Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

August 5, 2014 4 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 40 ★★★★

Review: Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Published by Del Rey on January 28, 2014
Genres: Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 382
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
My Reviews in this series: Golden Son

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow-- and Reds like him-- are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity' s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society' s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.


Red Rising starts off great in my opinion. I love the set up, the fact that facts aren’t just told to us, but rather us (as the reader) witnessing this world on our own. Yes, at times it can be very confusing. The style of writing may be easy to understand, but the use of jargon makes it hard to know what’s what in this book. There are so many times in Red Rising where I am clueless as to what the words mean.

But at least I am given some sort of clue as to what things/people/events are and the purpose for them. But diving into it from the beginning can definitely estrange you from the novel and leave you thinking if this is even worth a read if you have to actually learn new terms. For me, it was.

I loved the setting, but I really got frustrated with the lack of details when it came to where exactly they were. Maybe I skimmed over it, but I still have no idea where this is taking place? Mars? Earth? There are so many houses of other planets that I tend to get confused on who is where? What saved this part for me was the battles and strategies between each house. It was game-of-thrones-esque but doesn’t come nearly as close as Martin’s attention to detail. It did have me interested though, so kudos for that.

The relationships also drew me in. They were very real emotions and I absolutely adored Eo. Then, 40 pages in and I was shouting at the book in utter agony and you will too once you read the book!

I just want to applaud Pierce for creating some great female characters. Honestly, they were all done in a way that makes women look beautiful and strong–that is the only relation I see to the Hunger Games. I absolutely loved Eo, Harmony, and Mustang.

I feel bad saying it but I thought all the characters were great (even the brutal Titus, and if that’s a play on Shakespeare then I love Pierce even more)–except for the MC, Darrow. I just didn’t connect with him. I only like him because of his love for Eo, but really that’s the only interesting thing about him. He’s got nothing going for him and somehow he manages to make it through and it’s all rainbows and fairy-dust. I just…I guess I didn’t see him vulnerable enough. He just seems too special with no actual reasoning behind it other than that he’s a red (which should actually make him less special).

I was going to give Red Rising a three, but the ending had me hooked. I even stopped playing my game to read the rest of it and could not put it down. AND I NEVER DO THAT. I’m a pretty avid gamer, so that ending with all of the battles definitely had me. And I’m really REALLY looking forward to how this series goes.

40 Responses to “Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown”

    • Kat

      Thanks for that clear up. I figured, but towards the end with all of the separate bases (houses) and whatnot, it was a little bit confusing on where everything was going down.

      I think the book’s world has potential and maybe in the next one his personality will show through for me. I just can’t fall for someone who shows no real human trait (he’s practically perfect).
      Kat recently posted…Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better FutureMy Profile

  1. Sarah P.

    I don’t know what to think of this series but I really love the sound of it. Battle strategies and strong female characters? Those are really promising. I might have problems with the MC and the details being confusing though. But I’m really glad that despite the book’s shortcomings, you were still able to fully enjoy it. I’d think I’d give this a try. Lovely review, Kat! 🙂
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: Half A King by Joe AbercrombieMy Profile

    • Kat

      I think that if you had a problem with Yarvi, you’re definitely going to have a problem with Darrow (unless you like perfect characters?) BUT! You will love the female characters. I guarantee it. That may be worth the read alone.
      Kat recently posted…Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better FutureMy Profile

  2. Melliane

    LOL if you had some difficulties with some words, as I’m French, I’m anxious to see how it would be for me. But I heard great things about this book and I confess at the end I’m curious.
    Melliane recently posted…The Legacy by Melissa DelportMy Profile

    • Kat

      I think it’s worth a try honestly. Especially when it creates a world such as this one–wonderful for Sci-Fi readers IMO. The words take getting used to and I still don’t understand some of them, but that doesn’t deter you from understanding what’s going on in the book (for the most part).
      Kat recently posted…Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better FutureMy Profile

    • Kat

      I’m looking forward to Golden Son to see some more surprises. I actually wish I could message you, because I was going to write something about that Mars bit (but won’t due to possible spoilers). Anyway, I was just caught up in the battles and where it was all taking place.
      Kat recently posted…Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better FutureMy Profile

  3. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    You’re breaking my heart, LOL. I LOVED Darrow. I loved them all, really. It’s been too long since I read it, so I can’t remember the details about the jargon and where the whole nasty thing took place, so I can’t comment on that, but I’m glad that at least the ending hooked you. And I agree that Brown created some really excellent female characters. Great review, Kat!

    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      I know!! I remember reading your review about loving Darrow. Different strokes for different folks, eh? At least we can agree that they were some kickass female characters. I read it a while ago too, but it’ll be due for another re-read before Golden Son comes out!
      Kat Stark @ NotYetRead recently posted…Review: Red Rising by Pierce BrownMy Profile

    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      I think the main concern is whether or not you’ll like Darrow, because I’ve had a few friends that love him and I have some that hate him and it really brought down their rating. That and the mumbo jumbo lingo in the beginning can be hard to appreciate at first.
      Kat Stark @ NotYetRead recently posted…Review: Red Rising by Pierce BrownMy Profile

  4. BookaholicCat

    I’m with Jessica, you broke my heart with your review. Red Rising is one of my favorite books of the year, I loved every single page of it… but I agree with you when you said “Different strokes for different folks”. The good thing is that even though you didn’t love it, you still like it and are planning to read next book.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Riddle of the Sands by Geoffrey KnightMy Profile

    • Kat

      Aweee lady. I did love it, not sure if my scale is the same with Tabitha’s but, 4 stars means I loved it, but there were some flaws. Darrow was mine, but there’s time for change. There’s time to see him transform into something more for me. I hope it shapes up to be a good series 🙂
      Kat recently posted…Wolverine: Old Man LoganMy Profile

    • Kat

      I would, just because it’s really popular…and I know I usually don’t go for popular things, but this is worth a try.

  5. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH JUST ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I FLAIL FOR A MOMENT. I don’t even know exactly why I loved it…but Eo made me cry. Like, a lot. LIKE A LOT OF A LOT. *snatches at tissues* I loved Darrow, he was just amazing and tough and definitely made me root for him. Although the whole premise was a bit like a really violent extreme version of The Hunger Games at times, I thought. With the whole games thing. The strategy was awesome. And I took a while to get into the swing of the dialogue, especially as it changed from like colour to colour. BUT I STILL LIKE THIS BOOK. Just a little. 😉
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Beautiful People Linkup #3: August EditionMy Profile

    • Kat

      GLAD YOU LIKED IT SO MUCH! Eo was absolutely wonderful. In fact, I’m pretty sure (for me at least) if she wasn’t in the book…I would have hated Darrow. She was the only flaw in him and I loved her for it.

      I didn’t really get a Hunger Games vibe, I think I got more ASOIAF vibe. But, to each their own!! I really liked the dialog and the storyline (when not draggy) was pretty solid.

      Kat recently posted…Wolverine: Old Man LoganMy Profile

  6. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

    Hey, I read this review too! LOL, Kat, try to surprise me a bit, will you? 😉 Yeah, I did like the female characters although they seemed a bit too dark by moments lol. Oh Eoooo, if only IT didn’t happen (you know what I’m talking about) I would have liked the book much much more. But then again, it’s THE starting point of the story. Hmmm yeah. Anyway, glad you liked it and lovely review. 🙂
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…Review of The Girl from the Well by Rin ChupecoMy Profile

    • Kat

      Oh Lola, I post everything up on Goodreads, so the next few posts will be on there already. However, I will give you a heads up. Parasite will be the first book posted on HERE FIRST before goodreads 🙂 So just look for that (I’ll probably give the heads up when).

      Eo, yes, that bit made me quite upset actually, but it was the driving point. I’m just sorry it wasn’t for you at all :/
      Kat recently posted…Wolverine: Old Man LoganMy Profile

    • Kat

      Totally get that awesome kickass women feel that take over the story. But also some great villains >:D So glad you enjoyed it! Definitely one of the better Sci-Fis of the year and Darrow does transform a bit (I can’t wait to see more of that in the future)
      Kat recently posted…Wolverine: Old Man LoganMy Profile

  7. Kirsty-Marie

    I’ve heard tons of good things about it, so glad to hear some constructive criticism too. Strong female characters, (yes!) shame you pretty much liked all the other characters except for the one you’re supposed to, haha. Or maybe, not not like, but can’t connect to as much (it happens) though usually it’s the other way around. But hey, at least it had you hooked at the end. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Cosplay Antics: MCM Part 2My Profile

    • Kat

      It was an overall good experience and I recommend it for all the Sci-Fi lovers out there even with all the qualms I had. That ending sure picked things up a bit and I would like to see more of it in the sequel 😀 so thanks for commenting.
      Kat recently posted…Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsMy Profile

  8. Kel (Booked til Tuesday)

    Oh no, I hate it when I love the secondary characters more than the MC; I often either put those books down or don’t continue the series. And I can see the jargon being a little overwhelming, but I’m glad it pulled out in the end for you. Great review!

    • Kat

      Yeah, it’s a bummer when they’re better, but Darrow’s still got time to evolve into something more. I’ll still try out the second to see for sure 😀 Thank you!
      Kat recently posted…Ugly LoveMy Profile