Thursday, 30 October 2014

Red Rising



Red Rising
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

The Earth is dying, and so Darrow and his fellow Reds toil away, mining Mars to extract the elements they need to terraform the planet and make it habitable for humans to live on. The Reds have always been told they are humanity's last hope, so they continue to work, continue to be treated poorly with barely enough food to survive, continue to try to win the Laurel that means more food. But it's all been a lie.

After a tragic event and a fake death, Darrow finds out that everything they've been told is a lie. People are already living on Mars, it's been habitable for 300 years, and it's been inhabited by the Golds. The Golds are a class of people that look down on Darrow and the rest of the Reds, they're the top of the hierarchy and all the other lesser colours, colours Darrow didn't know exist, exist to serve them. But the Reds are the class expected to work until they die, they're nothing more than slave labour.

Darrow takes up a rebel groups offer, and soon he is disguised, permanently made in to a Gold, to infiltrate their command school. His mission is to take down the oppressors from the inside. Reach a position of power and then destroy them. But first he has to survive the command school, and his first lesson? Being thrown in to a battleground with the rest of house, watched by the Proctors as they fight, make each other in to slaves and even kill, members of other houses. Darrow has to win, he was to be the Primus, because he needs the best offers to get to a position of power. But winning this little lesson isn't going to be easy, it's going to be bloody and it's going to be tough, and he's not the only one with an agenda.

Daammiiitttt, ANOTHER one for my new favourite series list, seriously, when books are usually hyped this much, I go in wary, but a few pages in I was hooked and I knew I was a goner, and now I'm all like "I NEED GOLDEN SON NOOOWWW WAAAA" tensely waiting for the next book. Don't even get me started on the movie. Need. So much need. This book truly deserves the hype because it is astoundingly unique and an utterly enthralling.

Like I said, I was sucked in from the first few pages, from then I was hooked the entire way through, frantically turning pages and feeling shock, sorrow and humour at various different points. Red Rising is is like Pringles. Once you pop you can't stop. Or in this case, once you start to read you can't stop. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it but you get the picture. It's fast paced, the prose is concise yet descriptive, there was an abundance of twists and turns, none of which I expected, which is always a rare thing for me lately. I was constantly shocked at a plot twist, believing whatever the author led me to believe, then finding out it was wrong! Red Rising is impossible to work out, impossible to predict, which is always a good thing!

The world building was just...wow. Cinematic, atmospheric, vivid, it totally draws you in and blots out the real world. It was created and established with such care and detail, the politics and such of the world are explained and detailed so you can understand the world entirely and understand how it works, which also helps to understand characters motivations. It's an intricately built world, with an incredibly intriguing history to it, and an interesting...I want to say layout...with the moon and other planets and everything, but that's not the right word, and I'm fairly sure after this little rambly tangent you'll know what I mean! Anyways, I do really love a world I can immerse myself in!

The characters, where all very well written and very complex. A couple of them had their own agenda's, a couple of them had way more to them than you originally thought, behaviours changed as a result of the setting they where in and the situation they where put in, and it was interesting to watch the characters adapt and change as they experienced the war game. Some of them handled it well, others did not, and it became clear Darrow wasn't the only one, there where others like him. I just found it so incredibly fascinating and well done, to see how these pampered kids, suddenly had this total shock and reality check and how they reacted to it, each characters reaction was very natural and organic, some adapted, some didn't, some adapted terribly, but it was fascinating. Every character was so strong and a lot of the secondary characters could standalone.

I loved the fact you first meet Darrow, then you watch him change over the course of the book, you watch him make mistakes, like when he went from being a very good leader to a crappy one, and then you watch him learn from his mistakes and the amount he grew and changed was fantastic. I felt he was very realistic, we all make mistakes in one form or another, we all lose sight of goals and need to have them reaffirmed and everything, and I really enjoyed Darrow, I just felt he was written realistically, he wasn't perfect, which made him more human.

I also have to mention that I really really really loved Pax, when you saw the other side to him, I seriously loved him, he made me chuckle more than once, and I can't even begin to described my sorrow when he was eliminated, I mean seriously. So many feels. I also really liked Sevro too, he was one of the characters where there was more than met the eye, and I really hope Darrow and his friends/lieutenants stick together and we see more of them together. I still don't entirely trust Mustang I have to admit, because I didn't suspect a thing and I was horrendously shocked and expecting the worse and everything. A truly fantastic bunch of characters!

 I actually took the "which house are you" test before I read the book, and now I'm quite disgusted and disappointed I got Apollo!

I want to talk briefly about the connections being made with the Hunger Games, because I can see why. At points reading the part of the book where they're all in the battleground and at war, I got a very Hunger Games vibe, going on, because of the arena I presume. But I don't like the whole "oh it's like The Hunger Games but in space" shtick, because it's not at all. I feel like in this book, the stakes are higher for our lead, I love the Hunger Games I really do, but for me the world building, the characters and the plot where all more serious and more complex, Hunger Games is serious, don't get me wrong but it's also a lot about the love triangle, whereas in this, things are a lore more brutal, there's very little romance, and it has an entirely different vibe. This is not another Hunger Games, it's an entirely separate book that adds another breath of fresh air to the genre.

Like I said, the plot was complex, there where lots of elements, politics, background, history, how things work with the Houses and everything and the colours all woven in to along with our main arc to create a complex story, that was truly action packed and had all the severity the situation warranted. Yes it made me laugh in places, but it was at times brutal and at times very sad as it was humorous, but it was entertaining and engaging, and I love a plot that is very clearly well thought, and is not at all easy to figure out. There's lots of different elements to the plots, and there's lots of emotion. It has a unique setting, set up and premise, the majority of the book is unique, with the colours and the houses and so on.

I feel like the second book has been very well set up, very subtly, the main focus was on Darrow and what was going on right then, and what needed to be done next, but at the end there's a very subtle set up to the next book, and I say subtle because I have a very vague idea of what the next book will contain, at some point there'll be a showdown with Cassius, there's going to be lots of dealings with Augustus, but beyond that, I can't really predict what's going to happen next. I have a feeling it's going to be a very different set up and vibe to this book, meaning there won't be another battle field (well there could be, but I don't think so, not like the Hunger Games with the second arena) I feel like we're going to see the story moving more towards the endgame as it's the second.

Red Rising, I am so pleased to say, deserves all of the hype it gets, and I truly loved the book, and enjoyed reading it. It was emotional, at times funny, complex, engaging and unique. It really makes you think, about if the world was truly like that, what colour would you be? What would you do if you where a Red? You understand the characters actions, you see some truly great character growth and change and not just from the main character, and the book is truly unpredictable. You'll race through it, there's no info-dumps bogging down the narrative, and it's a truly fantastic book. I can't gush enough about it!

I am incredibly excited for the next book, I can't wait to see what happens to Darrow next, to get back in to this strange and fascinating world and to see my new favourite characters again!

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