May 28, 2015

Book Review: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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So this book was a proof of my sometimes-lameness in reading certain book. I purchased the kindle copy last year, started reading it for the first time around February, and now 3 months later I just finished it after having long battle with side of me that wanted to keep putting it down. I swear this was my first time of needing such a long time to finish a fiction.
I personally was in total awe with this book and Pierce Brown. Red Rising was a debut novel and the author outdid himself with all the rich details and the unthought-of plot, ever. And not to forget his imagination to build up a fantasy of the whole Mars and all its complexity, it was dead awesome. Bloodydamn. Just where did he gather the inspiration to write this trilogy?
‘I was not raised in palaces. I did not ride horses through meadows and eat meals of hummingbird tongues. I was forged in the bowels of this hard world. Sharpened by hate. Strengthened by love.’

(Prologue, Red Rising)
Sixteen years old Darrow was a Red. A Red by all means was meant to be a slave to higher colors, specifically Gold. Sad truth Reds sat on the very bottom of society which made them slaves to every color. Darrow never dreamt of living more than what his current life offered now. He was a helldiver, the youngest in history, the best in history. He married a beautiful brave girl named Eo. He had his family all living together even though his father was long gone when he was still a kid. He thought no more than spending all his life in Lykos as Red Lambda where song and dance was the comforts to their rough life.
But nothing remained forever in life.
“I live for you”

“Then you must live for more.”

(Chapter IV, Red Rising)
The day the nightmare happened, all Darrow wanted was to follow the smell of death. And that was what about to happen except a group of rebels wanted a different path for him.
Away from Lykos, family, and all familiar thing back in Red ground, Darrow was shaped to a whole different form. Red Darrow was now a Gold. Well, at least that was what shown on the outside. Darrow was still Red in heart and sure he would never change. Disguised as Gold, Darrow tried a risky step to infiltrate the evil color from the inside. And just like another teenage Gold, he stepped up to join a Gold institution where he could pick a start of revenge. Little did he know that the institution wasn’t at all like its simple name. It was not a school. It was more like a life-and-death battle to be the only one ArchPrimus. Darrow used all his strength to be the said Primus and found along the way how exactly it was to be a real Gold: mean, unforgiving, and unstopped. He began to question himself about all he’d done to get the title, wondered if that would make him no less than an evil Gold. But he did it all for Red, for people back in Lykos, for every Red blood who put their faiths on his shoulder. Surely that would make a different, right? As he questioned himself that, he was faced with another surprising fact that Gold could be a loyal friend if treated right. Struggling with all these complicated dilemmas, Darrow was once again reminded by the fact that in the end, after all the torture, blood, pain, and death, it was only just a beginning.

I remembered became all teary inside once I finished it. Not because the story, though, but because the fact that I was finally able to reach the last page.
My first impression about Red Rising was hardcore dystopian.
But first thing first, let me say something.
I NEVER like dystopian book.
I hate it. I do. Dystopian infuriates and depresses me at the same time. I always avoid this genre at all cost. I believe that reading is a joy where we could fully escape to the story without having to worry about being lost because we can always close the page any moment to come back. But the ‘misery’ from reading this genre seemed to haunt my soul forever no matter just when I decided to stop reading it.
So we could easily conclude that I’d hate this book. What with each violence scene was being described very casually here.
But here I was going to say something that would make my whole speech above pointless: I loved Red Rising.
I know, I was being confusing here but this was what exactly I felt. This book had me at mental battle between loving and hating this book. I hated this book that I couldn’t stop wincing at all those miserable scenes which practically on EVERY page. Yet my mind was in a superb awestruck condition by all the details that I could not forget this book until this very second. Hell, Red Rising might be the first dystopian book that I ever loved.
The author did characterizations to each character very well. Darrow was my top favorite. I loved that Pierce Brown didn’t make him as this flawless hero but simply as human who made mistakes and learned from it to be better. I loved Darrow’s way of thinking despite his young age. He was so much mature, well, being Red it was common though.
The other character, Eo, also took special place in my heart. There was this one particular scene where she did something that later became the turning point of Red Rising. I loved Darrow for loving her so deep. Never once he forgot her while doing his risky mission. After all, what he’d done was all started because of Eo’s move first.
‘And she may be like me— from a clan of Red earth diggers, a clan of song and dance and soil— but she could be made from air, from the ether that binds the stars in a patchwork.’ 

(Chapter I, Red Rising)
I super loved the details about Mars, how separate the life of each colors there. I kept saying about rich details here because that was what the author did. He went all out with details for everything. When devouring all these details, for a second there, I could easily forget my hope to get an HEA from this book. Clearly, the author knew very well what he wrote and what to do to engage readers to stay put until the end of the book.
Anyway, there was one thing that bothered me a lot about the title.
First time I read the title ‘Red Rising’, all I could think of was this book would be about Red people fighting their rights, like they were having actual war of getting justification somewhere in the middle of the book. Instead it was focusing more on the preparation of rising, like how Darrow went through all those awful phases transforming into Gold, then more about how Gold’s world worked. Gold took like 80% of the book. I kept thinking when the rising would occur only to find out on the last page that everything was just a beginning. The actual rising didn’t even really happened here. It annoyed me when the title of the book misleading what I thought about the story inside.
Oh, another complaint: just how many odd terms on this book made it rather difficult sometimes for me to immerse into the story. This might be one of the reasons I kept putting it down. Just put glossary in the end of the book then problem fixed!
So, despite my complaints and my speech about hating dystopian book, here I said that I loved this book, or more like awestricken by this book. I wanted so bad to read the continuation of Red’s rising under Darrow’s command but I still don’t know when I’d read the next book because clearly I needed time to recover from the torture caused by Red Rising before firing it up again with second book. Well, hopefully soon.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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