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February 04, 2014

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown - The book that took me out of my comfort zone

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)
Title: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)
Author: Pierce Brown
 Random House Canada
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult (Dystopian)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 400
The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow 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...
I was a bit intimidated by this book. Especially since I found out it has gore.. something I usually run away from in my books, tv shows, movies, etc. However I decided to toughen up and read it. I tweeted Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada and we decided to do a read-a-long of it. I am so happy we did that because I felt that reading with a person enhanced my enjoinment level, plus we would have discussions every 50 pages, ask each other questions and basically help each other figure out anything we missed or were confused about. 
Initially, Red Rising was slow.. I was a bit confused and just couldn't really connect with the world and the plot. I was a bit uncomfortable with the writing and how crude it was.. I am so used to the glossed up YA writing, so this was a bit of a shock for me.
However, once I got into the novel, I honestly couldn't put it down. The world building was so fascinating, and even though it was still a bit confusing, I loved the Harry Potter-esque housing system and also The Hunger Games survival game theme. Darrow, the main protagonist definitely became more likable and I liked his way of thinking, it definitely mirrored what I usually believed in. This book was also emotional. I really grew attached to Eo, she was so pure in such a dirty and corrupt world. 
Though I must warn you.. I almost labeled this book a disappointment because the beginning wasn't able to capture my interest at all.. however halfway through, I was addicted! (see tweet below)
I learnt to ignore the gory parts and appreciated the character development. I mentioned earlier I grew attached to Eo, but she wasn't the only one. So many of these characters randomly pop up and then later on you find yourself invested in their well being. We have Mustang, Sevro, and even Pax. Brown seriously knows how to maintain such a cruel dystopian world but still be able to build authentic friendships and character development. Also, the twists in this book are unbelievable. So bloodydamn good. I really really couldn't predict a single one of them. 
Overall, this whole book was such an addicting read. I do have to point out that the beginning is slow, and apparently some people DNF-ed it.. All I can do is give you potential readers a warning. Even if you think it is slow/boring/confused in the beginning, stick with it because it is worth it. All people like me who hate gore, there isn't much, but you can easily skip over those descriptions. I am so glad I did read it and I am SO excited for the sequel. I've no idea what will happen next and that makes me so excited for it. I definitely recommend it to old YA readers. I don't recommend this book to young readers because of the content, but older YA readers.. what are you waiting for? 


  1. Harsh, scary world, gory :D Does sound like something I will enjoy, haha. It's good to hear that there is character development and that there are so many twists. I love it when an author surprises me!

  2. So is it a standalone or a sequel? Either way, it sounds really good! I'll make sure to read it and stick with it. :) I'm okay with gore, so this one seems to be my type.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. sorry! it is part of a series. I've no idea how part of my review of Cruel Beauty ended up here! but I removed it.

    2. Okay then, great. Don't worry about it :)


  3. I actually had seen this book around quite a bit, but never really paid it much attention, thinking that it wouldn't be for me, but these last few days I have been seeing a lot of praise for this book. I have been reading a lot of books lately which have been a real hard slog in the beginning, but then never really made up for it, afterwards, but this book sounds like it excelled even more in the second half, so thanks for the heads up about the initial slow start. I am kind of excited now about giving this book a go now. Lovely review Juhina!

  4. I love standalones. Maybe I'll give this a try but those gory details scare me. Wish I had someone to read a long with.

    1. this isn't a standalone :) but yes, reading with someone is awesome!

  5. I love when a book completely surprises you after a slow beginning. I almost DNF-ed Jellico Road after like 100 pages but plowed through and ended up really enjoying it. I'm more hesitant about not finishing books now. I may try this one since the gore is easily skimmed over. I like how you included the texts you sent each other while reading.

  6. It's amazing when book that pulls you out of your comfort zone. I love it when it happens. This kind of stories aren't strange to me and somehow I think I'll love this one. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and that you didn't give up after a bit slower start. Needless to say I love your tweets. Great review :)

  7. Aw, YAY :D I'm so glad that you ended up mostly loving this book! I'm sorry the beginning was slow, but glad you decided to stick with it :) I have a hardcover of this, and will be reading it soon. <3 You make it sound awesome. And I'm glad the characters were awesome :) Sigh. I'm very excited to read it now! Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

  8. Oh good! I saw a couple of negative things about this book but then I decided to listen to the positive reviews instead. So glad you enjoyed it, I'm very excited to get to it eventually!

  9. I loved doing this read-along with you! It definitely increased our reading experience :) I can't wait to do more with you! I can't wait for the second book, THE GOLDEN SUN or is SON? Ahh not sure!