Red Rising || Futuristic Mars, Amazing Worldbuilding, and Tragic Stuff

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 already 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.
– Goodreads || Add it on Goodreads


So, I’m finally reviewing Red Rising, by Pierce Brown. (There are a few spoilers in this review, by the way.)

I don’t usually read gritty, tragic dystopian kind of books, but this one came highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and it took a while to get around to reading it. But once I started it, grabbed my attention right off. 

And I’m glad I read it, it’s a gripping, action packed story.

The world building was phenomenal. I liked that it was just weird and different enough to be alien and futuristic, but that the atmosphere was not overwhelming. The setting did not interfere with the plot or characters; it was an excellent complement.

I liked the main character, Darrow. It was interesting to see his character develop, and his motivation mature, he goes from wanting revenge for his wife's death, to wanting to change the right and opportunities for an entire class. Of course, Eo's death always central to his motivation. While I think the main character is well written, I certainly couldn’t endorse some of the choices Darrow made. Overall, this added to the realistic, gritty feel of the story, showing that there are layers to a character, some more complicated and messy than others. That was an interesting tension throughout the book. Although Darrow plans on overthrowing the Golds, sometimes he makes choices that bring him close to becoming the very thing he hates. The plot demands that the main character make sacrifices and tough choices, always weighing what he must do against what his end goal is.

My only complaint is that the plot felt a little bit familiar. An oppressed guy has his life ruined by the corrupt ruling class. He wants revenge, joins some rebels, changes his appearance, learns everything about the ruling class and enters their society as a revolutionary and spy. This is not to say that this is a bad plot – it’s not. Pierce Brown did an excellent job with this book, and there are several plot twists that keep it well out of “cliche” territory.

On the whole, I really enjoyed Red Rising, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Golden Son.


  1. I'm glad you liked it! Even if it wasn't your usual taste in books, which I think says a lot for a book when it attracts readers outside of it's genre? There were a handful of dystopian tropes, but I tend to like dystopian? And they were executed well, as you said, so it was cliched.
    Great review!

    1. Thanks! Yes I really enjoyed Red Rising! It says a lot for a book when it can be enjoyed by a variety of readers. :)


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