first page to the last and barely gives you time to catch your breath.

This world that Pierce Brown has created is broken down into colour classes. Something that my synesthesia found highly intriguing. Right at the bottom, you have the Reds. The worker bees, forced blindly into hard labour. From the Reds, it rockets upwards to Gold, covering every colour in between. Each colour has a different lot in society. Ex:) Gold; political, powerful, top echelon. Obsidian; militaristic, fighters. Pink; pleasure. And so on. 

The narrator takes the shape of young Darrow, a helldiver on Mars. Humanity is stretching its wings and searching for new places to settle roots. And who creates those roots? Why, the 'Red' class. They are the pioneers who brave Mars' harsh and unforgiving soil, gathering precious Helium 3 that will allow Mars to be Terraformed into hospitable living quarters for future human generations. They slave through hellish conditions, hoping to one day better the lives of their children. But they've been misled. Mars is already turned, and turned into a beautiful world at that. 

Once Darrow learns this, and learns that his peoples' sacrifice has been a lie, well, you can imagine how someone would react to that.

Helldivers are the most extreme, most BAD ASS miners/workers in the Red class. And Darrow is the youngest one yet. 

He is given the chance to take down the system that failed him and those he loves. Helldiver. Extreme. Bad ass. Motivation. 

Okay, I'll stop there on the building blocks. Keep them all in mind though! 

Darrow is exceptionally bright in a dark world. He's the sort of character that will keep you thinking long after you've closed the cover. Passion, love, loyalty, cunning, drive, focus, intelligence, resilience- those are the qualities that shape him.

Red Rising is a stunning symbiotic liaison between futuristic technology and old world philosophy and mythology. I'm a suck for anything that can incorporate Greek or Roman (oddly similar...) mythology, and the seamless transition between the two is phenomenal. The battles that take place have wicked strategic backgrounds, and it is clear from the first incursion that Pierce Brown knows what he's talking about and has put in a great deal of time and research. 

It is that attention to detail which makes this such an exciting read. Darrow brings an original perspective which further enhances the story line. I can't honestly say how many times I sat there with the most ridiculous smile on my face, covered from head to toe in goosebumps, reading line after line. Darrow will break your heart and stitch it back together with vengeance and badassery and spout off some killer one-liners in the process. 

The whole time you're reading, it's impossible to remove yourself from what this 17 year old has gone through. Each agony, each heartbreak he is forced to endure will quickly become mapped with your pulse. I know that sounds silly, but it's true. My pulse hammered right along with his as he was forced to further his cause. It wasn't just him wanting vengeance- it was me. I had that fear of failure. I felt that immense satisfaction when his intelligence won out. I felt his convictions, his hopes, his dreams. I felt all of those things like they were my own.

It takes one hell of a writer to do all that with 26 letters. 

Red Rising is the first book in a trilogy and it was just released. I know. I'm doing that to you already. Telling you to read a book that doesn't have closure just yet, but I can honestly tell you that you will regret nothing. It's worth it. 

Even if you aren't the biggest sci-fi person, this book gives you such subtle tastes of it that you'll find yourself drawn in before you can hit the brakes. 

If you don't want to take my word for it, which I understand- I'll earn your literary trust someday!- then just type in those two words in your search bar. Red Rising. 

You can't miss it. 

It's the one with EPIC STORY WAITING FOR YOU. 

Go on. 

Get lost in a book. 

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  1. Everyone should listen to you and go out and read this book right now. This book is the second best recommendation I have ever received from you (Obviously Darkest Minds will forever remain in that number one spot!).
    I 100% agree with everything you have written here. Darrow is the greatest BADASS I have ever read about it!! There is no time for the reader to become uninterested in the story, as it is fast paced and driven by the constant action and epic battles. It would make 10 epic movies, never mind just one.

    I can't wait until the next book! Can't come soon enough :)

    Furthermore, I'm VERY excited to read your review on Never Fade :) Only 9 months till the last one is out!

  2. This sounds like a good book! I'm always looking for something new to read; I'll have to check it out!